Stebbing Summary - Chapter 4

Chapter Summary Of The Philosophy Of Freedom
Rita Stebbing

Chapter 4 The World as Percept
Chapter 3 shows thinking in its own being and essence. Chapter 4 shows the relationship of thinking to the objects one perceives. From the wealth of this chapter we might single out just one point, so misrepresented by Kant and others: that we derive our knowledge of objects not from that aspect of them which we receive through our senses, but from thinking . No matter how long or how intensely we observe an object, the object does not tell us what it is ; this our thinking does. Yet despite the fact that we ourselves produce it, thinking tells us nothing about ourselves, but solely about the object we observe. Recognition of this---which can easily be tested by self-observation---may increasingly act as wings to one's understanding of otherwise incomprehensible things in life,     ---things recognizable to unprejudiced logical thinking, the denial of which would be a denial of logical thinking as well.

Chapters 3, 4 and 5 all deal essentially with the nature and character of thinking. To read them is to set out on an adventurous journey into the inner being of man. In the Preface Steiner stresses that to solve the riddle of man's relationship to the world “a region of the soul must be discovered where living answers to life's questions are to be found.” The search for this region begins in Chapter 3 where it is established that thinking is not a by-product of the human brain, but an entity which uses the brain as its tool; a process which man himself must produce before it can exist in the world of matter. In other words, thinking is not a physical but a spiritual activity of man.

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The Knowledge of Freedom

Chapter 1   Conscious Human Action
Chapter 2   The Fundamental Urge for Knowledge
Chapter 3   Thinking in the Service of Comprehending the World
Chapter 4  The World as Percept
Chapter 5   Attaining Knowledge of the World
Chapter 6   The Human Individuality
Chapter 7   Are There Limits to Knowledge?


The Reality of Freedom
Chapter 8   The Factors of Life
Chapter 9   The Idea of Freedom
Chapter 10  Philosophy of Freedom and Monism
Chapter 11  World Purpose and Life Purpose (Mankind's Destination)
Chapter 12   Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)
Chapter 13  The Value of Life (Pessimism and Optimism)
Chapter 14  Individuality and Type
The Consequences of Monism