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The Philosophy Of Freedom

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"The purpose of The Philosophy Of Freedom is to lay the foundations of ethical individualism and of a social and political life." Rudolf Steiner

Ethical individualism is a humanist world-view that recognizes that the most cherished human dignity is to live according to one's own freely chosen values.


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We are improving the readability of Rudolf Steiner's Philosophy Of Freedom from the current College reading level to a High School reading level. This is an ongoing project with new additions posted daily. You can participate by posting your suggestions to improve the readability, or point out places needing further clarification in the comment box below the newly revised chapters. Links to chapters that have been made more readable are listed below. Links to past translations are here for reference.

Donations are not accepted for our free will all volunteer efforts.  The new edition will be available free online and published at cost as a group project. COMPARE THE NEW EDITION TO YOUR FAVORITE EDITION. WHICH IS EASIER TO READ?

PART I : THEORY
The Theory of Freedom


0. THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
1. THE CONSCIOUS HUMAN DEED
2. THE DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE
3. THINKING AS A MEANS OF
GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD

4. THE WORLD AS PERCEPTION
5. GAINING KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
7. ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO KNOWLEDGE?

New Readable Chapter 6 - Human Individuality

NEW EDITION PROJECT

COMPARE THE NEW EDITION BELOW TO YOUR FAVORITE TRANSLATION - Which is more readable?

READABILITY IMPROVED 0.0 grade level  

1995 Intuitive Thinking As A Spiritual Path translated by Michael Lipson
Number of Words: --
Reading Grade Level: 0.0

2016 The Philosophy Of Freedom - New (see below)
Number of Words: --
Reading Grade Level: 0.0

Last revised: Daily

6. HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY 

What is ?

6.0 Corresponding Concept Relates Self To The World
6.1 Sense Perception Of Motion
6.2 Conceptual Intuition Related To A Percept
6.3 Individualized Concept
6.4 Acquired Experience
6.5 Subjective Representation Of Reality
6.6 Refer Percepts To Feelings
6.7 Two-Fold Nature: Thinking And Feeling
6.8 True Individuality
6.9 Point Of View
6.10 Intensity Of Feelings
6.11 Education Of Feelings
6.12 Living Concepts

6.0 Corresponding Concept Relates Self To The World
[1] Philosophers have found the main difficulty in explaining ideas is the fact that we are not identical with the external objects, yet our ideas must have a form that corresponds to them. But on closer inspection it turns out this difficulty does not really exist. We certainly are not identical with the external things, but we belong with them to one and the same world. That section of the world that I perceive to be myself as subject, is penetrated by the stream of the universal world process. With regard to my perception, I am in the first instance confined within the boundary limits of my skin. But all that is contained within that boundary is part of the cosmos as a whole. Therefore, in order for a relationship to exist between my organism and an object outside me, it is not necessary for something from the object to slide into me, or make an imprint on my mind like a signet ring in wax.

The question, “How do I learn about the tree standing ten feet away from me?” is misleading. It springs from the view that the boundaries of my body are absolute barriers, through which information about external things filters into me. The forces at work inside my body are the same as those existing outside it. So I am really identical with the objects. Not I as a percept of myself, but I in the sense that I am a part within the universal world process. The percept of the tree exists within the same whole as my Self. The universal world process produces equally the percept of the tree over there, and the percept of my Self here.

If I were a world-creator rather than world-knower, object and subject (percept and self) would come into existence in one act, since they are mutually conditioning elements. As world-knower I can discover the common element in both,—as two sides of one existence that belong together—only through thinking which relates them to each other by means of concepts.

6.1 Sense Perception Of Motion
[2] The most difficult to drive from the field are the so-called physiological proofs of the subjectivity of our percepts. If I exert pressure on the skin of my body, I perceive it as a pressure sensation. If the same pressure is applied to the eye it will be sensed as light, and as sound if applied to the ear. An electric shock is perceived by the eye as light, by the ear as sound, by the nerves in the skin as touch, and by the nose as the smell of phosphorus. What follows from these facts? Only this: I experience an electric shock (or pressure) and then a sensation of light, or a sound, or a certain smell, and so forth. If there were no eye, there would be no percept of light accompanying the percept of a mechanical disturbance in the environment; without an ear, no percept of sound, and so on. But what right have we to say that without sense-organs the whole event would not be there?

There are those who conclude from the fact that an electrical occurrence causes a sensation of light in the eye, that what we sense as light is only a mechanical process of motion outside our organism. They forget that they are only passing from one percept to another and not at all to something outside the range of perception.

Just as we can say the eye perceives a mechanical process of motion in its surroundings as light, we can also say that a systematic change in an object is perceived by us as a process of motion. If I draw twelve pictures of a horse all the way around a rotatable disk, reproducing exactly the successive positions of the horse's body when it is galloping, then by rotating the disc I can produce the illusion of movement. I only need to look through an opening in a way that I see the successive positions of the horse at the right intervals. What I see is not twelve separate pictures of a horse, but the image of a single galloping horse.

[3] The physiological facts mentioned above add nothing to clarify the relationship between percept and idea. We must find another way to approach this relationship.

6.2 Idea: Intuition Related To A Percept
[4] The moment a percept appears in my field of observation, thought becomes active in me. A member of my thought-system, a specific intuition, a concept, unites with the percept. Then, when the percept disappears from my field of vision, what remains? What remains is my intuition, with its relationship to the specific percept that formed in the moment of perception. How vividly I can then later recall this reference to mind again, depends on how my mental and physical organism is functioning. An idea is nothing but an intuition related to a specific percept. It is a concept once linked to a certain percept, and retains this reference to the percept.

My concept of a lion is not built up out of my percepts of lions. But my idea of a lion is very much formed according to a percept. I can teach the concept of a lion to someone who has never seen a lion. But I cannot give him a vivid living idea of a lion without a percept of his own.

6.3 Idea: Individualized Concept
[5] An idea, then, is an individualized concept. And now we can understand how objects in the real world can be represented to us by ideas. The complete reality of a thing is given to us in the moment of observation out of the fitting together of concept and percept. By means of a percept, the concept acquires an individualized form, a relationship to this specific percept. In this individualized form, whose characteristic feature is its reference to the percept, it continues to exist in us as the idea of the thing.

If we come across a second thing and the same concept connects with it, we recognize the second thing as belonging to the same kind as the first thing. If we come across the same thing again a second time, we find in our conceptual system not only a corresponding concept, but also the individualized concept with its characterized relationship to this same object, and we recognize the object once again.

[6] The idea, then, stands between the percept and the concept. It is the particularized concept that points to the percept.

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ONLY original, unrevised edition of "The Philosophy Of Freedom" available on Amazon, ($9.80). Trans. HOERNLE 1916.
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  • I added to the study guide links the missing Reference Books page that adds sections of Steiner's other philosophy books to TPOF.

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