- A ground-breaking exploration of Steiner's thought
- One of the most important philosophers of the last 150 years
- Vast legacy of practical work with world-wide supporters
The Austrian-born philosopher Rudolf Steiner (1861-1925) created a vast legacy of practical work in Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, Camphill communities for adults and children with special needs, as well as in many other artistic and scientific areas.
The foundation of all these approaches is a highly developed system of thought with which Steiner addressed philosophical issues. Many of these issues were also tackled by a number of contemporaries, notably the phenomenological school represented by Edmund Husserl and others.
Seeking to clarify his moral thinking which he termed 'ethical individualism', Steiner offered a challenging view of knowledge, not as an abstract and objectified reality, but as a form of relationship between the knower and the known. By this measure, all genuine knowledge is experiential and thus intimately involved with, and capable of changing, the world. Equally, there is no world 'out there', since every individual is a participant in reality, and there are no morally neutral acts or thoughts.
Andrew Welburn presents a fascinating insight into the radical nature of Steiner's thinking. Welburn examines his inheritance of ideas from Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, his attempt to break out of Cartesian dualism and Kantian idealism, and his challenge to the conventional framework of European philosophy.
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About the Author
Andrew Welburn taught at the University of London, has been a Fellow of the Warburg Institute and taught at New College, Oxford, until 2005. He is author of The Beginnings of Christianity, and Gnosis: The Mysteries and Christianity.
Table of Contents
Introduction: The Philosopher of Freedom 15
Freedom and its Perils 15
A Spiritual Philosophy 18
Rethinking the Past 28
1 An Ecology of Knowing: Steiner's Thought in Origin and Outline 35
Steiner-Nietzsche or, A Refusal to Panic 36
Philosophical Riddles 40
The Outlines of Steiner's Thought 45
2 Knowledge as Relationship 57
Truth and Science 69
A Modern World-View: 'Anthroposophy' - with a Hint about Art 84
3 The Self in Development 97
The Self and the Other: Constituting the World? 97
The Self and the Other: a Social Reality 114
Being and Nothingness 122
The Contrary Powers 136
The Paradox of the Self 150
4 Freedom and History 161
The Self and its Values - A Philosophy of Freedom 161
History and Morality 169
Moral Perception 177
Natural Symbols and Modern Taboos 183
Ultimate Questions 189
5 The Critique of Modernity 193
Myths and Modernity 193
History Again - and Logos 199
The Rediscovery of Meaning 218
Appendix 1 Legends of the Fall 223
Appendix 2 Kant and the Post-Kantians: Steiner's Relationship to German Idealism 225
Select Bibliography 279