Lexicon

Lexicon

(under construction)

 

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Term Definition
A (index)
a  
Academic,
scholarship

Ordinary consciousness does not know the sharp distinctions of scholarship. So far my purpose has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life... I am not concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but with how we experience it from moment to moment. POF 2.12

Action,
Christian

To bring about action that is Christian or unselfish—the outcome of an accepted moral code of principles—just inject some stimulus to action into their mind, and at once the cogwheels of their moral principles are set into motion to produce an action considered Christian. POF 9.8

Action,
criminal

I am not talking of children or of men who follow their animal or social instincts. I am talking of men who are capable of raising themselves to the level of the ideal content of the world… The instincts, cravings, passions that drive a man to a criminal act do not belong to what is individual in him, but rather to that which is most common in him.

I distinguish myself from others by my thinking, that is, by actively grasping the ideal element that expresses itself in my organism. Thus, we cannot say that the action of a criminal proceeds from an idea. In fact, what is characteristic of criminal acts is precisely that they spring from the non-ideal elements in man. POF 9.9

Action,
ethical ideal

Ethical ideals have their root in moral imagination. Their realization depends on the desire for them being strong enough to overcome pain and suffering. Ethical ideals are man's own intuitions, the driving forces that his spirit harnesses. They are what he wills, because their realization is his highest pleasure. He does not need ethics to forbid him from striving for pleasure and then tell him what he should strive for. He will, of himself, strive for ethical ideals provided his moral imagination is sufficiently active to inspire him with the intuitions that give strength to his will to overcome all obstacles.

If a man strives towards sublimely great ideals, it is because they are the content of his will, and because their realization will bring him an enjoyment compared with which the pleasure that pettiness derives from satisfying everyday drives is trivial. Idealists delight in translating their ideals into reality. POF 13.11

Action,
free 

An action is free when its reason stems from the ideals part of my individual nature. Every other act compelled by natural instincts or obligation to moral standards is not free. POF 9.9

Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. We cannot, however, form a final and adequate concept of human nature without coming upon the free spirit as its purest expression. After all, we are truly human in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free. POF 9.11

The concept of duty excludes freedom, because it will not acknowledge the right of individuality, but demands the subjection of individuality to a general norm. Freedom of action is conceivable only from the standpoint of Ethical Individualism. POF 9.10

According to the Monistic view, man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, it is free when he obeys none but himself. POF 10.6

Action,
good

My action becomes “good” if my intuition, steeped in love, stands in the right way in the intuitively experienceable world continuum; it becomes “evil” if that is not the case. POF 9.8 1918  See Moral technique

Action,
love of

I acknowledge no lord over me, no external authority, and no so-called inner voice. I acknowledge no external principle for my action, because I have found in myself the ground for my action—my love of the action.

When I review my action later, I can discover the ethical principle that influenced me, but while I am acting the ethical principle moves me in my love for the goal that I wish to bring about through my action.

It is only when I follow solely my love for the objective, that it is I, myself, who act. POF 9.8

Age,
today
I believe one of the fundamental characteristics of our age is that human interest centers in the cultus of individuality. POF 0.0
   
Art

Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. Each one asserts the right to express, in the creations of his art, what is unique in him. Just as there are playwrights who write in slang rather than conform to the standard diction grammar demands. POF 0.0

A composer works on the basis of the theory of composition. This theory is an accumulation of principles of what one needs to know in order to compose music. In composing, the rules of theory serve life, that is, theory serves actual reality. POF 0.8

Artist

The artist seeks to embody into his material the Ideas of his Self, in order to reconcile the spirit that lives in him with the outer world. He, too, feels dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance and seeks to build into it that something more which his Self, transcending mere appearance, contains.  POF 2.0

Authority An energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority.  POF 0.0
B (index)
Belief We no longer want to believe; we want to know. Belief demands the acceptance of truths that we do not wholly understand. What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality, that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality. POF  0.3
Brain,
processes
I am not concerned with how one physical process in my brain causes or influences another while I carry on a line of thought. What I observe in studying a thought-process is not what process in my brain connects the concept lightning with the concept thunder. I observe my reason for bringing these two concepts into a certain relationship. Introspection shows that in linking thought with thought I am guided by the content of my thoughts. I am not guided by physical processes in the brain...  It is necessary to point out that we can discuss thought without entering the field of brain physiology... He should certainly not imagine that we consider physiological processes to be thinking. POF 3.6
C (index)
Church,
keepers of conscience

External powers may prevent me from doing what I will. In that case, they simply condemn me to do nothing. Not until they enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head and replace them with their own— only then do they really intend to make me unfree. This is why the Church is not merely against actions, but especially against impure thoughts, the motives for my actions. The Church makes me unfree when it sees as impure all motives it has not itself decreed. A church or any other community does not produce genuine slaves until its priests or teachers turn themselves into keepers of conscience, so that the faithful (in the confessional) must take their motives from the church. 12.12

Community, social

We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the unique perfection of each single individual. POF 0.0

The Moralist believes that a social community is possible only if all men are held together by a common moral order. This shows that the Moralist does not understand the community of the world of ideas. He does not realize that the world of ideas which inspires me is no other than that which inspires my fellow-men. I differ from my neighbour, not at all because we are living in two entirely different mental worlds, but because from our common world of ideas we receive different intuitions. He desires to live out his intuitions, I mine. If we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas, and do not obey mere external impulses (physical or moral), then we can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims, in having the same intentions. A moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible between men who are free. Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbors, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. POF 9-10

The individual must degenerate, if he leads an isolated existence beyond the pale of human society. That is just the reason why the social order arises, that it may react favorably upon the individual. POF 9-12

The world of ideas is not expressed in a human community, but only in human individuals. What appears as the common goal of a human collective is in reality the result of the will impulse of a few select individuals, whom the rest obey as their leaders. POF 10.8

C v
Concept

The products of thinking are concepts and ideas. What a concept is cannot be expressed in words. Words can do no more than draw our attention to the fact that we have concepts. When some one perceives a tree, the perception acts as a stimulus for thought. Thus an ideal element is added to the perceived object, and the perceiver regards the object and its ideal complement as belonging together. When the object disappears from the field of his perception, the ideal counterpart alone remains. This latter is the concept of the object. The wider the range of our experience, the larger becomes the number of our concepts. Moreover, concepts are not by any means found in isolation one from the other. They combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. The concept "organism," combines with those of "development according to law," "growth," and others. Other concepts based on particular objects fuse completely with one another. All concepts formed from particular lions fuse in the universal concept "lion." In this way, all the separate concepts combine to form a closed, conceptual system within which each has its special place. Ideas do not differ qualitatively from concepts. They are but fuller, more saturated, more comprehensive concepts.

Concepts cannot be derived from perception. This is apparent from the fact that, as man grows up, he slowly and gradually builds up the concepts corresponding to the objects which surround him. Concepts are added to perception. POF 4.0

Concept,
formation

I am definitely aware that a concept of a thing is formed by my own activity...
I learn nothing at all about myself by knowing the concepts corresponding to the observed change in a pane of glass caused by a stone thrown against it. If I say of an observed object, “This is a rose,” I say nothing about myself. POF 3.2

Conceptual Process,
depends on me

 The conceptual process depends on me. This is shown by the fact that I can remain content with the observation, and not make the effort to search for concepts if I have no need of them...  As certain as it is that the observed event takes place independently of me, it is just as certain that the conceptual process is dependent on my active involvement for it to take place...  We constantly feel compelled to seek for concepts and connections of concepts that relate in a specific way to the objects and events given independently of us. POF 3.0

Conceptual Process,
predict

"What do we gain by finding a conceptual counterpart to an event?" There is a far reaching difference in the way the details of an event relate to one another before, and after, the discovery of the corresponding concepts. Mere observation can follow the parts of a given event as they occur, but their connection remains obscure without the help of concepts... If I have discovered the concepts corresponding to the details of the event, I can predict what will happen, even when I am no longer able to observe it. POF 3.0

Conceptual Realm

I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects, one must soar into the realm of concepts. Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life. POF 0.7

The purpose of my reflection is to establish the concepts of the event (billiards example). I connect the concept of an elastic ball with other concepts of mechanics, and take into account the special circumstances of this event. I try, in other words, to add to the process that takes place without my participation, a second process that takes place in the conceptual realm. The conceptual process depends on me. POF 3.0

Cognition ...establishing ideal connections between percepts themselves, and between them and ourselves. POF 8.0
Confidence Only truth can give us confidence in developing our individual powers. Whoever is tormented by doubts finds his powers weakened. If baffled by a world full of riddles, he can find no goal for his creative activity. POF  0.2
Contemplation,
of object
The unique nature of thought is that the thinker forgets thinking when actually doing it. What occupies his attention is not thought, but rather the object he is observing while he is thinking... While I am reflecting on the object, I am absorbed in it, my attention is focused on it. To focus the attention on the object is, in fact, to contemplate it by thought. This is thinking contemplation... When I think, I do not see the thinking I am producing. I only see the object I am thinking about, which I did not produce. POF 3.3
Contemplation,
of thought

I can never observe my present thought. Only afterward can the past experience of my thought-process be made into the object of fresh thoughts... If I want to observe my present thought-process, I would have to split myself into two persons: one to think, and the other to observe this thinking. This I cannot do. I can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The thought to be observed is never the current one actively being produced, but another one. For this purpose, it makes no difference whether I observe my own earlier thoughts, or follow the thought-process of another person or, as in the above example of the motion of billiard balls, set up an imaginary thought-process... There are two things that do not go together: productive activity and confronting this activity in contemplation. It is not possible to create and contemplate at the same time... Our thinking must first be there before we can observe it. POF 3.4

Conviction Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. We are only convinced by what appears to each of us inwardly as truth. POF 0.1
Culture,
trends
I have no illusions as to the characteristics of the present time. I know how much a stereotypical attitude, lacking all individuality, is prevalent everywhere. Many flaunt a way of life that follows only the current cultural trends. But I also know that many of my contemporaries strive to conduct their lives in the direction of the principles I have suggested. To them I dedicate this book. POF 0.6
D (index)
Dependence We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on condition it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality. POF 0.0
Dualism Dualism pays attention only to the separation between Self and World brought about by human consciousness. Its whole effort is a futile struggle to reconcile these two sides, which it calls Mind and Matter, Subject and Object, or Thought and Appearance. The Dualist feels there must be a bridge between the two worlds, but is incapable of finding it...  The Dualist sees in Mind (Self) and Matter (World) two essentially different entities, and cannot therefore understand how they can interact with one another. How should Mind be aware of what goes on in Matter, seeing that the essential nature of Matter is quite alien to Mind? Or how in these circumstances should Mind act upon Matter, so as to translate its intentions into actions? The most absurd hypotheses have been propounded to answer these questions.  POF 2.0
E (index)
Eastern Path

The oriental sage requires his disciples to live a life of resignation and asceticism for years before he shares with them his knowledge. The West no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices to attain knowledge. It does require, however, a sincere willingness to prepare for science by withdrawing oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and entering the realm of pure thought.

Education

Nor do we want the kind of knowledge that has been encased in rigid academic rules, and stored away as valid for all time. Each of us claims the right to start from the facts we know, from our own direct experience, and from there advance to knowledge of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way. POF 0.4

Today, no one should be compelled to understand. We expect neither recognition nor agreement from anyone who is not driven to a certain view by his own particular, individual needs. We do not want to cram facts of knowledge into even an immature person, a child. We try to develop the child's capacities in such a way that he no longer needs to be compelled to understand, but wants to understand. POF 0.5

Ethical individualism

The aggregate of the ideas which are effective in us, the concrete content of our intuitions, constitute that which is individual in each of us, notwithstanding the universal character of our ideas. In so far as this intuitive content has reference to action, it constitutes the moral substance of the individual. To let our moral content express itself in life is the moral principle of the human being who regards all other moral principles as subordinate. We may call this point of view Ethical Individualism. POF 9.7

Exceptional State

While the observation of things and events, and thinking about them, is the everyday state that occupies my normal life, the observation of the thoughts themselves require entering an exceptional state. It is important to understand the exceptional state, because we are going to compare thought, as an object of observation, to all other observed things. When observing our thought-process, we must be sure to apply the same method we use to study any other object in the world. But in the normal course of our study of other things, we do not usually reflect upon our thought-processes as well. POF 3.1

Whoever is unable to enter the exceptional state I have described cannot transcend Materialism and become conscious of what in all other mental activity remains unconscious. If someone lacks the willingness to look at thought from this position, then one can no more discuss thought with him than one can discuss color with someone born blind. But he should certainly not imagine that we consider physiological processes to be thinking. POF  3.6

For everyone who has the ability to observe thought—and with the willingness, every normal person has this ability—this observation is the most important that can be made. POF 3.7

F (index)
Feeling,
pleasure
A feeling of pleasure just happens to me. Pleasure is aroused by an object in the same way as a change is caused in an object by a stone falling on it. To observation, a pleasure is given, in exactly the same way as the event that causes it... I learn a great deal about my personality when I know the feeling that an event arouses in me. If I say of the rose, “It gives me a feeling of pleasure,” I characterize not only the rose, but also myself in my relationship to the rose. POF 3.2 
Freedom,
question of
Is a human being free in his thinking and action, or compelled by the unyielding necessity of natural law? POF 1.0
Freedom,
science of
The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science, at long last, that will throw light on these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity. POF  0.9
Freedom,
different kinds, is it freedom or illusion?

1.1 Freedom of indiffernt choice opposed by: choice always determined by a reason.
1.2 Freedom of choice opposed by: choice determined by desire.
1.3 Free Necessity Of One's Nature opposed by: determined by external cause.
1.4 Conduct According To Character opposed by: determined by characterological disposition
1.5 Action Resulting From Conscious Motive opposed by: lack knowledge of motive and why you act
1.6 Free When Controlled By Reason opposed by: determined by rational necessity
1.7 Freedom To Do What One Wishes opposed by: determined by strongest motive
1.8 Freedom Of A Spontaneous Unconditioned Will opposed by: determined by internal and invisible cause
1.9 Know Reason For Action opposed by: What does it mean to know? must study thinking activity
1.10 Driving Force Of The Heart opposed by: thought creates motives -not heart, the heart responds to motives.
1.11 Love (Idealizing The Loved One) opposed by: result of thought, depends on the thoughts we form of the loved one.
1.12 Seeing The Good opposed by: result of thought, forming a perception-picture that includes good qualities

G (index)
God

It is not the human being's business to realize God's will in the world, but his own. He carries out his own decisions and intentions, not those of another being. POF 10.8

The good

What we call the good is not what a man must do, but what he wills to do when he unfolds the fullness of his nature. POF 13.11

Good and
evil

My action becomes “good” if my intuition, steeped in love, stands in the right way in the intuitively experienceable world continuum; it becomes “evil” if that is not the case. POF 9.8 1918  See Moral technique.

Government See State
H (index)
Holistic Science

There are many regions of life. A specific field of science develops for each one. But life itself is a unity, and the more the sciences immerse themselves in separate fields, the more they move away from seeing the world as a living whole. It is essential to have a wholistic knowing that seeks in the separate sciences the principles for leading man back to the fullness of life. The aim of the scientific specialist's research is to gain knowledge of the world and how it works. The aim of this book is philosophical: science itself is to become a living whole. The various branches of science are preparatory stages on the way to the wholistic science intended here.

Humanism

The human individual is the source of all morality and the center of all life. POF 9.12

Monism rejects also the concept of moral maxims other than those originated by the human being. POF 10.12

Morality is a specifically human quality, and freedom is the human way of being moral. POF 10.12

I (index)
"I",
something more

The investigation of our own being must bring us the solution to the problem. We must reach a point where we can say, “Here we are no longer merely ‘I’, here is something more than ‘I’. POF 2.10

Idea

One must confront an Idea as master, experiencing it; otherwise one falls into its bondage. POF 0.12

Idealism,
view-point
The most extreme Spiritualist or, better said, Idealist, is Johann Gottlieb Fichte. He attempts to derive the whole edifice of the world from the “Ego.” What he accomplished is a magnificent thought-structure of the world without any content of actual experience. As little as it is possible for the Materialist to do away with the Mind, just as little is it possible for the Idealist to do away with the external world. POF 2.4
Ideas,
world of

This book does not regard the relationship of science to life in such a way that the human being must bow down before the world of Ideas and devote his powers to its service. On the contrary, it shows that he should take possession of the world of Ideas to use them for his human aims. These extend beyond those of mere science. POF 0.11

Ideals

We allow no ideals to be forced upon us. POF 0.0

Individuality,
expression
No better expression for these phenomena can be found than this, they result from the individual’s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch. POF 0.0
Indivisible Unity, view-point The third form of Monism is the one that finds, even at the simple level of the atom, Matter and Mind are already united. But nothing is gained by this either, for here again the question that actually originates in our consciousness is shifted to another place. How does the simple entity come to manifest itself in two different ways when it is an indivisible unity? POF  2.6
Intuition

The form in which thought first appears in consciousness we will call "Intuition"Intuition is to thoughts what observation is to percepts. Intuition and observation are the sources of our knowledge. POF 5-10

Intuition, conceptual

The only question one can ask concerning the given content is, what it is apart from perception, that is, what it is for thought. The question concerning the "what" of a percept can, therefore, only refer to the conceptual intuition which corresponds to the percept. POF 5.12

Intuition, corresponding

An external object which we observe remains unintelligible to us, until the corresponding intuition arises within us which adds to the reality those sides of it which are lacking in the percept. To anyone who is incapable of supplying the relevant intuitions, the full nature of the real remains a sealed book.

To explain a thing, to make it intelligible means nothing else than to place it in the context from which it has been torn by the peculiar organisation of our minds, described above. Nothing can possibly exist cut off from the universe. Hence all isolation of objects has only subjective validity for minds organized like ours.

The objects which, in observation, appear to us as separate, become combined, bit by bit, through the coherent, unified system of our intuitions. By thought we fuse again into one whole all that perception has separated. POF 5-10

Intuition,
pure

The highest level of individual life is that of conceptual thinking without reference to any definite perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept through pure intuition on the basis of an ideal system... When we act under the influence of pure intuitions, the spring of our action is pure thought. As it is the custom in philosophy to call pure thought "reason," we may perhaps be justified in giving the name of practical reason to the spring of action characteristic of this level of life.

It is clear that such a spring of action can no longer be counted in the strictest sense as part of the characterological disposition. For what is here effective in me as a spring of action is no longer something purely individual, but the ideal, and hence universal, content of my intuition.

The highest principle of morality which we can conceive, however, is that which contains to start with, no such reference to particular experiences, but which springs from the source of pure intuition and does not seek until later any connection with percepts, with life.

When all other grounds of determination take second place, then we rely, in the first place, on conceptual intuition itself. All other motives now drop out of sight, and the ideal content of an action alone becomes its motive. POF 9.4

Intuition,
related to percept (perception)

The moment a percept appears in my field of consciousness, thought, too, becomes active in me. A member of my thought-system, a definite intuition, a concept, connects itself with the percept. POF 6.2

Intuition,
related to percept (knowledge)

The concept "tree" is conditioned for our knowledge by the percept "tree." There is only one determinate concept which I can select from the general system of concepts and apply to a given percept... The content of a concept corresponding to an external percept appearing within the field of my experience, is given through intuition. Intuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual system. The percept shows me only which concept I have to apply, in any given instance, out of the aggregate of my intuitions. The content of a concept is, indeed, conditioned by the percept, but it is not produced by it. On the contrary, it is intuitively given and connected with the percept by an act of thinking. POF 9.0

Intuition, individual
(moral action)

The reason why I select from the number of possible intuitions just this special one, cannot be sought in an object of perception, but is to be found rather in the purely ideal interdependence of the members of my system of concepts. In other words, the determining factors for my will are to be found, not in the perceptual, but only in the conceptual world.

The conceptual system which corresponds to the external world is conditioned by this external world. We must determine from the percept itself what concept corresponds to it; and how, in turn, this concept will fit in with the rest of my system of ideas, depends on its intuitive content. The percept thus conditions directly its concept and, thereby, indirectly also its place in the conceptual system of my world. But the ideal content of an act of will, which is drawn from the conceptual system and which precedes the act of will, is determined only by the conceptual system itself. POF 9.1

The determining factor of an action, in any concrete instance, is the discovery of the corresponding purely individual intuition. At this level of morality, there can be no question of general moral concepts (norms, laws). General norms always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be deduced. But facts have first to be created by human action. POF 9.7

A FREE spirit acts according to his impulses, intuitions, which his thinking has selected out of the whole world of his ideas. For an UNFREE spirit, the reason why he singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas, in order to make it the basis of an action, lies in the perceptual world which is given to him, in his past experiences. POF 12.0

y  
J (index)
j  
K (index)

Know,
desire to

We seem born to be dissatisfied. A special case of this dissatisfaction is our desire to know. We look everywhere for what we call an explanation of the facts. 

Knowledge,
value

The ultimate aim of an individuality cannot be the cultivation of only a single capacity. Rather, it must be the development of all the potential that slumbers within us. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature. POF 0.10

Knowledge

 ...we call this establishment of an ideal relation an "act of cognition," and the resulting condition of ourselves "knowledge… POF 8.0

L (index)
Leaders

The saying “Each one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to Mount Olympus” no longer holds true for us. POF 0.0

Live and
let live

Only the morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts or the commands of duty, turn their backs on their neighbours, if these do not obey the same instincts and the same laws as themselves. Live and let live is the fundamental principle of the free man. POF 9.10

M (index)

Materialism,
view-point

Materialism can never provide a satisfactory explanation of the world. Materialism starts with thoughts about Matter and material processes. In doing so, it already has two different kinds of facts before it: the material (physical) world and the thoughts about it. The Materialist tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely material process. How does Matter come to reflect upon its own nature? The Materialist has turned his attention away from the identifiable subject, from his own Self, and instead occupies himself with the nebulous and indeterminate nature of Matter. POF 2.1

In a less materialistic age this remark would of course be entirely unnecessary. But today—when there are people who believe that once we know what matter is, we will know how matter thinks—it is necessary to point out that we can discuss thought without entering the field of brain physiology.  POF 3.6

Materialistic Idealism,
paradox, view-point

A variant of Idealism. The Materialists are right in declaring all phenomena in the world, including our thought, to be the product of purely material processes. Conversely, he also accepts that Matter and its processes are the product of thinking... When translated into concepts, Lange’s philosophy is a conceptual paradox. POF 2.5

Metaphysics

Monism denies all justification to Metaphysics, and consequently also to the impulses of action which are derived from so-called "things-in-themselves." According to the Monistic view, man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, it is free when he obeys none but himself. There is no room in Monism for any kind of unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and concept. POF 10.6

The ethical laws which the Metaphysician regards as issuing from a higher power are human thoughts; the ethical world order is the free creation of human beings. POF 10.8

Monism liberates man from the self-imposed fetters of naive ethical maxims within the world, and the imposed ethical maxims of speculative Metaphysicians outside the world, because it looks for all principles of explanation of the phenomena of the world within that world and not outside it. POF 10.11

A science which restricts itself to a description of percepts, without advancing to their ideal complements, is, for Monism, but a fragment. But Monism regards as equally fragmentary all abstract concepts which do not find their complement in percepts, and which fit nowhere into the conceptual net that embraces the whole perceptual world. Hence it knows no ideas referring to objects lying beyond our experience and supposed to form the content of Metaphysics. Whatever mankind has produced in the way of such ideas Monism regards as abstractions from experience, whose origin in experience has been overlooked by their authors. POF 15

Monism,
chapter 2

Monism pays attention only to the unity and tries either to deny or to slur over the opposites, present though they are... Monists have tried three different solutions. Either they deny Mind and become Materialists; or they deny Matter in order to seek their salvation as Spiritualists. Or else they claim Mind and Matter are inseparably united even in the world’s simplest entities, so it is not surprising to find these two forms of existence present in the human being, since after all, they are never found apart.

Monism,
chapter 7

We have established that the elements for the explanation of reality are to be taken from the two spheres of perception and thought. It is due, as we have seen, to our organization that the full totality of reality, including our own selves as subjects, appears at first as a duality. Knowledge transcends this duality by fusing the two elements of reality, the percept and the concept, into the complete thing. Let us call the manner in which the world presents itself to us, before by means of knowledge it has taken on its true nature, "the world of appearance," in distinction from the unified whole composed of percept and concept. We can then say, the world is given to us as a duality (Dualism), and knowledge transforms it into a unity (Monism). A philosophy which starts from this basal principle may be called a Monistic philosophy, or Monism. POF 7.0

For Naive Realism the real world is an aggregate of percepts; for Metaphysical Realism, reality belongs not only to percepts but also to imperceptible forces; Monism replaces forces by ideal relations which are supplied by thought. These relations are the laws of nature. A law of nature is nothing but the conceptual expression for the connection of certain percepts. POF 7.9

Monism,
freedom
philosophy

Monism, then, in the sphere of genuinely moral action is the true philosophy of freedom. Being also a philosophy of reality, it rejects the metaphysical (unreal) restriction of the free spirit as emphatically as it acknowledges the physical and historical (naively real) restrictions of the naive man. POF 10.9

Moral,
authority

The most narrow-minded trust in the authority of a single person. Someone a little more advanced allows his conduct to be dictated by a majority (state, society). When, at last, it dawns on him that the authorities are just as weak as himself, the naive seek refuge in a Divine Being. POF 10.0

The naive person conceives a Divine Being that dictates to him the ideal content of his moral life by way of his senses—be it as the God that appeared in the burning bush, or who walked in human form among the people and audibly declares for their ears what they should and should not do. POF 10.0

Man's action is unfree when he obeys some perceptible external compulsion, it is free when he obeys none but himself. POF 10.6

Morality,
free

The standpoint of free morality does not claim that the free spirit is the only form in which a human being can exist. Free morality sees the freedom of the spirit only as the final stage of human evolution. This is not to deny that conduct in obedience to norms has its legitimate place as a stage in development. The point is that we cannot acknowledge it to be the absolute standpoint in morality. For the free spirit overcomes such norms, in the sense that they are insensible to them as commands, but regulate their conduct according to their impulses (intuitions). POF 9.11

Anyone incapable of producing moral ideas through intuition must receive them from others. To the extent that humans receive their ethical principles from without, they are in fact not free. POF 10.5

The actions of human beings are not free if they obey external compulsion; they act freely only when they obey themselves. POF 10.6

In regards to genuinely moral conduct, Monism is the true philosophy of freedom. Being also a philosophy of reality, it rejects the metaphysical (unreal) restriction of the free spirit. POF 10.9

Freedom is impossible if anything other than I myself (physical processes or God) determines my moral ideas. I am free only when I myself produce these ideas, not when all I do is carry out the ideas another has implanted in me. POF 12.11

The ethical life of humanity is the sum total of what free human individuals have created through their moral imagination. POF 14.12

Moral,
intuition

The capacity to intuitively experience the particular moral principle for each single situation.

Among the levels of characterological disposition, we have singled out as the highest that which manifests itself as pure thought, or practical reason. Among the motives, we have just singled out conceptual intuition as the highest. On nearer consideration, we now perceive that at this level of morality the spring of action and the motive coincide, i.e., that neither a predetermined characterological disposition, nor an external moral principle accepted on authority, influence our conduct. The action, therefore, is neither a merely stereotyped one which follows the rules of a moral code, nor is it automatically performed in response to an external impulse. Rather it is determined solely through its ideal content.

For such an action to be possible, we must first be capable of moral intuitions. Whoever lacks the capacity to think out for himself the moral principles that apply in each particular case, will never rise to the level of genuine individual willing. POF 9.5

He acts as he wills, that is, in accordance with his moral intuitions; and he finds in the attainment of what he wills the true enjoyment of life. POF 13.12

Moral,
imagination

The general moral principle selected by moral intuition needs to be imaginatively translated into a specific goal of action. We call this moral imagination.

Only those men who are endowed with moral imagination are morally productive. Those who merely preach morality, those who merely spin out moral rules without being able to condense them into concrete ideas, are morally unproductive. POF 12.2

Moral,
technique

Moral technique is the ability to transform the world according to moral imaginations without violating the natural laws by which things are connected.

In order to be able to transform a definite object of perception, or a sum of such objects, in accordance with a moral idea, it is necessary to understand the object's law (its mode of action which one intends to transform, or to which one wants to give a new direction). Further, it is necessary to discover the procedure by which it is possible to change the given law into the new one. This part of effective moral activity depends on knowledge of the particular world of phenomena with which one has got to deal. We shall, therefore, find it in some branch of scientific knowledge. Moral action, then, presupposes, in addition to the faculty of moral concepts and of moral imagination, the ability to alter the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which they are connected. This ability is moral technique. It may be learnt in the same sense in which science in general may be learnt. POF 12.3

Mysticism

The tendency just described, the philosophy of feeling, is Mysticism. The error in this view is that it seeks to possess by immediate experience what must be known, that it seeks to develop feeling, which is individual, into a universal principle. POF 8.8

N (index)
Nature,
feel we belong
It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we are within Nature and belong to her. It can only be that the outer workings of Nature live in us too. POF 2.8
Nature,
know within
We must seek out this essence of Nature in us, and then we will discover our connection with her once more... We can find nature outside us only if we first know her within us. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide. POF 2.9
Norm  We no longer believe there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to conform.  POF 0.0
O (index)
o  
P (index)
Percept

The ambiguity of current speech makes it advisable for me to come to an agreement with my readers concerning the meaning of a word which I shall have to employ in what follows. I shall apply the name "percepts" to the immediate sense-data enumerated above, in so far as the subject consciously apprehends them. It is, then, not the process of perception, but the object of this process which I call the "percept."

I reject the term "sensation," because this has a definite meaning in Physiology which is narrower than that of my term "percept". I can speak of feeling as a percept, but not as a sensation in the physiological sense of the term. Before I can have cognisance of my feeling it must become a percept for me. The manner in which, through observation, we gain knowledge of our thought-processes is such that when we first begin to notice thought, it too may be called a percept. POF 4.4

Philosophy,
as art

In the same way philosophy is an art. All genuine philosophers have been artists in the conceptual realm. For them, human Ideas become their artistic material and the wholistic method of science their artistic technique. Abstract thinking takes on an individual life of its own. Ideas become powerful forces in life. We no longer  merely know about things, but have made knowing into a real self-governing organism, ruled by its own laws. Our actual working consciousness has lifted itself above a mere passive reception of truths. POF 0.8

Philosophy,
of feeling

Now a feeling is entirely individual, something equivalent to a percept. Hence a philosophy of feeling makes a cosmic principle out of something which has significance only within my own personality. Anyone who holds this view attempts to infuse his own self into the whole world. What the Monist strives to grasp by means of concepts, the philosopher of feeling tries to attain through feeling, and he looks on his own felt union with objects as more immediate than knowledge. POF 8.7

Philosophy,
of will

He sees in the will an element in which he is immediately aware of an activity, a causation, in contrast with thought which afterwards grasps this activity in conceptual form… The mode of existence presented to him by the will within himself becomes for him the fundamental reality of the universe. His own will appears to him as a special case of the general world-process; hence the latter is conceived as a universal will. The will becomes the principle of reality just as, in Mysticism, feeling becomes the principle of knowledge. This point of view is called the philosophy of the will (or Thelism). It makes something which can be experienced only individually the dominant factor of the world. POF 8.10

Polarity Of Consciousness

 It is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.” POF 2.6

Q (index)
q  
R (index)
Realism

If one would really know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience Mind can have no content. Similarly, when we carry out actions, we have to realize our intentions on the real, practical level with the help of material things and forces. In other words, we are dependent on the external world. POF 2.3

Reason,
practical

The highest level of individual life is that of conceptual thinking without reference to any definite perceptual content. We determine the content of a concept through pure intuition on the basis of an ideal system... When we act under the influence of pure intuitions, the spring of our action is pure thought. As it is the custom in philosophy to call pure thought "reason," we may perhaps be justified in giving the name of practical reason to the spring of action characteristic of this level of life. POF 9.4

Reflection The purpose of my reflection is to establish the concepts of the event.  POF 3.0
Religious Believer  The religious believer is dissatisfied with the world of mere appearance. He seeks in the revelations granted him by God, the solution to the world problem which his Self sets before him.  POF 2.0
S (index)
Science,
of freedom

The main theme of my book concerns these questions: How philosophy, as an art, relates to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can, participate in it. Scientific discussions are included because it is science, at long last, that will throw light on these questions which are the most intimate that concern humanity. POF 0.9

Science,
value of

All science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity, if it does not elevate the existential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we are shown the importance of their results for humanity. The ultimate aim of an individuality cannot be the cultivation of only a single capacity. Rather, it must be the development of all the potential that slumbers within us. Knowledge has value only by contributing to the all-around development of the whole of human nature. POF 0.10

Science,
theory of
evolution

Ethical Individualism, then, so far from being in opposition to the theory of evolution, is a direct consequence of it. Haeckel's genealogical tree from protozoa up to man as an organic being, ought to be capable of being worked out without a breach of natural law, and without a gap in its uniform evolution, up to the individual as a being with a determinate moral nature.

The same Ethical Individualism which I have developed on the basis of the preceding principles, might be equally well developed on the basis of the theory of evolution. The final result would be the same; only the path by which it was reached would be different. POF 12.7

Ethical Individualism, then, is the crown of the edifice that Darwin and Haeckel have erected for Natural Science. It is the theory of evolution applied to the moral life. POF 12.8

Science, thought
training

The Oriental sages make their disciples live for years a life of resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own wisdom. The Western world no longer demands pious exercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for science, but it does require a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought. POF 0.7

Science,
wholistic

The spheres of life are many and for each there develop a special science. But life itself is one, and the more the sciences strive to penetrate deeply into their separate spheres, the more they withdraw themselves from the vision of the world as a living whole. There must be one supreme science which seeks in the separate sciences the elements for leading men back once more to the fullness of life. POF 0.8

Science,
world
unity

The preceding discussion shows clearly that it is futile to seek for any other common element in the separate things of the world, than the ideal content which thinking supplies. All attempts to discover any other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content, which we gain for ourselves by the conceptual analysis of our percepts, are bound to fail. Neither a personal God, nor force, nor matter, nor the blind will (of Schopenhauer and Hartmann), can be accepted by us as the universal principle of unity in the world. These principles all belong only to a limited sphere of our experience. Personality we experience only in ourselves, force and matter only in external things. The will can be regarded only as the expression of the activity of our finite personalities. POF 5.9

Self-World,
split
The something more we seek in things, exceeds what is given to us in immediate observation. What we add splits our entire existence into two parts. We become conscious of our opposition to the world. We place ourselves over against the world as an independent being. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides: Self and World. POF 2.0
Self -World,
feeling we belong

We erect this wall of separation between ourselves and the world as soon as consciousness lights up within us. But we never lose the feeling we belong to the world, that a bond connects us to it, and that we are beings whose place is not outside, but within the universe. This feeling makes us strive to bridge the opposition.  POF 2.0

Self-World,
unity

Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case. POF 2.0

Self-Esteem We are convinced that in each of us, if only we probe deep enough into the very heart of our being, there dwells something noble, something worthy of development.  POF 0.0
Service We do not want to do what anyone else can do equally well. No, our contribution to the development of the world, however trifling, must be something that, by reason of the uniqueness of our nature, we alone can offer. POF 0.0
Sensuality I am fully convinced that to experience life in all its aspects, one must soar into the realm of concepts. Whoever is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the sweetest joys of life. POF 0.7
Spiritual,
being

The Dualist regards the human mind to be a spiritual being entirely foreign to Nature and then tries to hitch this being on to Nature. No wonder it cannot find the connecting link. We can find Nature outside us only if we first know her within us. What corresponds to Nature within us will be our guide. POF 2.9

Spiritual,
dualist

To the Spiritual Dualist, moral laws appear to be dictated by the Absolute. Human beings through their intelligence need only discover and carry out the decisions of this Absolute Being... It is not man who matters in this moral order but reality in itself, that is, God. POF 10.2

Just as the Materialistic Dualist makes human beings into automatons whose actions are the result of purely mechanical laws, a Spiritual Dualist makes human beings slaves to the will of the Absolute. Freedom has no place either in Materialism or Spiritualism. POF 10.3

Spiritualism,
view-point

The Spiritualist denies Matter (the World) any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself. From all that it achieves by its own spiritual effort, the physical world is never found. This conception of the world finds itself in difficulties as soon as it attempts to produce from Mind any single concrete phenomenon. It cannot do this either in knowledge or in action, as long as it regards its own nature as exclusively spiritual. It seems as if the Ego had to concede that the world would be a closed book to it, unless it could establish a non-spiritual relation to the world. POF 2.2

State

The human individual is the fountain of all morality and the centre of all life. State and society exist only because they have necessarily grown out of the life of individuals.

The individual must degenerate, if he leads an isolated existence beyond the pale of human society. That is just the reason why the social order arises, that it may react favorably upon the individual. POF 9-12

State,
laws

The Philistine who looks upon the state as embodied morality is sure to look upon the free spirit as a danger to the state. But that is only because his view is narrowly focused on a limited period of time. If he were able to look beyond, he would soon find that it is but on rare occasions that the free spirit needs to go beyond the laws of his state, and that it never needs to confront them with any real contradiction. For the laws of the state, one and all, have had their origin in the intuitions of free spirits, just like all other objective laws of morality.

The laws of the state are always born in the brain of a statesman. These free spirits have set up laws over the rest of mankind, and only he is unfree who forgets this origin and makes them either divine commands, or objective moral duties, or the authoritative voice of his own conscience.

He, on the other hand, who does not forget the origin of laws, but looks for it in man, will respect them as belonging to the same world of ideas which is the source also of his own moral intuitions. If he thinks his intuitions better than the existing laws, he will try to put them into the place of the latter. If he thinks the laws justified, he will act in accordance with them as if they were his own intuitions.

Supernatural

Just as Monism has no use for supernatural creative ideas in explaining living organisms, so it is equally impossible for it to derive the moral world-order from causes which do not lie within the world. It cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon moral life (divine government of the world from the outside), nor an influence through a particular act of revelation at a particular moment in history (giving of the ten commandments), or through God's appearance on the earth (divinity of Christ). Moral processes are, for Monism, natural products like everything else that exists, and their causes must be looked for in nature, i.e., in man, because man is the bearer of morality. POF 12.8

T (index)
Terms

I have not found it necessary to use terms such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. in the precise way that is usual in Psychology and Philosophy. POF 2.11

Thinker

The thinker seeks the laws at work in the world of phenomena. He strives to penetrate with thinking what he learns by observing. Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we find again the unity from which we have separated ourselves. We will see later this goal can only be reached when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case. POF 2.0

My search reaches firm ground only when I find an object, from which I can derive the reason of its existence from the object itself. This I am, as a thinker; for I give to my existence the defining, self-supporting content of my thought activity. From here I can go on to ask: "Do other things exist in the same, or in some other way?" POF 3.7

Thinking,
awakened

If the things of our experience were ideas (mental pictures), then our everyday life would be like a dream, and the discovery of the true facts would be like waking. POF 5.1

...in contrast to dreaming, there is the waking state in which we have the opportunity to detect our dreams, and to realize the real relations of things, but that there is no state that stands in a similar relationship to waking consciousness. Those who profess this view fail entirely to see that there is, in fact, something which is to mere perception what our waking experience is to our dreams. This something is thinking. POF 5.1

Thinking, produce
concept

I am definitely aware that the concept of a thing is formed by my activity, while the feeling of pleasure is produced in me by an object the same way as change is caused in an object by a stone falling on it.

In thinking about an occurrence, I am not concerned with it as an effect on me. I learn nothing about myself from knowing the concepts which correspond to the observed change caused to a pane of glass by a stone thrown against it. But I do learn something about myself when I know the feeling which a certain occurrence arouses in me. POF 3.2

Thinking,
contemplation of object

While I am reflecting on the object, I am absorbed in it; my attention is turned to it. To become absorbed in the object is to contemplate by thought. POF 3.3

Thinking,
contemplation of thought

I can never observe the present thought in which I am actually engaged; only afterward can I make the past experience of my thought process into the object of my present thinking. POF 3.4

Thinking,
examination

We must first examine thinking in a completely impartial way, without reference to a thinking subject or a thought object. For in subject and object we already have concepts formed by thinking. There is no denying that thinking must be understood before anything else can be understood.  POF 3.11

Thinking,
observation
of thought

Thought, as an object of observation, differs essentially from all other objects. I observe the table, and I carry on my thinking about the table, but I do not at the same moment observe this thought. While the observation of things and events, and thinking about them, are everyday occurrences filling my ongoing life, observation of the thought itself is a kind of exceptional state. POF 3.1

Thinking,
pure

What I observe in studying a thought-process is not what process in my brain connects the concept lightning with the concept thunder. I observe my reason for bringing these two concepts into a certain relationship. Introspection shows that in linking thought with thought I am guided by the content of my thoughts. I am not guided by physical processes in the brain... Most people find it difficult to grasp the concept of pure thinking. POF 3.6

Thinking,
know
concept

It is possible to know thought more immediately and more intimately than any other process in the world. Because we produce it ourselves we know the characteristic features of its course and the details of how the process takes place...  I do not know off-hand why, for perception, thunder follows lightning, but I know immediately, from the content of the two concepts, why my thought connects the concept of thunder with that of lightning. POF 3.5

Thinking, reflection

The purpose of my reflection is to form concepts of the event. I try to add to the occurrence that runs its course without my participation a second process which takes place in the conceptual sphere. This conceptual process depends on me. POF 3.0

Thought,
application

There are people who say we cannot know for certain whether our thought is right or wrong. This is as sensible as saying it is doubtful whether a tree in itself is right or wrong. Thought is a fact and it is meaningless to speak of a fact as being right or wrong. At most I can have doubts about whether thought is rightly applied. POF 3.12

Thought,
directly know

 We produce the thought-process through our own creative activity, we know the characteristic features of its course, and the details of how the process has taken place. What can be discovered only indirectly in all other fields of observation — the factually corresponding context and the connection between the single objects — in the case of thought is known to us in an absolutely direct way. POF 3.5

For everyone who has the ability to observe thought—and with the willingness, every normal person has this ability—this observation is the most important that can be made. What he observes is his own creation. He is not facing something that is, at first, unfamiliar to him. He faces his own activity. He knows how it comes about. He clearly sees into its conditions and relationships. He gains a secure point of reference from which he can seek, with a reasonable hope of success, the explanation for all other world phenomena. POF 3.7

Thought,
connections

Without going beyond the observed phenomena, I cannot know why thunder follows lightning. But I know immediately, from the content of the two concepts, why my thought connects the concept of thunder with the concept of lightning. The point being made here does not depend on whether I have the correct concepts of lightning and thunder. The connection between those concepts that I do have is clear to me, and is so through the concepts themselves. POF 3.5

What I observe in studying a thought-process is not what process in my brain connects the concept lightning with the concept thunder. I observe my reason for bringing these two concepts into a certain relationship. Introspection shows that in linking thought with thought I am guided by the content of my thoughts. I am not guided by physical processes in the brain. POF 3.6

Thought,
create

What is impossible with Nature—creation prior to knowledge—we achieve in the act of thought. If we wait to think until we already know it, we would never think at all. We must resolutely dive straight into thinking and only afterward, by introspective analysis, gain knowledge of what we have done. We ourselves first create the thought-process, which we then make the object of observation. POF  3.9

Thought,
observation of
When I observe my thinking, there ceases to be an unnoticed element present. For what hovers in the background is, again, nothing but thought. The observed object is qualitatively the same as the activity directed upon it. We can remain within the same element; the realm of thought. POF 3.8
Thought,
self-supporting,
self-subsistence
When Archimedes invented the lever, he thought he could use it to lift the whole cosmos out of its hinges, if he could only find a secure point of support to set his instrument. He needed something that was self-supporting, not dependent on anything else. In thought we have a principle of self-subsistence, it is composed by means of itself. From this principle let us attempt to understand the world. Thought can be grasped by thought. The only question is whether we can grasp anything else by means of thought. POF 3.10
T  
Truth, empowerment

Truth alone can give us confidence in developing our powers. He who is tortured by doubts finds his powers lamed. In a world of riddle of which baffles him, he can find no aim for his activity. POF 0.2

Truth,
inner

Truth will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. POF 0.1

Truth that comes to us from outside always bears the stamp of uncertainty. We are only convinced by what appears to each of us inwardly as truth. POF 0.1

What is not clearly understood goes against our individuality, that wants to experience everything in the depths of its inner core. The only knowing that satisfies us is the kind that submits to no external norm, but springs from the inner life of the personality. POF 0.3

Truth,
path to

TPOF is not meant to offer the "only possible" way to Truth, but to describe the path taken by one (Rudolf Steiner) for whom truth is central.

U (index)
u u
V (index)
Validation Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. POF 0.0
   
W (index)
W  
X (index)
x  
Y (index)
y  
Z (index)
z  
© Tom Last 2017