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04/07/2012
PRINCIPLES OF RUDOLF STEINER'S
PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
PART I THE THEORY OF FREEDOM
Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
The Goal Of Knowledge
Conscious Human Action
Why The esire !or Knowledge Is !undamental
Thought As The Instrument Of Knowledge
The World As "ercept
Our Knowledge Of The World
Human Indi#iduality
Are There Any $imits To Cognition%
PART II THE REALITY OF FREEDOM
Chapter I&
Chapter &
Chapter &I
Chapter &II
Chapter &III
Chapter &IV
Chapter &V
The !actors Of $ife
The Idea Of !reedom
'onism And The "hilosophy Of !reedom
World("urpose And $ife("urpose )the estiny Of 'an*
'oral Imagination )darwinism And 'orality*
The Value Of $ife )optimism And "essimism*
The Indi#idual And The Genus
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CHAPTER I
THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
principles of individualism
Principles Of Individualistic Life
1. Free Oneself From Authority
An energetic effort is being made to shae off ever! ind of authorit!"
2. Individual Validation
#othing is accepted as valid$ unless it springs from the roots of individualit!" %ver!thing &hich hinders
the individual in the full development of his po&ers is thrust aside"
3. Leaderless Striving
'he sa!ing (%ach one of us must choose his hero in &hose footsteps he toils up to Ol!mpus) no longer
holds for us"
4. Individual Selection Of Ideals
*e allo& no ideals to be forced upon us"
. Individual !orthiness
*e are convinced that in each of us$ if onl! &e probe deep enough into the ver! heart of our being$
there d&ells something noble$ something &orth! of development"
". #e$ection Of %onformity
*e no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to &hich &e must all strive to conform"
&. 'erfection Of (ach Individual
*e regard the perfection of the &hole as depending on the uni+ue perfection of each single individual"
). *ni+ue %ontri,ution
*e do not &ant to do &hat an!one else can do e+uall! &ell" #o$ our contribution to the development
of the &orld$ ho&ever trifling$ must be something &hich$ b! reason of the uni+ueness of our nature$
&e alone can offer"
-. %reative (./ression
#ever have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than toda!" %ach of them asserts
his right to e,press$ in the creations of his art$ &hat is uni+ue in him"
10. 1ynamic Language
'here are dramatists &ho &rite in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction &hich grammar
demands"
11. Striving 2o3ards Freedom
-2. #o better e,pression for these phenomena can be found than this$ that the! result from the
individual/s striving to&ards freedom$ developed to its highest pitch"
12. Inde/endence
*e do not &ant to be dependent in an! respect$ and &here dependence must be$ &e tolerate it onl!
on condition that it coincides &ith a vital interest of our individualit!"
Principles Of Individualistic 'ruth
1.0 %ulture Of Individuality
'oda!$ all human interests tend to center in the culture of human individualit!"
1.1 %onviction Of Inner 2ruth
'ruth &ill be sought in our age onl! in the depths of human nature" 0onviction attaches onl! to &hat
appears as truth to each of us in our o&n hearts"
1.2 2ruth (m/o3ers
'ruth alone can give us confidence in developing our po&ers" 1e &ho is tortured b! doubts finds his
po&ers lamed"
1.3 %om/rehensi,le 2ruth
*e no longer &ant to believe2 &e &ant to no&" 3elief demands the acceptance of truths &hich &e do
not &holl! comprehend"
1.4 4no3ledge Starting From Individual (./erience
4tarting from the facts nearest at hand$ our o&n immediate e,periences$ &e ascend to a no&ledge of
the &hole universe"
1. Individual 1rive 2o 4no3
#o&ada!s there is no attempt to compel an!one to understand" *e claim no agreement &ith an!one
&hom a distinct individual need does not drive to a certain vie&"
1." Strive 2o Live According 2o Individualistic 'rinci/les
5an! of m! contemporaries strive to order their lives in the direction of the principles I have indicated"
'o them I &ould dedicate this boo"
1.& (.ercise 'ure 2hin5ing
'he *estern &orld no longer demands pious e,ercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for
science$ but it does re+uire a sincere &illingness to &ithdra& oneself a&hile from the immediate
impressions of life$ and to betae oneself into the realm of pure thought"
1.) 4no3ledge Is A Self67overning Organism
Abstract thining attains concrete$ individual life" Ideas become po&ers of life" *e no longer have
merel! a no&ledge about things$ but have made no&ledge into a real$ self6governing organism" Our
consciousness$ alive and active$ has risen be!ond a mere passive reception of truths"
1.- 2he 8ost 'ressing 9uestion Is Freedom
1o& philosoph!$ as an art$ is related to freedom2 &hat freedom is2 and &hether &e do$ or can$
participate in it 7these are the principle problems of m! boo" 'hese +uestions$ in m! opinion$ are
humanit! most immediate concern"
1.10 2he Value Of 4no3ledge Is :uman 1evelo/ment
'he true value of the sciences is seen onl! &hen &e have sho&n the importance of their results for
humanit!" 8no&ledge has value onl! in so far as it contributes to the all6round unfolding of the &hole
nature of the human being"
1.11 Ideas 2o Serve Individual 7oals
*e each tae possession of the &orld of ideas in order to use them for our o&n human aims$ &hich
transcend those of mere science"
1.12 8aster Over Ideas
*e must confront ideas as master2 or become their slave"
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CHAPTER II
CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
principles of freedom
2.0 2he 9uestion Of Freedom
Is the human being free in action and thought$ or inescapabl! controlled b! necessit!9
2.1 Freedom of Indifferent %hoice
:support; #eutrall! choosing$ entirel! at &ill$ one or the other of t&o possible courses of action"
:opposed; 'here al&a!s e,ists a specific reason to e,plain &h! &e carr! out an action"
2.2 Freedom Of %hoice
:support; 5ae a free choice according to our o&n &ants and preferences"
:opposed; *e are not free to desire or not desire arbitraril!"
2.3 Free ;ecessity Of One<s ;ature
:support; <reedom is to e,press the necessit! of our o&n nature"
:opposed; 1o&ever comple,$ our nature is determined b! e,ternal causes to act in a fi,ed and e,act
&a!"
2.4 Free From (.ternal Influences
:support; *e act on an idea onl! if it is first accepted b! our character"
:opposed; An idea is made into a motive according to the =necessit!= of our characterological
disposition"
2. Action #esulting From %onscious 8otive
:support; >ather than blind urge$ &e act according to a conscious motive"
:opposed; 'he no&er has been separated from the doer" *e don/t al&a!s do &hat &e no& should be
done"
2." Free !hen %ontrolled =y #ational 1ecision
:support; <reedom is to determine one=s life and action b! purpose and deliberate decisions"
:opposed; A rational decision ma! emerges in me &ith the same necessit! as hunger and thirst arise"
2.& Free 2o 1o As One !ants
:support; 'o be free does not mean being able to determine &hat one &ants$ but being able to do
&hat one &ants"
:opposed; If a motive &ors on me$ and I am compelled to follo& it because it proves to be the
(strongest) of its ind$ then the thought of freedom ceases to mae an! sense"
2.) S/ontaneous *nconditioned !ill
:support; Our &ill is the cause of our movement$ the &illing itself is unconditioned2 it is an absolute
beginning :a first cause and not a lin in a chain of events;"
:opposed; *e do not perceive the causes that determine our &ill$ so &e believe it is not causall!
determined at all"
2.- 4no3ledge Of 2he #easons
:support; <reedom is an action of &hich the reasons are no&n"
:opposed; *hat is the origin of the thoughts that cause us to act9
2.10 1riving Force Of 2he :eart
:support; Love$ compassion$ and patriotism are driving forces for action &here heart6felt sensibilit!
prevails"
:opposed; 'he heart and its sensibilit! do not create the motives of action" 'he! allo& them to enter"
'he motives have alread! been established"
2.11 Idealistic 2hought
:support; Love determines our action"
:opposed; <eelings are determined b! thought" Love is based on the thoughts &e form of the loved
one" 'he more idealistic the thoughts$ the more blessed is our love"
2.12 'erce/tion Of 7ood 9ualities
:support; *e see the good +ualities of the loved one" 5an! pass b! &ithout noticing these good
+ualities"
:opposed; 4eeing good +ualities is determined b! love &hich opens the e!es to see them" 'he love is
there because mental pictures have been made of the good +ualities"
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CHAPTER III
WHY THE DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE
IS FUNDAMENTAL
principles of no&ledge
3.0 2he 1rive 2o 4no3
*e see something more in things that e,ceeds &hat is immediatel! given to us" 'his addition &e
see splits our &hole being into t&o parts2 our ob?ective outer perception and our sub?ective inner
thought6&orld" *e become conscious of contrasting &ith the &orld" 'he universe appears to us as t&o
contrasting sides@ Self and World"
3.1 8aterialism
5aterialism begins &ith the thought of 5atter or material processes" 3ut$ in doing so$ it is confronted
b! t&o different sets of facts$ the material &orld and the thoughts about it" 2houghts are understood
as purel! ph!sical processes"
3.2 S/iritualism
'he Spiritualist denies 5atter :the *orld; and regards it as merel! a product of 5ind :the 4elf;"
3.3 #ealism
If one &ould reall! no& the e,ternal &orld$ one must loo out&ards and dra& on the fund of
e,perience"
3.4 Idealism
*hat <ichte has actuall! accomplished is a magnificent thought-picture of the &orld$ but one &ithout
an! empirical content"
3. 8aterialistic Idealism
5aterialism e,plains all &orld phenomena$ including our thoughts$ to be the product of purel! material
processes$ but$ conversel!$ 5atter and its processes are themselves a product of our thining"
3." Indivisi,le *nity
'he third form of 5onism sees the indivisible unit! of 5atter and 5ind in even the simplest ph!sical
particle"
3.& 'olarity Of %onsciousness
*e first encounter the basic and original polarit! in our o&n consciousness" *e are the ones &ho
detach ourselves from the mother soil of #ature and contrast ourselves &ith the *orld as 4elf"
3.) Feeling Im/ulse
It is true that &e have estranged ourselves from #ature2 but it is e+uall! true that &e feel &e are
&ithin #ature and belong to her" 'his can onl! be due to #ature=s influence on us$ &hich also lives in
us"
3.- 4no3ing ;ature !ithin
*e can onl! find #ature outside us after &e first no& it within us" *hat corresponds to #ature &ithin
us &ill be our guide"
3.10 Something 8ore 2han >I?
*e must come to a point &here &e can sa!@ 1ere &e are no longer merel! =I=$ here is something more
than =I="
3.11 1escri/tion Of %onsciousness
I have not been concerned &ith scientific results$ but rather &ith a simple description of &hat &e all
e,perience in our o&n consciousness" %ven those sentences about the attempts to reconcile 5ind &ith
the *orld have onl! been included to clarif! the actual facts"
3.12 Facts !ithout Inter/retation
5! concern is not ho& science has interpreted consciousness$ but rather ho& &e e,perience it moment
b! moment"
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CHAPTER IV
THOUGHT AS THE INSTRUMENT
OF KNOWLEDGE
principles of thining
4.0 #eflective 2hought
'he purpose of m! reflection is to form concepts of the event" I tr! to add to the occurrence that runs
its course &ithout m! participation a second process &hich taes place in the conceptual sphere" 'his
conceptual process depends on me"
4.1 O,servation Of 2hought
'hought$ as an ob?ect of observation$ differs essentiall! from all other ob?ects" I observe the table$ and
I carr! on m! thining about the table$ but I do not at the same moment observe this thought" *hile
the observation of things and events$ and thining about them$ are ever!da! occurrences filling m!
ongoing life$ observation of the thought itself is a ind of e,ceptional state"
4.2 Formation Of %once/t
I am definitel! a&are that the concept of a thing is formed b! m! activit!$ &hile the feeling of pleasure
is produced in me b! an ob?ect the same &a! as change is caused in an ob?ect b! a stone falling on it"
4.3 2hin5ing %ontem/lation Of O,$ect
*hile I am reflecting on the ob?ect$ I am absorbed in it2 m! attention is turned to it" 'o become
absorbed in the ob?ect is to contemplate b! thought"
4.4 2hin5ing %ontem/lation Of 2hought
I can never observe the present thought in &hich I am actuall! engaged2 onl! after&ard can I mae
the past e,perience of m! thought process into the ob?ect of m! present thining"
4. 4no3 %ontent Of %once/t
It is possible to no& thought more immediatel! and more intimatel! than an! other process in the
&orld" 3ecause &e produce it ourselves &e no& the characteristic features of its course and the
details of ho& the process taes place"
4." 7uided =y %ontent Of 2hought
*hat I observe in stud!ing a thought process is not &hich process in m! brain connects the concept
lightning &ith the concept thunder$ but m! reason for bringing these t&o concepts into a specific
relationship" Introspection sho&s that in lining thought &ith thought I am guided b! the content of
m! thoughts2 I am not guided b! an! ph!sical processes in m! brain" 5an! people toda! find it
difficult to grasp the concept of pure thining"
4.& I 'roduce 8y %ontent Of 2hought
In thought I observe something that I produce" I give to m! e,istence the definite$ self6determined
content of m! thought6activit!" <rom here I can go on to as &hether other things e,ist in the same or
in some other &a!"
4.) #emain !ithin #ealm Of 2hought
*hen I observe m! o&n thought &hat hovers in the bacground is nothing but thought" I can remain
&ithin the realm of thought"
4.- %reate =efore 4no3ing
*hat is impossible &ith #ature 666creation before no&ing666 &e achieve &ith thining" *e must
resolutel! thin straight ahead and onl! after&ard b! introspective anal!sis gain no&ledge of &hat &e
have done" *e ourselves first create the ob?ect that &e are to observe"
4.10 Self6Su//orting 2hought
'hought is self6supporting$ not dependent on an!thing else" In thought &e have the principle of self6
subsistence" 'hought can be grasped b! thought itself"
4.11 Im/artial %onsideration Of 2hin5ing
*e must first consider thining in an impartial &a!$ &ithout reference to either a thining sub?ect or
conceived ob?ect" 3efore an!thing else can be understood$ thought must be understood"
4.12 A//lication Of 2hought
'hought is a fact$ and it is meaningless to spea of the correctness or falsehood of a fact" At most I
can have doubts about &hether thought is correctl! applied"
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CHAPTER V
THE WORLD AS PERCEPT
principles of perception
60 #eactive 2hin5ing
*hen &e see a tree$ our thining reacts to our observation2 a conceptual element comes to the ob?ect$
and &e consider the ob?ect and the conceptual counterpart as belonging together" 0oncepts are added
to observation"
.1 %once/tual Search
I first search for the concept that fits m! observation" 4omeone &ho does not reflect further$ observes$
and is content to leave it at that" I can never gain the concept b! mere observation$ no matter ho&
man! cases I ma! observe"
.2 %once/tual #eference
*hen I as thining sub?ect$ refer a concept to an ob?ect$ &e must not regard this reference as
something purel! sub?ective" It is not the sub?ect that maes the reference$ but thining"
.3 %once/tual #elationshi/
'hining is able to dra& threads from one element of observation to another" It connects specific
concepts &ith these elements and in this &a! brings them into a relationship &ith each other"
.4 %orrection Of 8y 'icture Of !orld
%ver! broadening of the circle of m! perceptions compels me to correct the picture I have of the &orld"
*e see this in ever!da! life$ as &ell as in the intellectual development of humanind"
. 8athematical And 9ualitative 'erce/t6'icture
I should lie to call the dependence of m! perception6picture on m! place of observation$
AmathematicalA$ and its dependence on m! organiBation$ A+ualitative"A 'he first determines the
proportions of siBe and mutual distances of m! perceptions$ the second their +ualit!"
." Su,$ective 'erce/t6'icture
'he recognition of the sub?ective character of our perceptions can lead to doubt &hether an!thing
ob?ective underlies them" <rom this point of vie&$ nothing is left of the perception &hen &e tae a&a!
the act of perceiving"
.& 8ental 'icture@ After6effect Of O,servation
*hen the tree disappears from m! field of vision$ an after6effect remains in m! consciousness@ a
picture of the tree" 'his element I call m! mental picture$ m! representation of the tree"
.) 8ental 'icture@ %aused =y *n5no3n 2hing6In6Itself
'he 8antian vie& limits our no&ledge of the &orld to our mental pictures$ not because it is convinced
that nothing can e,ist be!ond these mental pictures$ but rather it believes us to be so organiBed that
&e can onl! e,perience the change in our o&n 4elf$ not the thing6in6itself that causes this change"
.- 8ental 'icture@ !hat 8y OrganiAation 2ransmits
Ph!sics$ Ph!siolog!$ and Ps!cholog! seem to teach that our organiBation is necessar! for our
perceptions$ and that$ conse+uentl!$ &e can no& nothing e,cept &hat our organiBation transmits to
us from the things"
.10 'erceived !orld Is A 'ro$ection Of Soul 9ualities
All of the +ualities that &e perceive in the &orld are the product of the soul and transferred to the
e,ternal &orld"
.11 (.ternal 'erce/tion Is 8ental 'icture
I must consider the table$ 7&hich I used to believe had an effect on me and produced a mental
picture of itself in me7 as being itself a mental picture" If ever!thing is a mental picture then the!
could have no effect on each other"
.12 O,$ective (.istence Of O3n Organism
1e &ould$ to be consistent$ have to regard his o&n organism also as a comple, of mental pictures" 3ut
this removes the possibilit! of regarding the content of the perceptual &orld as a product of the mind=s
organiBation" Onl! m! real e!e could have the mental pictures AsunA and AearthA"
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CHAPTER VI
OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
principles of conception
".0 Finding 2he %once/t 2hat %orres/onds 2o 2he !orld
<or an!one &ith the vie& that the &hole perceived &orld is onl! a picture called up in m! mind and is
actuall! the effect of unno&n things acting on m! soul$ of course the real +uestion of no&ledge &ill
not be concerned &ith the representations that onl! e,ist in m! mind$ but &ith the things that are
independent of us and lie be!ond the reach of our consciousness" 1e ass@ 1o& much can &e learn
about things indirectl!$ seeing that &e cannot observe them directl!9
".1 2he A3a5ened State Of 2hin5ing
If the things of our e,perience &ere Amental picturesA$ then our ever!da! life &ould be lie a dream$
and the discover! of the true state of affairs &ould be lie &aing"
".2 2hought 2hat A//lies 2o 2he !orld
If &e &ant to mae an assertion about an!thing it re+uires the help of thought" If m! thought does not
appl! to the &orld$ then this result is false"
".3 !orld %onnects !ith %orres/onding %once/t
'he &orld produces thining in the heads of people &ith the same necessit! as it produces the blossom
on a plant9 4et the plant before !ourself" It connects itself$ in !our mind$ &ith a definite concept" *h!
should this concept belong an! less to the &hole plant than leaf and blossom9
".4 'rocess Of 7ro3th
'he picture &hich presents itself to me at an! one moment is onl! a chance cross6section of an ob?ect
&hich is in a continual process of gro&th"
". Indivisi,le (.istence of %once/t !ith 'erce/t
It is possible for a mind to receive the concept at the same time as$ and united &ith$ the perception" It
&ould never occur to such a mind that the concept did not belong to the thing" It &ould have to
ascribe to the concept an e,istence indivisibl! bound up &ith the thing"
"." Isolate And 7ras/ Single %once/ts
'he human being is a limited being" Onl! a limited part of the total universe that can be given us at
an! one time" It is necessar! to isolate certain sections of the &orld and to consider them b!
themselves" Our understanding can grasp onl! single concepts out of a connected conceptual s!stem"
".& Self 1efinition 2hrough 2hin5ing
4elf6perception must be distinguished from self6determination b! means of thought" 5! self6perception
confines me &ithin certain limits$ but m! thining is not concerned &ith these limits" I am the bearer
of an activit! &hich$ from a higher sphere$ determines m! limited e,istence"
".) In 2hin5ing !e Are 2he All One =eing
In thining$ the concept unites our particular individualit! &ith the &hole of the cosmos" In so far as
&e sense and feel :and also perceive;$ &e are single beings2 in so far as &e thin$ &e are the all6one
being that pervades ever!thing"
".- !ill Is O,$ectified In Action And 4no3n =y 2hin5ing
'he actions of our bod! become no&n to us onl! through self6observation$ and that$ as such$ the! are
in no &a! superior to other percepts" If &e &ant to no& their real nature$ &e can do so onl! b!
means of thought$ b! fitting them into the ideal s!stem of our concepts and ideas"
".10 %orres/onding Intuition
An e,ternal ob?ect &hich &e observe remains unintelligible until the corresponding intuition arises
&ithin us &hich adds to the realit! &hat is lacing in the percept" *hat appears to us in observation as
separate parts becomes combined$ bit b! bit$ through the coherent$ unified &orld of our intuitions" 3!
thining &e fit together again into one piece all that &e have taen apart through perceiving"
".11 %once/tual %onnections Of 'erce/ts
0oncepts lins all our percepts to each another and sho&s them to us in their mutual relationship"
".12 %once/tual Intuition %orres/onds 2o O,$ective 'erce/t
'he content of a percept is immediatel! given and is completel! contained in &hat is given" 'he
+uestion concerning the A&hatA of a percept can onl! refer to the conceptual intuition that corresponds
to the percept"
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CHAPTER VII
HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
principles of mental picturing
&.0 %orres/onding %once/t #elates Self 2o 2he !orld
I am reall! identical &ith the ob?ects2 not$ ho&ever$ AIA in so far as I am a perception of m!self as
sub?ect$ but AIA in so far as I am a part of the universal &orld process" I can discover the common
element in both :percept and self; $ so far as the! are complementar! aspects of the &orld$ onl!
through thought &hich b! means of concepts relates the one to the other"
&.1 Sense 'erce/tion Of 8otion
Cust as &e can sa! that the e!e perceives a mechanical process of motion in its surroundings as light$
so &e can affirm that ever! change in an ob?ect$ determined b! natural la&$ is perceived b! us as a
process of motion"
&.2 8ental 'icture@ %once/tual Intuition #elated 2o A 'erce/t
'he moment a percept appears in m! field of observation$ thining also becomes active through me"
An element of m! thought s!stem$ a definite intuition$ a concept$ connects itself &ith the percept"
&.3 8ental 'icture@ IndividualiAed %once/t
'he full realit! of a thing is given to us in the moment of observation through the fitting together of
concept and percept" 3! means of a percept$ the concept ac+uires an individualiBed form$ a
relationship to this particular perception"
&.4 8ental 'icture@ Ac+uired (./erience
'he sum of those things about &hich I can form mental pictures ma! be called m! total e,perience"
&. 8ental 'icture@ Su,$ective #e/resentation Of #eality
>ealit! presents itself to us as the union of percept and concept2 and the sub?ective representation of
this realit! presents itself to us as mental picture"
&." #efer 'erce/ts 2o Feelings
*e are not satisfied merel! to refer the percept$ b! means of thining$ to the concept$ but &e relate
them also to our particular sub?ectivit!$ our individual %go" 'he e,pression of this individual
relationship is feeling$ &hich manifests itself as pleasure or displeasure"
&.& 23o6Fold ;ature@ 2hin5ing And Feeling
'hining is the element through &hich &e tae part in the universal cosmic process2 feeling is that
through &hich &e can &ithdra& ourselves into the narro& confines of our o&n being"
&.) 2rue Individuality
A true individualit! &ill be those &ho reach up &ith their feelings to the farthest possible e,tent into
the region of the ideal"
&.- 'oint Of Vie3
Ideas give to our conceptual life an individual stamp" %ach one of us has his special standpoint from
&hich he loos out on the &orld" 1e has his o&n special &a! of forming general concepts"
&.10 Intensity Of Feelings
%ach of us combines special feelings$ and these in the most var!ing degrees of intensit!$ &ith our
perceptions"
&.11 (ducation Of Feelings
8no&ledge of things &ill go hand in hand &ith the development and education of the life of feeling"
&.12 Living %once/ts
<eeling is the means &hereb!$ in the first instance$ concepts gain concrete life"
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CHAPTER VIII
ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO COGNITION
principles of cognition
).0 %ognitive *nity
It is due$ as &e have seen$ to our organiBation that the full$ complete realit!$ including our o&n selves
as sub?ects$ appears at first as a dualit!" 0ognition overcomes this dualit! b! fusing the t&o elements
of realit!$ the percept and the concept gained b! thining$ into the complete thing"
).1 :y/othetical !orld 'rinci/le and (./erience
It is +uite natural that a dualistic thiner should be unable to find the connection bet&een the &orld
principle &hich he h!potheticall! assumes and the things given in e,perience"
).2 (go6hood<s 9uestions and Ans3ers
It is not the &orld &hich sets us the +uestions$ but &e ourselves" Onl! &hen the %go6hood has taen
the t&o elements of realit! &hich are indivisibl! united in the &orld and has combined them also for
itself$ is cognitive satisfaction attained"
).3 #econcile Familiar 'erce/ts and %once/ts
Our cognition is concerned &ith +uestions &hich arise for us through the fact that a sphere of
percepts$ conditioned b! place$ time$ and our sub?ective organiBation$ is confronted b! a sphere of
concepts pointing to the totalit! of the universe" 5! tas consists in reconciling these t&o spheres$
&ith both of &hich I am &ell ac+uainted"
).4 %once/tual #e/resentation Of O,$ective #eality
*e can obtain onl! conceptual representatives of the ob?ectivel! real"
). #eal 'rinci/les in addition to Ideal 'rinci/les
'he ideal principles &hich thining discovers seem too air! for the dualist$ and he sees$ in addition$
real principles &ith &hich to support them"
)." #eal (vidence of Senses in addition to Ideal (vidence
'he naDve person demands the real evidence of his senses in addition to the ideal evidence of his
thining"
).& Vanishing 'erce/tions and Ideal (ntities
Its realities arise and perish$ &hile &hat it regards as unreal$ in contrast &ith the real$ persists" 1ence
naDve realism is compelled to acno&ledge$ in addition to percepts$ the e,istence of something ideal" It
must admit entities &hich cannot be perceived b! the senses"
).) 'erce/ti,le #eality and Im/erce/ti,le #eality
5etaph!sical realism constructs$ in addition to the perceptible realit!$ an imperceptible realit! &hich it
conceives on the analog! of the perceptible one"
).- Sum of 'erce/tions and La3s of ;ature
If &e re?ect the untenable part of metaph!sical realism$ the &orld presents itself to us as the sum of
percepts and their conceptual :ideal; relationships" 5onism combines one6sided realism &ith idealism
into a higher unit!"
).10 Se/aration and then #eunion of >IB into !orld %ontinuity
3ridging over the antithesis can tae place onl! in the +uite specific &a! that is characteristic of the
particular human sub?ect" As soon as the I$ &hich is separated from the &orld in the act of perceiving$
fits itself bac into the &orld continuum through thoughtful contemplation$ all further +uestioning
ceases$ having been but a conse+uence of the separation"
).11 Sum of (ffects and *nderlying %auses
'his is an inference from a sum of effects to the character of the underl!ing causes" *e believe that
&e can understand the situation &ell enough from a sufficientl! large number of instances to no&
ho& the inferred causes &ill behave in other instances" 4uch an inference is called an inductive
inference"
).12 Su,$ective and O,$ective !orld %ontinuity
'hrough considerations of the process of cognition he is convinced of the e,istence of an ob?ectivel!
real &orld continuum$ over and above the Asub?ectiveA &orld continuum &hich is cogniBable through
percepts and concepts" 'he nature of this realit! he thins he can determine b! inductive inferences
from his percepts"
top
CHAPTER IX
THE FACTORS OF LIFE
ethics of personalit!
-.0 %ognitive 'ersonality
If &e call the establishment of such a thought connection an Aact of cognitionA$ and the resulting
condition of our self Ano&ledgeA$ then$ assuming the above supposition to be true$ &e should have to
consider ourselves as beings &ho merel! cogniBe or no&"
-.1 Feeling 'ersonality
'he #aDve >ealist holds that the personalit! actuall! lives more genuinel! in the life of feeling than in
the purel! ideal element of no&ledge"
-.2 'erce/tion of Feeling
'o begin &ith$ feeling is e,actl! the same$ on the sub?ective side$ as the perception is on the ob?ective
side"
-.3 Incom/lete Feeling
<eeling is an incomplete realit!$ &hich$ in the form in &hich it first appears to us$ does not !et contain
its second factor$ the concept or idea"
-.4 Feeling Of (.istence
'he concept of self emerges from &ithin the dim feeling of our o&n e,istence"
-. %ultivation Of Feeling
'he cultivation of the life of feeling appears more important than an!thing else"
-." Feeling 4no3ledge
Attempts to mae feeling$ rather than no&ing$ the instrument of no&ledge"
-.& 'hiloso/her Of Feeling
5aes a universal principle out of something that has significance onl! &ithin one=s o&n personalit!"
-.) Feeling 8ysticism
*ants to raise feeling$ &hich is individual$ into a universal principle"
-.- !illing 'ersonality
'he individual relation of our self to &hat is ob?ective"
-.10 'hiloso/hy Of !ill
'he &ill becomes the &orld6principle of realit!"
-.11 #eal (./erience Of Feeling and !illing
3esides the ideal principle &hich is accessible to no&ledge$ there is said to be a real principle &hich
cannot be apprehended b! thining but can !et be e,perienced in feeling and &illing"
-.12 *niversal !ill
'he &ill as a universal &orld6process"
top
CHAPTER X
THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
ethics of individualit!
10.0 Intuitive Action
3! an act of thining I lin up m! individual facult! :m! &ill; &ith the universal &orld6process" 'he
conceptual content of an act of &ill is not deduced from the action" It is got b! intuition"
10.1 Intuitive Action
If the conceptual intuition :ideal content; of m! act of &ill occurs before the corresponding percept
:the action;$ then the content of &hat I do is determined b! m! ideas" 'he conceptual intuition of an
act of &ill is determined onl! b! the conceptual s!stem itself" In other &ords$ the determining factors
for m! &ill are to be found$ not in the perceptual$ but onl! in the conceptual &orld"
10.2 8otive Of !ill
'he conceptual factor$ or motive$ is the momentar! determining cause of an act of &ill" 'he motive of
can be onl! a pure concept$ or a concept &ith a definite relation to perception$ i"e"$ a mental picture"
10.3 %haracterological 1is/osition
'he characterological disposition is formed b! the more or less permanent content of our sub?ective
life$ b! the content of mental pictures and feelings" It is determined especiall! b! m! life of feeling"
10.4 Levels Of 8orality
'he levels of driving force are@ instinct$ feelings$ thining and forming mental pictures$ and conceptual
thining" 'he levels of motive are egoism$ moral authorit!$ moral insight$ and conceptual intuition"
10. 8oral Intuition
Among the levels of characterological disposition$ &e have singled out as the highest the one that
&ors as pure thining or practical reason" Among the motives$ &e have singled out conceptual
intuition as the highest" On closer inspection it &ill at once be seen that at this level of moralit! driving
force and motive coincide"
10." 8oral 8otive
1o& can an action be individuall! made to fit the special case and the special situation$ and !et at the
same time be determined b! intuition in a purel! ideal &a!9 'his ob?ection rests upon a confusion of
the moral motive &ith the perceptible content of an action" Of course$ m! AIA taes notice of these
perceptual contents$ but it does not allo& itself to be determined b! them"
10.& (thical Individualism
'he sum of ideas &hich are effective in us$ the concrete content of our intuitions$ constitutes &hat is
individual in each of us" 'o let this content e,press itself in life is both the highest moral driving force
and the highest motive a man can have" *e ma! call this point of vie& ethical individualism"
10.) Love For 2he O,$ective
*hile I am performing the action I am influenced b! a moral ma,im in so far as it can live in me
intuitivel!2 it is bound up &ith m! love for the ob?ective that I &ant to realiBe through m! action" I do
not &or out mentall! &hether m! action is good or bad2 I carr! it out because I love it"
10.- (./ression Of Ideals In Individual !ay
'he animal instinct &hich drives a man to a criminal act does not belong to &hat is individual in him"
'he fact that something ideal e,presses itself in its o&n uni+ue &a! through these instincts$ passions$
and feelings$ constitutes m! individualit!"
10.10 :armony Of Intentions
If &e both dra& our intuitions reall! from the &orld of ideas$ and do not obe! mere e,ternal impulses
:ph!sical or moral;$ then &e can not but meet one another in striving for the same aims$ in having the
same intentions"
10.11 %once/t of the Free :uman =eing
'he intellectual life overcomes his t&ofold nature b! means of no&ledge$ the moral life succeeds
through the actual realiBation of the free spirit"
10.12 8oral !orld Order
5an does not e,ist in order to found a moral order of the &orld" 'he social order arises so that it ma!
react favorabl! upon the individual"
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CHAPTER XI
MONISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
ethics of moral authorit!
11.0 Authoritative 8oral 'rinci/les
'he naDve man allo&s his basis for action to be dictated to him as commandments b! an! man
considered &iser or more po&erful than himself$ or acno&ledged for some other reason to be a po&er
over him" In this &a! arise$ as moral principles$ the authorit! of famil!$ state$ societ!$ church and Eod"
11.1 8echanical ;ecessity
If the h!potheticall! assumed entit! is conceived as in itself unthining$ acting according to purel!
mechanical la&s$ as materialism &ould have it$ then it must also produce out of itself$ b! purel!
mechanical necessit!$ the human individual &ith all his characteristic features" I believe m!self free2
but in fact all m! actions are nothing but the result of the material processes &hich underlie m!
ph!sical and mental organiBation"
11.2 S/iritual Force
Another possibilit! is that a man ma! picture the e,tra6human Absolute that lies behind the &orld of
appearances as a spiritual being" In this case he &ill also see the impulse for his actions in a
corresponding spiritual force" 'o this ind of dualist the moral la&s appear to be dictated b! the
Absolute$ and all that man has to do is to use his intelligence to find out the decisions of the absolute
being and then carr! them out"
11.3 Inferring !ithout (./eriencing 2he 2rue #eality
As in materialism$ so also in one6sided spiritualism$ in fact in an! ind of metaph!sical realism
inferring but not e,periencing something e,tra6human as the true realit!$ freedom is out of the
+uestion"
11.4 Im/osed 'rinci/les
5etaph!sical as &ell as naDve realism$ consistentl! follo&ed out$ must den! freedom for one and the
same reason@ the! both see man as doing no more than putting into effect$ or carr!ing out$ principles
forced :imposed; upon him b! necessit!"
11. Free !hen Follo3 O3n 8oral Intuition
*hoever is incapable of producing moral ideas through intuition must accept them from others" 'he
idea can manifest itself onl! in human individuals" In so far as man obe!s the impulses coming from
this side he is free"
11." Free !hen O,ey Self
If an!one asserts that the action of a fello& man is done unfreel!$ then he must identif! the thing or
the person or the institution &ithin the perceptible &orld$ that has caused the person to act"
11.& #ealiAation Of 2he Free S/irit !ithin
According to the monistic vie&$ then$ man=s action is partl! unfree$ partl! free" 1e finds himself to be
unfree in the &orld of percepts$ and he realiBes &ithin himself the free spirit"
11.) 8oral La3s %onceived =y Individuals
'he moral la&s &hich the metaph!sician &ho &ors b! mere inference must regard as issuing from a
higher po&er$ are$ for the adherent of monism$ thoughts of men"
11.- Freedom Stage Of 1evelo/ment
5onism sees in man a developing being$ and ass &hether$ in the course of this development$ the
stage of the free spirit can be reached"
11.10 1iscover Self
5onism no&s that #ature does not send man forth from her arms read! made as a free spirit$ but
that she leads him up to a certain stage$ from &hich he continues to develop still as an unfree being$
until he comes to the point &here he finds his o&n self"
11.11 Free 8oral !orld %once/tion
5onism frees the trul! moral &orld conception both from the mundane fetters of naDve moral ma,ims
and from the transcendental moral ma,ims of the speculative metaph!sician"
11.12 :umanist 8orality
5oralit! is for the monist a specificall! human +ualit!$ and freedom the human &a! of being moral"
top
CHAPTER XII
WORLD-PURPOSE AND LIFE-PURPOSE
(THE DESTINY OF MAN)
ethics of purposefulness
12.0 %once/t Of 'ur/ose
Overcoming of the concept of purpose in spheres &here it does not belong"
12.1 'erce/t %ause 'recedes 'erce/t (ffect
'he percept of the cause precedes the percept of the effect"
12.2 %once/tual Factor Of (ffect
If the effect is to have a real influence upon the cause$ it can do so onl! b! means of the conceptual
factor"
12.3 #eal Influence Of %once/t CActionD
A perceptible influence of a concept upon something else is to be observed onl! in human actions"
12.4 Imagined 'ur/ose In ;ature
'he concept of purpose$ valid for sub?ective actions$ is ver! convenient for inventing such imaginar!
connections" 'he naive mind no&s ho& it produces events itself$ and conse+uentl! concludes that
#ature &ill do it in the same &a!"
12. La3s Of ;ature
5onism loos for la&s of nature$ but not for purposes of nature"
12." 'ur/oses Of Life
#othing is purposeful e,cept &hat the human being has first made so$ for purposefulness arises onl!
through the realiBation of an idea"
12.& :uman 1estiny
5! mission in the &orld is not predetermined$ but is at ever! moment the one I choose for m!self"
12.) Only 1oers #ealiAe 'ur/oseful Ideas
Ideas are realiBed purposefull! onl! b! human beings" 0onse+uentl! it is not permissible to spea of
the embodiment of ideas b! histor!"
12.- Formative 'rinci/le
'he formative principle of the totalit! of nature unfolds and organiBes itself"
12.10 2eleology
'he theor! of purpose maintains that there is a high degree of purpose and plan unmistaabl! present
in the formations and developments of nature"
12.11 %oherence !ithin !hole
'he s!stematic coherence of the parts of a perceptual &hole is simpl! the ideal coherence of the parts
of an ideal &hole contained in this perceptual &hole"
12.12 'ur/oses Of A,solute %osmic =eing
*herever there is a s!stematic lining of cause and effect for our perception$ the dualist ma! assume
that &e see onl! the carbon cop! of a connection in &hich the absolute cosmic 3eing has realiBed its
purposes"
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CHAPTER XIII
MORAL IMAGINATION
(DARWINISM AND MORALITY)
ethics of moral ideas
13.0 Selection Of Idea 2o #ealiAe In Action
A free spirit acts according to his impulses$ that is$ according to intuitions selected from the totalit! of
his &orld of ideas b! thining" <or an unfree spirit$ the reason &h! he singles out a particular intuition
from his &orld of ideas in order to mae it the basis of an action$ lies in the &orld of percepts given to
him$ that is$ in his past e,periences"
13.1 %oncrete 8ental 'icture
*henever the impulse for an action is present in a general conceptual form :for e,ample$ 'hou shalt
do good to th! fello& menF 'hou shalt live so that thou best promotest th! &elfareF; then for each
particular case the concrete mental picture of the action must first be found"
13.2 8oral Imagination
'he human being produces concrete mental pictures from the sum of his ideas chiefl! b! means of the
imagination" 'herefore &hat the free spirit needs in order to realiBe his ideas$ in order to be effective$
is moral imagination"
13.3 8oral 2echni+ue
5oral action$ in addition to the facult! of having moral ideas :moral intuition; and moral imagination$ is
the abilit! to transform the &orld of percepts &ithout violating the natural la&s b! &hich these are
connected" 'his abilit! is moral techni+ue" It can be learnt in the same sense in &hich an! ind of
no&ledge can be learnt"
13.4 :istory Of 8oral Ideas
5oral imagination can become ob?ects of no&ledge onl! after the! have been produced b! the
individual" *e therefore deal &ith them as &ith a natural histor! of moral ideas"
13. ;ormative 8oral La3s
4ome people have &anted to maintain the standard6setting :normative; character of moral la&s" As a
moral being$ I am an individual and have la&s of m! ver! o&n"
13." 2raditional 8oral 1octrines
3ut can &e not then mae the old a measure for the ne&9 Is not ever! man compelled to measure the
products of his moral imagination b! the standard of traditional moral doctrines9
13.& Outcome Of (volution Is An (thical Individualist
%thical Individualism$ far from being in opposition to the theor! of evolution$ is a direct conse+uence of
it"
13.) #e$ection Of Su/ernatural Influence
5onism re?ects$ in moralit! as in science$ ever! transcendent :metaph!sical; influence" 5oral
processes are natural products lie ever!thing else that e,ists$ and their causes must be looed for in
nature$ i"e"$ in man$ because man is the bearer of moralit!"
13.- %haracteriAation Of Action
'he characteriBing of an action$ &hether it is a free one$ he must leave to the immediate observation
of the action"
13.10 Action Is Image Of An Ideal Intuition
If a human being finds that an action is the image of such an ideal intuition$ then he feels it to be free"
In this characteristic of an action lies its freedom"
13.11 Freedom Is 2o 1etermine O3n 8otives
'o be free means to be able of one=s o&n accord to determine b! moral imagination those mental
pictures :motives; &hich underlie the action" A free being is one &ho can &ant &hat he himself
considers right"
13.12 Su,mission 2o Others
#ot until the! &ould enslave m! spirit$ drive m! motives out of m! head$ and put their o&n motives in
the place of mine$ do the! reall! aim at maing me unfree"
top
CHAPTER XIV
THE VALUE OF LIFE
(OPTIMISM AND PESSIMISM)
ethics of life=s value
14.0 7ood !orld Or 8isera,le Life
One vie& sa!s that this &orld is the best that could conceivabl! e,ist$ and that to live and to act in it is
a blessing of untold value" 'he other vie& maintains that life is full of miser! and &ant2 ever!&here
pain out&eighs pleasure$ sorro& out&eighs ?o!"
14.1 =est 'ossi,le !orld Ccoo/erative /artici/ationD
'he &orld is the best of all possible &orlds" A better &orld is impossible for Eod is good and &ise"
<rom this optimistic standpoint$ then$ life is &orth living" It must stimulate us to co6operative
participation"
14.2 'ain Of Striving Cuniversal idlenessD
%ternal striving$ ceaseless craving for satisfaction &hich is ever be!ond reach$ this is the fundamental
characteristic of all active &ill" <or no sooner is one goal attained$ than a fresh need springs up$ and so
on" 4chopenhauer=s pessimism leads to complete inactivit!2 his moral aim is universal idleness"
14.3 'ain Out3eighs 'leasure Cunselfish serviceD
'he human being has to permeate his &hole being &ith the recognition that the pursuit of individual
satisfaction :egoism; is a foll!$ and that he ought to be guided solel! b! the tas of dedicating himself
to the progress of the &orld" 1artmann=s pessimism leads us to activit! devoted to a sublime tas"
14.4 'leasure Of Striving Cfuture goalD
4triving :desiring; in itself gives pleasure" *ho does not no& the en?o!ment given b! the hope of a
remote but intensel! desired goal9
14. 9uantity Of 'leasure Crational estimation of feelingD
*hat is the right method for comparing the sum of pleasure to pain9 %duard von 1artmann believes
that it is reason that holds the scales"
14." 9uality Of 'leasure Ccritical e.amination of feelingD
If &e strie out feelings from the pleasure side of the balance on the ground that the! are attached to
ob?ects &hich turn out to have been illusor!$ &e mae the value of life dependent not on the +uantit!
but on the +ualit! of pleasure$ and this$ in turn$ on the value of the ob?ects &hich cause the pleasure"
14.& 'ursuit Of 'leasure Cho/elessness of egotismD
If the +uantit! of pain in a person=s life became at an! time so great that no hope of future pleasure
could help him to get over the pain$ then the banruptc! of life=s business &ould inevitabl! follo&"
14.) Value Of 'leasure Csatisfaction of needsD
'he magnitude of pleasure is related to the degree of m! need" If I am hungr! enough for t&o pieces
of bread and can onl! get one$ the pleasure I derive from it had onl! half the value it &ould have had
if the eating of it has satisfied m! hunger"
14.- !ill For 'leasure Cintensity of desireD
'he +uestion is not at all &hether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain$ but &hether the &ill is
strong enough to overcome the pain"
14.10 8agnitude Of 'leasure CamusementD
If it is onl! a +uestion &hether$ after the da!=s &or$ I am to amuse m!self b! a game or b! light
conversation$ and if I am totall! indifferent to &hat I do as long as it serves the purpose$ then I simpl!
as m!self@ *hat gives me the greatest surplus of pleasure9
14.11 :ighest 'leasure CrealiAation of moral idealsD
5oral ideals spring from the moral imagination of man" 'he! are his intuitions$ the driving forces &hich
his spirit harnesses2 he &ants them$ because their realiBation is his highest pleasure"
14.12 Eoy Of Achievement Cmeasure achievement against aimsD
1e acts as he &ants to act$ that is$ in accordance &ith the standard of his ethical intuitions2 and he
finds in the achievement of &hat he &ants the true en?o!ment of life" 1e determines the value of life
b! measuring achievements against aims"
top
CHAPTER XV
THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENUS
ethics of free individualit!
1.0 7rou/ 8em,er
A person bears the general characteristics of the groups to &hich he belongs"
1.1 7rou/ %haracteristics
If &e as &h! some particular thing about a person is lie this or lie that$ &e are referred bac from
the individual to the genus"
1.2 7eneric 8edium For Individual (./ression
A man develops +ualities and activities of his o&n$ and the basis for these &e can see onl! in the man
himself" *hat is generic in him serves onl! as a medium in &hich to e,press his o&n individual being"
1.3 Individual %a/acities And Inclinations
A man=s activit! in life is governed b! his individual capacities and inclinations$ &hereas a &oman=s is
supposed to be determined solel! b! the mere fact that she is a &oman"
1.4 Individual Social 1ecision
*hat a &oman$ &ithin her natural limitations$ &ants to become had better be left to the &oman
herself to decide"
1. *ni+ue %haracteristics
Getermining the individual according to the la&s of his genus ceases &here the sphere of freedom :in
thining and acting; begins"
1." Intuitive %once/tual %ontent
'he conceptual content &hich man has to connect &ith the percept b! an act of thining in order to
have the full realit! cannot be fi,ed once and for all and be+ueathed read!6made to manind" 'he
individual must get his concepts through his o&n intuition"
1.& Individual %oncrete Aims
It is not possible to determine from the general characteristics of man &hat concrete aims the
individual ma! choose to set himself"
1.) Individual Vie3s And Actions
And ever! ind of stud! that deals &ith abstract thoughts and generic concepts is but a preparation for
the no&ledge &e get &hen a human individualit! tells us his &a! of vie&ing the &orld$ and for the
no&ledge &e get from the content of his acts of &ill"
1.- (manci/ation Of 4no3ing
If &e are to understand a free individualit! &e must tae over into our o&n spirit those concepts b!
&hich he determines himself$ in their pure form :&ithout mi,ing our o&n conceptual content &ith
them;"
1.10 (manci/ation Of =eing
Onl! to the e,tent that a man has emancipated himself in this &a! from all that is generic$ does he
count as a free spirit &ithin a human communit!"
1.11 Intuitive %onduct
Onl! that part of his conduct that springs from his intuitions can have ethical value in the true sense"
1.12 8oral Life Of :umanity
'he moral life of humanit! is the sum6total of the products of the moral imagination of free human
individuals"
CHAPTER
1
THE GOAL OF
KNOWLEDGE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom y R!dolf "#ei$er
Hoer$le #r%$sl%#io$ &'(')*
re+ised ,-.,/.0,'0
I
THE GOAL OF KNOWLEDGE
Journal
What is this chapter about? Principles of individualistic life and truth.
What is its value? These principles are for those who strive to be free individuals, rather than
conform to norms. They have value when they are understood and applied to life.
The pursuit of individualistic life is driving dramatic cultural changes around the world. The leaders of
traditional institutions struggle to maintain their authority with the increasing recognition that each
individual has value and something worthy to offer.
Truth, also, is now a matter for the individual. We no longer seek the wise one who will bestow
wisdom upon us. Conviction and empowerment only comes with the truth that appears within each
one.
The pursuit of individualistic life and truth is the last stage of human development. Nature develops
the automatic behavior of natural urges and instincts; society develops lawabiding obedient
behavior; but these transitory stages can be overcome by a free individual.
!udolf "teiner, while having been born a clairvoyant, was not born a free individualist. #e had to
strive toward freedom like everybody else. The pious e$ercises and ascetic practices of past cultures
are no longer suitable for today in the age of science. "teiner%s training was in mathematics, science,
and philosophy leading to a doctorate in philosophy. Trained as a scientist and philosopher with a love
of truth he found a new path to freedom suited to our age and then described his inner e$periences
in The Philosophy Of Freedom. "teiner%s path is clarity of mind, not vague mysticism, through the
practice of pure thinking and living according to the principles of freedom.
The study of mathematics and philosophy are e$amples of the practice of thinking that re&uires
entering the realm of pure thought. 'mmersing yourself in the study of The Philosophy Of Freedom is
a training in pure thinking, so e$pect the mental challenge faced by a university science or philosophy
student. While studying you can decide to read attentively and struggle to understand, (udge, and
apply the material, or you can let your attention wander. )ou may half get some points, awaken again
with effort, then lapse into partial focus. *t each moment you are deciding whether to think or not.
The Philosophy Of Freedom is not a guide to imitate !udolf "teiner, but rather a guide to find your
own self. +art ' of the book is about the ,N-W.!, beginning with the principles of individuality and
freedom, then e$amining the processes of cognition with chapter discussions on/ knowledge,
thinking, perception, conception, mental picturing and cognition. +art '' opens out into the e$pression
of freedom as the ,N-W'N0 1-.!, living life as an ethical individualist.
"tudy Topics
principles of individualism
+rinciples -f 'ndividualistic Truth
1.0 Culture Of Individuality
Today, all human interests tend to center in the culture of human individuality.
+rinciples -f 'ndividualistic 2ife
1. Free Oneself From Authority
*n energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of authority.
2. Individual alidation
Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots of individuality. .verything which
hinders the individual in the full development of his powers is thrust aside.
!. "eaderless #trivin$
The saying 3.ach one of us must choose his hero in whose footsteps he toils up to -lympus4
no longer holds for us.
%. Individual #election Of Ideals
We allow no ideals to be forced upon us.
&. Individual Worthiness
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.
'. (e)ection Of Conformity
We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to which we must all strive to
conform.
*. +erfection Of ,ach Individual
We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the uni&ue perfection of each single
individual.
-. .ni/ue Contribution
We do not want to do what anyone else can do e&ually well. No, our contribution to the
development of the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the
uni&ueness of our nature, we alone can offer.
0. Creative ,1pression
Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. .ach of them
asserts his right to e$press, in the creations of his art, what is uni&ue in him.
10. 2ynamic "an$ua$e
There are dramatists who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction which
grammar demands.
11. #trivin$ 3o4ards Freedom
567 No better e$pression for these phenomena can be found than this, that they result from
the individual8s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch.
12. Independence
We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate
it only on condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
1.1 Conviction Of Inner 3ruth
Truth will be sought in our age only in the depths of human nature. Conviction attaches only to what
appears as truth to each of us in our own hearts.
1.2 3ruth ,mpo4ers
Truth alone can give us confidence in developing our powers. #e who is tortured by doubts finds his
powers lamed.
1.! Comprehensible 3ruth
We no longer want to believe; we want to know. 9elief demands the acceptance of truths which we
do not wholly comprehend.
1.% 5no4led$e #tartin$ From Individual ,1perience
"tarting from the facts nearest at hand, our own immediate e$periences, we ascend to a knowledge
of the whole universe.
1 .& Individual 2rive 3o 5no4
Nowadays there is no attempt to compel anyone to understand. We claim no agreement with anyone
whom a distinct individual need does not drive to a certain view.
1 .' #trive 3o "ive Accordin$ 3o Individualistic +rinciples
:any of my contemporaries strive to order their lives in the direction of the principles ' have
indicated. To them ' would dedicate this book.
1 .* ,1ercise +ure 3hin6in$
The Western world no longer demands pious e$ercises and ascetic practices as a preparation for
science, but it does re&uire a sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate
impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure thought.
1 .- 5no4led$e Is A #elf78overnin$ Or$anism
*bstract thinking attains concrete, individual life. 'deas become powers of life. We no longer have
merely a knowledge about things, but have made knowledge into a real, selfgoverning organism.
-ur consciousness, alive and active, has risen beyond a mere passive reception of truths.
1 .0 3he 9ost +ressin$ :uestion Is Freedom
#ow philosophy, as an art, is related to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can,
participate in it ;these are the principle problems of my book. These &uestions, in my opinion, are
humanity most immediate concern.
1 .10 3he alue Of 5no4led$e Is ;uman 2evelopment
The true value of the sciences is seen only when we have shown the importance of their results for
humanity. ,nowledge has value only in so far as it contributes to the allround unfolding of the whole
nature of the human being.
1.11 Ideas 3o #erve Individual 8oals
We each take possession of the world of ideas in order to use them for our own human aims, which
transcend those of mere science.
1.12 9aster Over Ideas
We must confront ideas as master; or become their slave.
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1.0 Culture Of Individuality
5<7 ' 9.2'.=. ' am indicating correctly one of the fundamental characteristics of our age when ' say that,
at the present day, all human interests tend to centre in the culture of human individuality.
+rinciples -f 'ndividualistic 2ife
1. Free Oneself From Authority
*n energetic effort is being made to shake off every kind of
authority.
2. Individual alidation
Nothing is accepted as valid, unless it springs from the roots
of individuality. .verything which hinders the individual in
the full development of his powers is thrust aside.
!. "eaderless #trivin$
The saying 3.ach one of us must choose his hero in whose
footsteps he toils up to -lympus4 no longer holds for us.
%. Individual #election Of Ideals
We allow no ideals to be forced upon us.
&. Individual Worthiness
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.

'. (e)ection Of Conformity
We no longer believe that there is a norm of human life to
which we must all strive to conform.
*. +erfection Of ,ach Individual
We regard the perfection of the whole as depending on the uni&ue perfection of each single individual.
-. .ni/ue Contribution
We do not want to do what anyone else can do e&ually well. No, our contribution to the development of
the world, however trifling, must be something which, by reason of the uni&ueness of our nature, we
alone can offer.
0. Creative ,1pression
Never have artists been less concerned about rules and norms in art than today. .ach of them asserts
his right to e$press, in the creations of his art, what is uni&ue in him.
10. 2ynamic "an$ua$e
There are dramatists who write in dialect rather than conform to the standard diction which grammar
demands.
11. #trivin$ 3o4ards Freedom
567 No better e$pression for these phenomena can be found than this, that they result from the
individual8s striving towards freedom, developed to its highest pitch.
12. Independence
We do not want to be dependent in any respect, and where dependence must be, we tolerate it only on
condition that it coincides with a vital interest of our individuality.
Rudolf Steiner
1861-1925
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1.1 Inner 3ruth Alone 8ives Conviction
5>7 Truth, too, will be sought in an age such as ours only in the depths of human nature. -f the following
two wellknown paths described by "chiller, it is the second which will today be found most useful/
* truth which comes to us from without bears ever the stamp of uncertainty. Conviction attaches only to
what appears as truth to each of us in our own hearts.
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1.2 3ruth ,mpo4ers
5?7 Truth alone can give us confidence in developing our powers. #e who is tortured by doubts finds his
powers lamed. 'n a world of riddle of which baffles him, he can find no aim for his activity.
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1.! Comprehensible 3ruth
5@7 We no longer want to believe; we want to know. 9elief demands the acceptance
of truths which we do not wholly comprehend. 9ut the individuality which seeks to
e$perience everything in the depths of its own being, is repelled by what it cannot
understand. -nly that knowledge will satisfy us which springs from the inner life of
the personality, and submits itself to no e$ternal norm.
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1.% 5no4led$e #tartin$ From Individual ,1perience
5A7 *gain, we do not want any knowledge that has encased itself once and for all in hide bound formulas,
and which is preserved in .ncyclopedias valid for all time. .ach of us claims the right to start from the
facts that lie nearest to hand, from his own immediate e$periences, and thence to ascend to a knowledge
of the whole universe. We strive after certainty in knowledge, but each in his own way.
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1.& Individual <eed 3o 5no4
5B7 -ur scientific doctrines, too, are no longer to be formulated as if we were
unconditionally compelled to accept them.
None of us would wish to give a scientific work a title like Cichte%s A Pellucid
Account for the General Public concerning the Real ature of the ewest
Philosophy. An Attempt to !ompel the Readers to "nderstand.
Nowadays there is no attempt to compel anyone to understand. We claim no
agreement with anyone whom a distinct individual need does not drive to a
certain view. We do not seek nowadays to cram facts of knowledge even into the
immature human being, the child. We seek rather to develop his faculties in such
a way that his understanding may depend no longer on our compulsion, but on
his will.
Wahrheit suchen wir beide, du aussen im 2eben, ich innen
'n dem #erDen, und so findet sie (eder gewiss.
'st das *uge gesund, so begegnet es aussen dem "chEpfer;
'st es das #erD, dann gewiss spiegelt es innen die Welt.
Truth seek we both ; Thou in the life without thee and around;
' in the heart within. 9y both can Truth alike be found.
The healthy eye can through the world the great creator track;
The healthy heart is but the glass which gives creation back.

Friedrich Schiller
1759-1805
we no longer
want to believe#
we want to $now.
there is no attempt
to compel anyone
to understand
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1.' #trive 3o "ive Accordin$ 3o Individualistic +rinciples
5F7 ' am under no illusion concerning the characteristics of the present age. '
know how many flaunt a manner of life which lacks all individuality and
follows only the prevailing fashion. 9ut ' know also that many of my
contemporaries strive to order their lives in the direction of the principles '
have indicated. To them ' would dedicate this book. 't does not pretend to
offer the Gonly possibleG way to Truth, it only describes the path chosen by
one whose heart is set upon Truth.
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1.* 3hou$ht 3rainin$ In +ure 3hin6in$
5H7 The reader will be led at first into somewhat abstract regions, where thought must draw sharp outlines
if it is to reach secure conclusions. 9ut he will also be led out of these arid concepts into concrete life. '
am fully convinced that one cannot do without soaring into the ethereal realm of abstraction, if one%s
e$perience is to penetrate life in all directions. #e who is limited to the pleasures of the senses misses the
sweetest en(oyments of life.
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1.- ;olistic #cience "eadin$ 3o Fullness Of "ife
5<I7 The spheres of life are many and for each there develop a special science.
9ut 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. The scientific specialist seeks in his studies to gain a knowledge of the world
and its workings. This book has a philosophical aim/ science itself is to be infused with the life of an
organic whole. The special sciences are stages on the way to this allinclusive science. * similar
relationship is found in the arts.
The composer in his work employs the rules of the theory
of composition. This latter is an accumulation of principles,
knowledge of which is a necessary presupposition for
composing. 'n the act of composing, the rules of theory
become the servants of life, of reality. 'n e$actly the same
sense philosophy is an art. *ll genuine philosophers have
been artists in concepts. #uman ideas have been the
medium of their art, and scientific method their artistic
techni&ue. *bstract thinking thus gains concrete individual
life. 'deas turn into life forces. We have no longer merely a
knowledge about things, but we have now made knowledge
a real, selfdetermining organism. -ur consciousness, alive
and active, has risen beyond a mere passive reception of
truths.
science itself is to
be infused with the
life of an organic
whole...
To them '
dedicate this
book.
*ll genuine philosophers have been
artists in concepts.
The -riental sages make their disciples live for years a life of
resignation and asceticism before they impart to them their own
wisdom.
The Western world no longer demands pious e$ercises and ascetic
practices as a preparation for science, but it does re&uire a
sincere willingness to withdraw oneself awhile from the immediate
impressions of life, and to betake oneself into the realm of pure
thought.
The Western world no
longer demands pious
e$ercises and ascetic
practices.
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1.0 3he +rinciple :uestion Is Freedom
5<<7 #ow philosophy, as an art, is related to freedom; what freedom is; and whether we do, or can,
participate in it ;these are the principle problems of my book. *ll other scientific discussions are put in
only because they ultimately throw light on these &uestions which are, in my opinion, the most intimate
that concern mankind. These pages offer a G+hilosophy of CreedomG.
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1.10 alue Of #cience Is ;uman 2evelopment
5<67 *ll science would be nothing but the satisfaction of idle curiosity did it not strive to enhance the
e$istential value of human personality. The true value of the sciences is seen only when we have shown
the importance of their results for humanity.
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1.11 Ideas 3o #erve ;uman 8oals
5<>7 This book, therefore, does not conceive the relation between science and life in such a way that man
must bow down before the world of ideas and devote his powers to its service. -n the contrary, it shows
that he takes possession of the world of ideas in order to use them for his human aims, which transcend
those of mere science.
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1.12 9aster Over Ideas
5<?7 :an must confront ideas as master; lest he become their slave.
The final aim of the individuality can never be the cultivation of any single
faculty, but only the development of all capacities which slumber within us.
,nowledge has value only in so far as it contributes to the allround unfolding of
the whole nature of man.
CHAPTER
2
CONSCIOUS
HUMAN
ACTION
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191!
re"ised #$%1&%$#1$
II
CONSCIOUS HUMAN ACTION
'ournal
What is this chapter about? The Principles of Freedom. How do you define freedom? The pursuit of
freedom begins with the questioning of common beliefs of what freedom is. Are we free, under the
illusion of freedom, or determined by something other than ourselves? This questioning of freedom
leads to a new question, the question of nowing. !hat does it mean to now why " act? !hat does it
mean to #now$ anything?
What is its value? To mae an honest self%assessment as to the e&tent of one's freedom. To
orientate our pursuit of freedom in the direction where we will have a better chance of attaining it.
Rudolf Steiner said( #And one may well feel that if the soul has not at some time found itself faced in
utmost seriousness by the problem of free will or necessity, it will not have reached its full stature.$
)hile the *uestion of free will has challen+ed the +reatest minds of history since the time of the
,ree-s( . assume . ha"e free will without seriously loo-in+ at the issue. This chapter as-s me to
*uestion what freedom is( whether . ha"e it or not( and where it is located.
.t is ob"ious that . cannot be free if my action is dri"en by un-nown moti"es. The *uestion is whether .
am free if . reco+ni/e and understand the moti"e before actin+ on it. 0ut what does it mean to 1-now2
why . act3 )hat does it mean to -now anythin+ in +eneral3
The way . +ain -nowled+e of thin+s is by means of the co+niti"e process. To what e4tent my thin-in+
is free depends on the functionin+ of my co+niti"e processes. Thus( ma-in+ pro+ress toward freedom
is lin-ed to understandin+ and deepenin+ the powers of co+nition.
The ne4t three chapters e4amine the relationship of co+nition to5
(chapter $! willin+( by reco+ni/in+ how -nowin+ the moti"e is essential to free action
(chapter 6! feelin+( by reco+ni/in+ how the desire for -nowled+e is rooted in one7s own nature and
dri"es an indi"idual *uest for answers
(chapter 8! thin-in+( by reco+ni/in+ how thou+ht is a self9supportin+ basis on which to understand the
world
The other chapters in Part . e4amine four processes of co+nition: 1. perception( $. conception( 6.
formin+ mental pictures( and concludin+ with the e+o achie"in+ 8. co+niti"e unity by means of the
inner power of intuition5
(chapter &! perception5 how thou+ht reacts to obser"ation and is initially applied to the world
(chapter ! conception5 how intuition +i"es us the concept that corresponds to the world
(chapter ;! mental picturin+5 how we indi"iduali/e the correspondin+ concept by formin+ mental
pictures
(chapter <! co+niti"e unity5 how we achie"e co+niti"e unity and a holistic world9"iew by unifyin+ the
perceptual9world with our conceptual9world to e4press the totality of the uni"erse.
Study Topics
principles of freedom
2.0 The Question Of Freedom
.s the human bein+ free in action and thou+ht( or inescapably controlled by necessity3
2-1 Freedom of Indifferent hoice
(support! =eutrally choosin+( entirely at will( one or the other of two possible courses of action.
(opposed! There always e4ists a specific reason to e4plain why we carry out an action.
2.2 Freedom Of hoice
(support! >a-e a free choice accordin+ to our own wants and preferences.
(opposed! )e are not free to desire or not desire arbitrarily.
2.! Free "ecessit# Of One$s "ature
(support! Freedom is to e4press the necessity of our own nature.
(opposed! Howe"er comple4( our nature is determined by e4ternal causes to act in a fi4ed and e4act
way.
2.% Free From &'ternal Influences
(support! )e act on an idea only if it is first accepted by our character.
(opposed! ?n idea is made into a moti"e accordin+ to the 7necessity7 of our characterolo+ical
disposition.
2.( )ction *esultin+ From onscious ,otive
(support! Rather than blind ur+e( we act accordin+ to a conscious moti"e.
(opposed! The -nower has been separated from the doer. )e don@t always do what we -now should
be done.
2.- Free When ontrolled .# *ational /ecision
(support! Freedom is to determine one7s life and action by purpose and deliberate decisions.
(opposed! ? rational decision may emer+es in me with the same necessity with which hun+er and
thirst arise.
2.0 Free To /o )s One Wants
(support! To be free does not mean bein+ able to determine what one wants( but bein+ able to do
what one wants.
(opposed! .f a moti"e wor-s on me( and . am compelled to follow it because it pro"es to be the
1stron+est2 of its -ind( then the thou+ht of freedom ceases to ma-e any sense.
2.1 2pontaneous 3nconditioned Will
(support! Our will is the cause of our mo"ement( the willin+ itself is unconditioned: it is an absolute
be+innin+ (a first cause and not a lin- in a chain of e"ents!.
(opposed! )e do not percei"e the causes that determine our will( so we belie"e it is not causally
determined at all.
2.4 5no6led+e Of The *easons
(support! Freedom is an action of which the reasons are -nown.
(opposed! )hat is the ori+in of the thou+hts that cause us to act3
2.10 /rivin+ Force Of The 7eart
(support! Ao"e( compassion( and patriotism are dri"in+ forces for action where heart9felt sensibility
pre"ails.
(opposed! The heart and its sensibility do not create the moti"es of action. They allow them to
enter. The moti"es ha"e already been established.
2.11 Idealistic Thou+ht
(support! Ao"e determines our action.
(opposed! Feelin+s are determined by thou+ht. Ao"e is based on the thou+hts we form of the lo"ed
one. The more idealistic the thou+hts( the more blessed is our lo"e.
2.12 8erception Of 9ood Qualities
(support! )e see the +ood *ualities of the lo"ed one. >any pass by without noticin+ these +ood
*ualities.
(opposed! Seein+ +ood *ualities is determined by lo"e which opens the eyes to see them. The lo"e
is there because mental pictures ha"e been made of the +ood *ualities.
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2.0 The Question Of Freedom
B1C .S man free in action and thou+ht( or is he bound by an iron necessity3 There are few *uestions on
which so much in+enuity has been e4pended. The idea of freedom has found enthusiastic supporters and
stubborn opponents in plenty.
There are those who( in their moral fer"our( label anyone a man of limited
intelli+ence who can deny so patent a fact as freedom. Opposed to them are
others who re+ard it as the acme of unscientific thin-in+ for anyone to belie"e
that the uniformity of natural law is bro-en in the sphere of human action and
thou+ht. One and the same thin+ is thus proclaimed( now as the most precious
possession of humanity( now as its most fatal illusion.
.nfinite subtlety has been employed to e4plain how human freedom can be consistent with determinism in
nature of which man( after all( is a part. Others ha"e been at no less pains to e4plain how such a delusion
as this could ha"e arisen. That we are dealin+ here with one of the most important *uestions for life(
reli+ion( conduct( science( must be clear to e"ery one whose most prominent trait of character is not the
re"erse of thorou+hness.
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2.1 Freedom Of Indifferent hoice
.t is one of the sad si+ns of the superficiality of present9day thou+ht( that a boo- which attempts to
de"elop a new faith out of the results of recent scientific research (Da"id Friedrich Strauss5 Der alte und
neue ,laube!( has nothin+ more to say on this *uestion than these words5
E)ith the *uestion of the freedom of the human will we are not concerned.
The alle+ed freedom of indifferent choice has been reco+ni/ed as an empty
illusion by e"ery philosophy worthy of the name. The determination of the
moral "alue of human conduct and character remains untouched by this
problem.E
.t is not because . consider that the boo- in which it occurs has any special
importance that . *uote this passa+e( but because it seems to me to e4press the
only "iew to which the thou+ht of the maFority of our contemporaries is able to
rise in this matter. G"ery one who has +own beyond the -inder+arten9sta+e of
science appears to -now nowadays that freedom cannot consist in choosin+( at
one7s pleasure( one or other of two possible courses of action. There is always(
so we are told( a perfectly definite reason why( out of se"eral possible actions(
we carry out Fust one and no other.
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2.2 Freedom Of hoice
B$C This seems *uite ob"ious. =e"ertheless( down to the present days the
main attac-s of the opponents of freedom are directed only a+ainst
freedom of choice. G"en Herbert Spencer( in fact( whose doctrines are
+ainin+ +round daily( says
David Strauss
18081874
is man free in action
and thought, or is
he bound by an iron
necessity?
Herbert Spencer
18201903
EThat e"ery one is at liberty to desire or not to desire( which is the real
proposition in"ol"ed in the do+ma of free will( is ne+ati"ed as much by
the analysis of consciousness( as by the contents of the precedin+
chaptersE (The Principles of Psycholo+y( Part .H( chap. i4( par. $.9!.
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2.! Free "ecessit# Of One$s "ature
Others( too( start from the same point of "iew in combatin+ the concept of free will. The +erms of all the
rele"ant ar+uments are to be found as early as Spino/a. ?ll that he brou+ht forward in clear and simple
lan+ua+e a+ainst the idea of freedom has since been repeated times without number( but as a rule
en"eloped in the most sophisticated ar+uments( so that it is difficult to reco+ni/e the strai+htforward train
of thou+ht which is alone in *uestion. Spino/a writes in a letter of October or =o"ember .;8(
E. call a thin+ free which e4ists and acts from the pure necessity of its nature( and . call that unfree( of
which the bein+ and action are precisely and fi4edly determined by
somethin+ else. Thus( e.+.( ,od( thou+h necessary( is free because he
e4ists only throu+h the necessity of his own nature. Similarly( ,od -nows
himself and all else as free( because it follows solely from the necessity of
his nature that he -nows all. Iou see( therefore( that for me freedom
consists not in free decision( but in free necessity.
B6C 10ut let us come down to created thin+s which are all determined by
e4ternal causes to e4ist and to act in a fi4ed and definite manner. To
percei"e this more clearly( let us ima+ine a perfectly simple case. ?
stone( for e4ample( recei"es from an e4ternal cause actin+ upon it a
certain *uantity of motion( by reason of which it necessarily continues to
mo"e( after the impact of the e4ternal cause has ceased. The continued
motion of the stone is due to compulsion( not to the necessity of its own
nature( because it re*uires to be defined by the impact of an e4ternal
cause. )hat is true here for the stone is true also for e"ery other
particular thin+( howe"er complicated and many9sided it may be( namely(
that e"erythin+ is necessarily determined by e4ternal causes to e4ist and
to act in a fi4ed and definite manner.
B8C 1=ow( pray( assume that this stone durin+ its motion thin-s and -nows that it is stri"in+ to the best
of its power to continue in motion. This stone which is conscious only of its stri"in+ and is by no means
indifferent( will belie"e that it is absolutely free( and that it continues in motion for no other reason
than its own will to continue. =ow this is that human freedom which e"erybody claims to possess and
which consists in nothin+ but this( that men are conscious of their desires( but i+norant of the causes
by which they are determined. Thus the child belie"es that he desires mil- of his own free will( the
an+ry boy re+ards his desire for "en+eance as free( and the coward his desire for fli+ht. ?+ain( the
drun-en man belie"es that he says of his own free will what( sober a+ain( he would fain ha"e left
unsaid( and as this preFudice is innate all men( it is difficult to free oneself from it. For( althou+h
e4perience teaches us often enou+h that man least of all can temper his desires( and that( mo"ed by
conflictin+ passions( he percei"es the better and pursues the worse( yet he considers himself free
because there are some thin+s which he desires less stron+ly( and some desires which he can easily
inhibit throu+h the recollection of somethin+ else which it is often possible to recall.E
B&C .t is easy to detect the fundamental error of this "iew( because it is so clearly and definitely
e4pressed. The same necessity by which a stone ma-es a definite mo"ement as the result of an impact( is
said to compel a man to carry out an action when impelled thereto by any cause. .t is only because man
is conscious of his action( that he thin-s himself to be its ori+inator. .n doin+ so( he o"erloo-s the fact that
he is dri"en by a cause which he must obey unconditionally. The error in this train of thou+ht is easily
brou+ht to li+ht. Spino/a( and all who thin- li-e him( o"erloo- the fact that man not only is conscious of
his action( but also may become conscious of the cause which +uides him.
?nyone can see that a child is not free when he desires mil-( nor the drun-en man when he says thin+s
which he later re+rets. =either -nows anythin+ of the causes( wor-in+ deep within their or+anisms( which
e4ercise irresistible control o"er them. 0ut is it Fustifiable to lump to+ether actions of this -ind with those
in which a man is conscious not only of his actions but also of their causes3 ?re the actions of men really
all of one -ind3 Should the act of a soldier on the field of battle( of the scientific researcher in his
Baruch Spinoza
1632-1677
laboratory( of the statesman in the most complicated diplomatic ne+otiations( be placed on the same le"el
with that of the child when he desires mil-3
.t is( no doubt( true that it is best to see- the solution of a problem
where the conditions are simplest. 0ut lac- of ability to see
distinctions has before now caused endless confusion. There is
after all a profound difference between -nowin+ the moti"e of my
action and not -nowin+ it. ?t first si+ht this seems a self9e"ident
truth. ?nd yet the opponents of freedom ne"er as- themsel"es
whether a moti"e of action which . reco+ni/e and understand( is to
be re+arded as compulsory for me in the same sense as the
or+anic process which causes the child to cry for mil-.
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2.% Free From &'ternal Influences
BC Gduard "an Hartmann( in his Phanomenologie des (ittlichen )ewusstseins (p. 8&1! asserts that the
human will depends on two chief factors( the moti"es and the character. .f one re+ards men as all ali-e( or
at any rate the differences between them as ne+li+ible( then their will appears as determined from
without( "i/.( by the circumstances with which they come in contact.
0ut if one bears in mind that men adopt an idea as the moti"e of their
conduct( only if their character is such that this idea arouses a desire in
them( then men appear as determined from within and not from without.
=ow( because an idea( +i"en to us from without( must first in accordance
with our characters be adopted as a moti"e( men belie"e that they are free(
i.e.( independent of e4ternal influences. The truth( howe"er( accordin+ to
Gduard "on Hartmann( is that
Ee"en thou+h we must first adopt an idea as a moti"e( we do so not
arbitrarily( but accordin+ to the disposition of our characters( that is( we
are anythin+ but free.E
Here a+ain the difference between moti"es( which . allow to influence me
only after . ha"e consciously made them my own( and those which . follow(
without any clear -nowled+e of them( is absolutely i+nored.
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2.( )ction *esultin+ From onscious ,otive
B;C This leads us strai+ht to the standpoint from which the subFect will be treated here. Ha"e we any ri+ht
to consider the *uestion of the freedom of the will by itself at all3 ?nd if not( with what other *uestion
must it necessarily be connected3
B<C .f there is a difference between conscious and unconscious moti"es of action( then the action in which
the former issue should be Fud+ed differently from the action which sprin+s from blind impulse. Hence our
first *uestion will concern this difference( and on the result of this in*uiry will depend what attitude we
ou+ht to ta-e up towards the *uestion of freedom proper.
B9C )hat does it mean to ha"e -nowled+e of the moti"es of one7s actions3 Too little attention has been
paid to this *uestion( because( unfortunately( man who is an indi"isible whole has always been torn
asunder by us. The a+ent has been di"orced from the -nower( whilst he who matters more than
e"erythin+ else( "i/.( the man who acts because he -nows( has been utterly o"erloo-ed.
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2.- Free When ontrolled .# *eason
B1#C .t is said that man is free when he is controlled only by his reason( and not by his animal passions.
Or( a+ain( that to be free means to be able to determine one7s life and action by purposes and deliberate
decisions.

the opponents of freedom never
as themselves whether a
motive of action which "
recogni*e and understand, is to
be regarded as compulsory for
me in the same sense as the
organic process
Eduard von Hartman
18421906
B11C =othin+ is +ained by assertions of this sort. For the *uestion is Fust whether reason( purposes( and
decisions e4ercise the same -ind of compulsion o"er a man as his animal passions. .f( without my doin+( a
rational decision occurs in me with the same necessity with which hun+er and thirst happen to me( then .
must needs obey it( and my freedom is an illusion.
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2.0 Free To /o )s One Wants
B1$C ?nother form of e4pression runs5 to be free means( not that we can will what we will( but that we
can do what we will. This thou+ht has been e4pressed with +reat clearness by the poet9philosopher Robert
Hamerlin+ in his Atomisti des !illens.
E>an can( it is true( do what he wills( but he cannot will what he wills(
because his will is determined by moti"esJ He cannot will what he
wills3 Aet us consider these phrases more closely. Ha"e they any
intelli+ible meanin+3
Does freedom of the will( then( mean bein+ able to will without +round(
without moti"e3 )hat does willin+ mean if not to ha"e +rounds for
doin+( or stri"in+ to do( this rather than that3 To will anythin+ without
+round or moti"e would mean to will somethin+ without willin+ it.
The concept of moti"e is indissolubly bound up with that of will.
)ithout the determinin+ moti"e the will is an empty faculty: it is the
moti"e which ma-es it acti"e and real. .t is( therefore( *uite true that
the human will is not 7free(7 inasmuch as its direction is always
determined by the stron+est moti"e. 0ut( on the other hand( it must
be admitted that it is absurd to spea-( in contrast with this
7unfreedom(7 of a concei"able 7freedom7 of the will( which would consist
in bein+ able to will what one does not willE (Atomisti des !illens( p.
$16 ff.!.K
:)lternate translation
1The human bein+ can certainly do what he wants( but he cannot determine what he wants( because
his will is determined by motivesJ He cannot determine what he wants3 Aet us loo- at these words
more closely. Do they ma-e any sense3
.s free will( then( bein+ able to want somethin+ without reason( without a moti"e3 0ut what does
wantin+ mean other than having a reason for doin+ or tryin+ to do this rather than that3 To want
somethin+ without a reason( without a moti"e( would be to want somethin+ without wanting it.
The concept of wantin+ is inseparable from the concept of moti"e. )ithout a moti"e to determine it(
the will is an empty capacity: only throu+h the moti"e does it become acti"e and real. Therefore( it is
entirely correct that the human will is not Lfree@ to the e4tent that its direction is always determined by
the stron+est moti"e. 0ut( in contrast to this Lunfreedom@( it is absurd to spea- of a possible Lfreedom@
of the will that amounts to ha"in+ the ability to want what one does not want.2
B16C Here a+ain only moti"es in +eneral are mentioned( without ta-in+ into account the difference
between unconscious and conscious moti"es. .f a moti"e affects me( and . am compelled to act on it
because it pro"es to be the Estron+estE of its -ind( then the idea of freedom ceases to ha"e any meanin+.
How should it matter to me whether . can do a thin+ or not( if . am forced by the moti"e to do it3 The
primary *uestion is( not whether . can do a thin+ or not when impelled by a moti"e( but whether the only
moti"es are such as impel me with absolute necessity. .f . must will somethin+( then . may well be
absolutely indifferent as to whether . can also do it. ?nd if( throu+h my character( or throu+h
circumstances pre"ailin+ in my en"ironment( a moti"e is forced on me which to my thin-in+ is
unreasonable( then . should e"en ha"e to be +lad if . could not do what . will.
obert Hamer!in"
1830-1889
B18C The *uestion is( not whether . can carry out a decision once made( but how . come to ma-e the
decision.
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2.1 2pontaneous 3nconditioned Will
B1&C )hat distin+uishes man from all other or+anic bein+s is his rational thou+ht. ?cti"ity is common to
him with other or+anisms. =othin+ is +ained by see-in+ analo+ies in the animal world to clear up the
concept of freedom as applied to the actions of human bein+s.
>odern science lo"es these analo+ies. )hen scientists ha"e succeeded in findin+ amon+ animals
somethin+ similar to human beha"iour( they belie"e they ha"e touched on the most important *uestion of
the science of man. To what misunderstandin+s this "iew leads is seen( for e4ample( in the boo- +ie
"llusion der !illensfreiheit( by P. Ree( 1<<&( where( on pa+e &( the followin+ remar- on freedom appears.
E.t is easy to e4plain why the mo"ement of a
stone seems to us necessary( while the "olition of
a don-ey does not. The causes which set the
stone in motion are e4ternal and "isible( while the
causes which determine the don-ey7s "olition are
internal and in"isible. 0etween us and the place of
their acti"ity( there is the s-ull cap of the ass...
The causal ne4us is not "isible( and is therefore
thou+ht to be non9e4istent. The "olition( it is
e4plained( is( indeed( the cause of the don-ey7s
turnin+ round( but is itself unconditioned: it is an
absolute be+innin+.EK
Here a+ain human actions in which there is a consciousness of the
moti"es are simply i+nored( for Ree declares( Ethat between us and
the sphere of their acti"ity there is the s-ull cap of the ass.E ?s
these words show( it has not so much as dawned on Ree that there
are actions( not indeed of the ass( but of human bein+s( in which
the moti"e( become conscious( lies between us and the action. Ree
demonstrates his blindness once a+ain a few pa+es further on(
when he says(
Ewe do not percei"e the causes by which our will is determined(
hence we thin- it is not causally determined at all.E
B1C 0ut enou+h of e4amples which pro"e that many ar+ue a+ainst
freedom without -nowin+ in the least what freedom is.
#au! $e
1849-1901
Paul RMe( Friedrich =iet/sche and
Aou ?ndreas9SalomM (1<<$!
K>ore of the RMe *uote5 The "olition( it is e4plained( is( indeed( the cause of
the don-ey7s turnin+ round( but is itself unconditioned: it is an absolute
be+innin+( a first cause and not a lin in a chain of events... )ut a
presumption of this ind is contradicted by e&perience and the universal
validity of the law of causality, -et us now leave the realm of animals and
proceed to consider the human being. .verything is the same here.$
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2.4 5no6led+e Of The *easons
B1;C That an action of which the a+ent does not -now why he performs it(
cannot be free +oes without sayin+. 0ut what of the freedom of an action
about the moti"es of which we reflect3 This leads us to the *uestion of the
ori+in and meanin+ of thou+ht. )hen we -now what thou+ht in +eneral
means( it will be easier to see clearly the role which thou+ht plays in
human action. ?s He+el ri+htly says(
E.t is thou+ht which turns the soul( common to us and animals( into
spirit.E
Hence it is thou+ht which we may e4pect to +i"e to human action its
characteristic stamp.
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2.10 /rivin+ Force Of The 7eart
B1<C . do not mean to imply that all our actions sprin+ only from the sober
deliberations of our reason. . am "ery far from callin+ only those actions
EhumanE in the hi+hest sense( which proceed from abstract Fud+ments. 0ut
as soon as our conduct rises abo"e the sphere of the satisfaction of purely
animal desires( our moti"es are always shaped by thou+hts.
Ao"e( pity( and patriotism are moti"es of action which cannot be analysed away into cold concepts of the
understandin+. .t is said that here the heart( the soul( hold sway. This is no doubt true. 0ut the heart and
the soul create no moti"es. They presuppose them. Pity enters my heart when the thou+ht of a person
who arouses pity has appeared in my consciousness. The way to the heart is throu+h the head.
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2.11 Idealistic Thou+ht
Ao"e is no e4ception. )hene"er it is not merely the e4pression of bare
se4ual instinct( it depends on the thou+hts we form of the lo"ed one. ?nd
the more we ideali/e the lo"ed one in our thou+hts( the more blessed is our
lo"e. Here( too( thou+ht is the father of feelin+.
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2.12 8erception Of 9ood Qualities
.t is said that lo"e ma-es us blind to the failin+s of the lo"ed one. 0ut the opposite "iew can be ta-en(
namely that it is precisely for the +ood points that lo"e opens the eyes. >any pass by these +ood points
without notice. One( howe"er( percei"es them( and Fust because he does( lo"e awa-ens in his soul. )hat
else has he done e4cept percei"e what hundreds ha"e failed to see3 Ao"e is not theirs( because they lac-
the perception.K
B19C From whate"er point we re+ard the subFect( it becomes more and more clear that the *uestion of the
nature of human action presupposes that of the ori+in of thou+ht. . shall therefore( turn ne4t to this
*uestion.
%eor" &i!he!m 'riedrich He"e!
17701831
the more we ideali*e the
loved one in our
thoughts, the more
blessed is our love
:)lternate translation
$.1$ One says5 Ao"e ma-es us blind to the wea-nesses of the lo"ed one. The matter can also be
+rasped the other way round and it can be maintained that lo"e opens the eye in fact for precisely the
+ood *ualities of the lo"ed one. >any pass these +ood *ualities by without an in-lin+( without noticin+
them. One person sees them( and Fust because he does( lo"e awa-ens in his soul. )hat has he done
other than ma-e for himself a mental picture of somethin+ of which a hundred others ha"e none. They
do not ha"e the lo"e because they lac- the mental picture.
our motives are always
shaped by thoughts
CHAPTER
3
DESIRE FOR
KNOWLEDGE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191!
re"ised #$%#&%'#1'
III
WHY THE DESIRE FOR KNOWLEDGE
IS FUNDAMENTAL
(ournal
What is this chapter about? The Principles of Knowledge. Our fundamental urge to know occurs as
the result of our need to reconcile our thought-world with our perceived-world. To unite these two
elements, the inner and the outer, is the function of knowledge. We each naturally desire a certain
type of knowledge, such as materialistic or spiritualistic explanations. We are not satisfied and lack
conviction unless it is explained according to our own world-view.
What is its value? y understanding that our desire for knowledge is individualistic, we are in a
!etter position to cultivate intellectual curiosity and discover knowledge that satisfies our desire to
know. Our striving for knowledge can !e narrowly directed to one realm of reality, !ut the pursuit of
truth re"uires !roadmindedness. #ach view of the world is the key to open a related domain, such as
$aterialism the material world and %dealism the world of ideas, !ut a one-sided pursuit of knowledge
is narrow minded. &peculation is !etter replaced !y factual thinking.
)hy do * stri"e for +nowled,e- *n childhood we percei"e the world and feel oursel"es to be at one with
.ature. /hildren feel in their hearts the inner harmony of the uni"erse. This chan,es when we ,row up
enou,h to ha"e thou,hts and de"elop an inner world of thou,ht. The mental process splits our world
into two hal"es0 the outer percei"ed1world contrasts with our inner thou,ht1world. .ow the uni"erse
appears to us as two opposin, sides0 Self and )orld.
)e confront the world as separate indi"iduals2 and lose our childhood feelin, of unity to the feelin, of
separation. *t is the conflict between the sense of unity that we do belon, to the world yet are
separate from it that ma+es us stri"e for a brid,e to reunite us with the world.
This stri"in, is found in reli,ion throu,h the acceptance of re"elation2 in art by moldin, the e3ternal
world in a way that e3presses the ideas of the artist2 and in science with the thin+in, penetration of
world phenomena to disco"er the laws of nature. Historically2 this stri"in, appears in two opposin,
world1"iews0 4ualism and 5onism.
6ll attempts to find unity will be ineffecti"e if the word 7science8 is reser"ed for the e3ploration and
mastery of the physical world with the only real sciences bein, the hard sciences. This widespread
assumption is wron, because it is the method2 not the sub9ect matter that determines whether any
,i"en in"esti,ation is scientific.
5y separation from the world is fundamentally a polarity of consciousness that can only be reconciled
in a specific way for myself. How do * find my way bac+- )hat corresponds to the world within me will
be my ,uide. )hile * am seein, nature outside of me2 * feel somethin, more within me that is itself
pressin, toward manifestation. This can only indicate an element within me that is true2 for it belon,s
not only to myself2 but also corresponds to the world. *f * find this element2 * will ha"e found the
brid,e to unite myself with the world. This element is e3perienced as thou,ht. Only when the outer
percei"ed1world corresponds to my inner1thou,ht world is my ur,e for +nowled,e satisfied and * arri"e
at +nowled,e that is indi"idualistic and yet true.
Study Topics
principles of +nowled,e
3.0 The Drive To Know
)e see+ somethin, more in thin,s that e3ceeds what is immediately ,i"en to us. This addition we see+
splits our whole bein, into two parts: our ob9ecti"e outer perception and our sub9ecti"e inner thou,ht1
world. )e become conscious of contrastin, with the world. The uni"erse appears to us as two
contrastin, sides0 &elf and World.
3.1 Materialism
5aterialism be,ins with the thou,ht of 5atter or material processes. ;ut2 in doin, so2 it is confronted
by two different sets of facts2 the material world and the thou,hts about it. Thou,hts are understood
as purely physical processes.
3.2 Spiritualism
The &piritualist denies 5atter (the )orld! and re,ards it as merely a product of 5ind (the Self!.
3.3 Realism
*f one would really +now the e3ternal world2 one must loo+ outwards and draw on the fund of
e3perience.
3. !"ealism
)hat Fichte has actually accomplished is a ma,nificent thought-picture of the world2 but one without
any empirical content.
3.# Materialistic !"ealism
5aterialism e3plains all world phenomena2 includin, our thou,hts2 to be the product of purely material
processes2 but2 con"ersely2 5atter and its processes are themsel"es a product of our thin+in,.
3.$ !n"ivisible %nit&
The third form of 5onism sees the indi"isible unity of 5atter and 5ind in e"en the simplest physical
particle.
3.' (olarit& )* +onsciousness
)e first encounter the basic and ori,inal polarity in our own consciousness. )e are the ones who
detach oursel"es from the mother soil of .ature and contrast oursel"es with the )orld as Self.
3., -eelin. !mpulse
*t is true that we ha"e estran,ed oursel"es from .ature: but it is e<ually true that we feel we are
within .ature and belon, to her. This can only be due to .ature=s influence on us2 which also li"es in
us.
3./ Knowin. 0ature Within
)e can only find .ature outside us after we first +now it within us. )hat corresponds to .ature within
us will be our ,uide.
3.10 Somethin. More Than 1!2
)e must come to a point where we can say0 Here we are no lon,er merely =*=2 here is somethin, more
than =*=.
3.11 Description )* +onsciousness
* ha"e not been concerned with scientific results2 but rather with a simple description of what we all
e3perience in our own consciousness. >"en those sentences about the attempts to reconcile 5ind with
the )orld ha"e only been included to clarify the actual facts.
3.12 -acts Without !nterpretation
5y concern is not how science has interpreted consciousness2 but rather how we e3perience it moment
by moment.
?wei Seelen wohnen2 ach@ in meiner ;rust2
4ie eine will sich "on der andern trennen:
4ie eine hAlt2 in derber Biebeslust2
Sich an die )elt mit +lammerden Or,anen:
4ie andre hebt ,ewaltsam sich "om 4ust
?u den Cefilden hoher 6hnen.
F6DST2 *2 111'E111F.
Two souls2 alas@ reside within my breast2
6nd each withdraws from2 and repels2 its brother.
One with tenacious or,ans holds in lo"e
6nd clin,in, lust the world in its embraces:
The other stron,ly sweeps2 this dust abo"e2
*nto the hi,h ancestral spaces.
'aust2 Part *2 Scene '.
(;ayard Taylor=s translation!
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3.0 %r.e To Know
G1H *. these words Coethe e3presses a trait which is deeply in,rained in human nature. 5an is not a self1
contained unity. He demands e"er more than the world2 of itself2 offers him. .ature has endowed us with
needs2 but left their satisfaction to our own acti"ity. Howe"er abundant the ,ifts which we ha"e recei"ed2
still more abundant are our desires. )e seem born to dissatisfaction. 6nd our desire for +nowled,e is but
a special instance of this unsatisfied stri"in,.
Suppose we loo+ twice at a tree. The first time we see its branches at rest2 the second time in motion. )e
are not satisfied with this obser"ation. )hy2 we as+2 does the tree appear to us now at rest2 then in
motion- >"ery ,lance at nature e"o+es in us a multitude of <uestions. >"ery
phenomenon we meet presents a new problem to be sol"ed. >"ery e3perience is
to us a riddle. )e obser"e that from the e,, there emer,es a creature li+e the
mother animal2 and we as+ for the reason of the li+eness. )e obser"e a li"in,
bein, ,row and de"elop to a determinate de,ree of perfection2 and we see+ the
conditions of this e3perience. .owhere are we satisfied with the facts which nature spreads out before our
senses. >"erywhere we see+ what we call the e3planation of these facts.
G'H The somethin, more which we see+ in thin,s2 o"er and abo"e what is immediately ,i"en to us in
them2 splits our whole bein, into two parts. )e become conscious of our opposition to the world. )e
oppose oursel"es to the world as independent bein,s. The uni"erse has for us two opposite poles0 Self
and )orld.
GIH )e erect this barrier between oursel"es and the world as soon as consciousness is first +indled in us.
;ut we ne"er cease to feel that2 in spite of all2 we belon, to the world2 that there is a connectin, lin+
between it and us2 and that we are bein,s within2 and not without2 the uni"erse.

G$H This feelin, ma+es us stri"e to brid,e o"er this opposition2 and ultimately the whole spiritual stri"in,
of man+ind is nothin, but the brid,in, of this opposition. The history of our spiritual life is a continuous
see+in, after union between oursel"es and the world. Reli,ion2 6rt2 and Science follow2 one and all2 this
,oal. The reli,ious man see+s in the re"elation2 which Cod ,rants him2 the solution of the world problem2
which his Self2 dissatisfied with the world of mere phenomena2 sets
him as a tas+. The artist see+s to embody in his material the ideas
which are his Self2 that he may thus reconcile the spirit which li"es
within him and the outer world. He too2 feels dissatisfied with the
world of mere appearances2 and see+s to mould into it that somethin,
more which his Self supplies and which transcends appearances. The
thin+er searches for the laws of phenomena. He stri"es to master by
thou,ht what he e3periences by obser"ation.
everywhere we
seek what we call
the explanation of
these facts
only when we have
transformed the world-
content into our thought-
content do we recapture the
connection
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
17491832
The whole situation2 as * ha"e here stated it2 meets us2 on the sta,e of history2 in the conflict between the
one1world theory2 or 5onism2 and the two1world theory or 4ualism. 4ualism pays attention only to the
separation between the Self and the )orld2 which the consciousness
of man has brou,ht about. 6ll its efforts consist in a "ain stru,,le to
reconcile these opposites2 which it calls now 5ind and 5atter2 now
Sub9ect and Ob9ect2 now Thou,ht and 6ppearance. The 4ualist feels
that there must be a brid,e between the two worlds2 but is not able
to find it. 5onism pays attention only to the unity
and tries either to deny or to slur o"er the
opposites2 present thou,h they are. .either of
these two points of "iew call satisfy us2 for they do not do 9ustice to the facts.

The 4ualist sees in 5ind (Self! and 5atter ()orld! two essentially different entities2 and
cannot therefore understand how they can interact with one another. How should 5ind be
aware of what ,oes on in 5atter2 seein, that the essential nature of 5atter is <uite alien
to 5ind- Or how in these circumstances should 5ind act upon 5atter2 so as to translate
its intentions into actions- The most absurd hypotheses ha"e been propounded to answer
these <uestions.
Howe"er2 up to the present the 5onists are not in a much better position. They ha"e tried
three different ways of meetin, the difficulty. >ither they deny 5ind and become
5aterialists: or they deny 5atter in order to see+ their sal"ation as Spiritualists: or they
assert that2 e"en in the simplest entities in the world2 5ind and 5atter are indissolubly
bound to,ether2 so that there is no need to mar"el at the appearance in man of these two
modes of e3istence2 seein, that they are ne"er found apart.
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3.1 Materialism
G&H 5aterialism can ne"er offer a satisfactory e3planation of the world.
For e"ery attempt at an e3planation must be,in with the formation of
thou,hts about the phenomena of the world.
5aterialism2 thus2 be,ins with the thou,ht of
5atter or material processes. ;ut2 in doin,
so2 it is ipso facto confronted by two
different sets of facts2 "iJ.2 the material
world and the thou,hts about it.
The 5aterialist see+s to ma+e these latter intelli,ible by re,ardin, them
as purely material processes. He belie"es that thin+in, ta+es place in the
brain2 much in the same way that di,estion ta+es place in the animal
or,ans. (ust as he ascribes mechanical2 chemical2 and or,anic processes
to .ature2 so he credits her in certain circumstances with the capacity to
thin+.
He o"erloo+s that2 in doin, so2 he is merely shiftin, the problem from
one place to another. *nstead of to himself he ascribes the power of
thou,ht to 5atter. 6nd thus he is bac+ a,ain at his startin,1point. How
does 5atter come to thin+ of its own nature- )hy is it not simply
satisfied with itself and content to accept its own e3istence- The
5aterialist has turned his attention away from the definite sub9ect2 his own self2 and occupies himself with
materialism3 tries to
e3plain the world in terms
of matter and material
processes.
How does 5atter come to
reflect upon its own nature-
"ualism3 two1world theory that
pays attention only to the
separation between the Self and the
)orld.
monism3 one1world theory that
pays attention only to the unity and
tries to deny the differences.
4ualism
Only when we ha"e transformed the world1content into our thou,ht1content do we recapture the
connection which we had oursel"es bro+en off.
)e shall see later that this ,oal can be reached only if we penetrate much more deeply than is often
done into the nature of the scientist=s problem.
an indefinite shadowy somewhat. 6nd here the old problem meets him a,ain. The materialistic theory
cannot sol"e the problem2 it can only shift it to another place.
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3.2 Spiritualism
GH )hat of the Spiritualistic theory- The Spiritualist denies 5atter (the
)orld! and re,ards it merely as a product of 5ind (the Self!. He supposes
the whole phenomenal word to be nothin, more than a fabric wo"en by
5ind out of itself.

This conception of the world finds itself in
difficulties as soon as it attempts to deduce
from 5ind any sin,le concrete phenomenon. *t
cannot do so either in +nowled,e or in action. *f
one would really +now the e3ternal world2 one
must turn one=s eye outwards and draw on the fund of e3perience. )ithout
e3perience 5ind can ha"e no content.
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3.3 Realism
Similarly2 when it comes to actin,2 we ha"e to translate our purposes into realities with the help of
material thin,s and forces. )e are2 therefore2 dependent on the outer world.
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3. !"ealism
The most e3treme Spiritualist or2 if you prefer it2 *dealist2
is (ohann Cottlieb Fichte. He attempts to deduce the
whole edifice of the world from the K>,o.K )hat he has
actually accomplished is a ma,nificent thou,ht1picture of
the world2 without any empirical content. 6s little as it is
possible for the 5aterialist to ar,ue the 5ind away2 9ust as little is it possible for the
*dealist to do without the outer world of 5atter.
Johann Gottlie Fi!hte
17621814
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3.# Materialistic !"ealism
GFH 6 curious "ariant of *dealism is to be found in the theory which F. 6.
Ban,e has put forward in his widely read (istory of $aterialism. He holds
that the 5aterialists are <uite ri,ht in declarin, all phenomena2 includin, our
thou,ht2 to be the product of purely material processes2 but2 in turn2 5atter
and its processes are for him themsel"es the product of our thin+in,.
KThe senses ,i"e us only the effects of thin,s2
not true copies2 much less the thin,s
themsel"es. ;ut amon, these mere effects we
must include the senses themsel"es to,ether
with the brain and the molecular "ibrations
which we assume to ,o on there.K
That is2 our thin+in, is produced by the material processes2 and these by
our thin+in,. Ban,e=s philosophy is thus nothin, more than the
philosophical analo,on of the story of honest ;aron 5unchhausen2 who
holds himself up in the air by his own pi,tail.
what he has actually
accomplished is a
magnificent thought-
picture of the world
F"ie#"i!h Ale"t Lange
1828- 1875
spiritualism3 tries to
e3plain the world in
spiritual terms as bein, a
product of mind%spirit.
top
3.$ !n"ivisible %nit&
GLH The third form of 5onism is that which finds e"en in the simplest real (the atom! the union of both
5atter and 5ind. ;ut nothin, is ,ained by this either2 e3cept that the <uestion2 the ori,in of which is really
in our consciousness2 is shifted to another place. How comes it that the simple real manifests itself in a
twofold manner2 if it is an indi"isible unity-
top
3.' (olarit& )* +onsciousness
G9H 6,ainst all these theories we must ur,e the fact that we meet with the
basal and fundamental opposition first in our own consciousness. *t is we
oursel"es who brea+ away from the bosom of .ature and contrast oursel"es
as Self with the )orld. Coethe has ,i"en classic e3pression to this in his
essay )ature.
top
3., -eelin. !mpulse
G1#H Howe"er true it may be that we ha"e estran,ed oursel"es from .ature2 it is none the less
true that we feel we are in her and belon, to her. *t can be only her own life which pulses also
in us.
top
3., -eelin. !mpulse
G1#H Howe"er true it may be that we ha"e estran,ed oursel"es from .ature2 it is none the less true that
we feel we are in her and belon, to her. *t can be only her own life which pulses also in us.
top
3./ Knowin. 0ature Within
G11H )e must find the way bac+ to her a,ain. 6 simple reflection may point this way out to us. )e
ha"e2 it is true2 torn oursel"es away from .ature2 but we must none the less ha"e carried away
somethin, of her in our own sel"es. This <uality of .ature in us we must see+ out2 and then we shall
disco"er our connection with her once more.
4ualism ne,lects to do this. *t considers the human mind as a spiritual entity
utterly alien to .ature and attempts somehow to hitch it on to .ature. .o
wonder that it cannot find the couplin, lin+.
)e can find .ature outside of us only if we ha"e first
learnt to +now her within us. The .atural within us
must be our ,uide to her. This mar+s out our path of
in<uiry.
)e shall attempt no speculations concernin, the interaction of 5ind and 5atter. )e shall rather probe
into the depths of our own bein,2 to find there those elements which we sa"ed in our fli,ht from
.ature.
we can find )ature
outside of us only if
we have first learned
to know her within us
fundamental separation
results from polarity of
consciousness
6 spiritual entity
utterly alien to
.ature.
KBi"in, in the midst of her (.ature! we are stran,ers to her. /easelessly she
spea+s to us2 yet betrays none of her secrets.K
;ut Coethe +nows the re"erse side too0
K5an+ind is all in her2 and she in all man+ind.K
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
1749-1832
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3.10 Somethin. More Than 2!2
G1'H The e3amination of our own bein, must brin, the solution of the problem. )e must reach a point
where we can say2 KThis is no lon,er merely = *2= this is somethin, which is more than = *.= K
top
3.11 Description )* +onsciousness
G1IH * am well aware that many who ha"e read thus far will not
consider my discussion in +eepin, with Kthe present state of
science.K To such criticism * can reply only that * ha"e so far not
been concerned with any scientific results2 but simply with the
description of what e"ery one of us e3periences in his own
consciousness. That a few phrases ha"e slipped in about attempts
to reconcile 5ind and the )orld has been due solely to the desire
to elucidate the actual facts. * ha"e therefore made no attempt to
,i"e to the e3pressions KSelf2K K5ind2K K)orld2K K.ature2K the
precise meanin, which they usually bear in Psycholo,y and
Philosophy.
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3.12 -acts Without !nterpretation
The ordinary consciousness i,nores the sharp distinctions of the sciences2 and so far my purpose has been
solely to record the facts of e"eryday e3perience. To ob9ect that the abo"e discussions ha"e been
unscientific would be li+e <uarrelin, with the reciter of a poem for failin, to accompany e"ery line at once
with aesthetic criticism. * am concerned2 not with the way in which science2 so far2 has interpreted
consciousness2 but with the way in which we e3perience it e"ery moment of our li"es.
/oncerned simply with a description
of what e"ery one of us e3periences
in his own consciousness.
CHAPTER
4
THOUGHT AS
THE
INSTRUMENT
OF
KNOWLEDGE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191!
re"ised #$%#&%'#1'
IV
THOUGHT AS THE INSTRUMENT
OF KNOWLEDGE
(ournal
What is this chapter about? It is a study of the principles of thinking leading to a description of
pure thinking.
What is its value? The ability to enter into the realm of pure thinking is necessary to rise above
bias and experience pure reason, the necessary ability of this freedom philosophy. The moral
intuition described in Part II of this book is attained through pure reason. Moral intuition is the
impulse to act that is the origin of free action.
)n the search for thou*ht that corresponds to the world+ let,s e-amine the stri"in* for .nowled*e. /ll
.nowled*e comes from obser"ation and thou*ht+ that is+ from thin.in* about what is obser"ed. For
e-ample+ a billiard player uses obser"ation and thou*ht to ma.e a shot. The purpose of reflection is
to form concepts of the e"ent and add a correspondin* process that ta.es place in the conceptual
realm. The scientific method re0uires the ability to 1beta.e oneself into the realm of pure thou*ht2
as was mentioned in chapter one. ) connect the concepts ball+ elasticity+ motion+ impact+ "elocity+
etc.+ so that they apply to my billiard shot. )f ) am successful in disco"erin* the correspondin*
concepts of the e"ent+ ) can predict what will happen. This conceptual process re0uires effort on my
part. Spectators can passi"ely watch without any effort+ and not thin. at all. They will ha"e to wait
to see what happens.
3ormally+ ) obser"e whate"er is in reach+ but ) am unaware of my own acti"ity of thin.in*. To
obser"e thou*ht ) must purposely ta.e an e-ceptional position and loo. bac. upon an act of thin.in*
already performed. 3ormally+ my obser"ation and thin.in* are wholly absorbed in the study of other
thin*s. Thin.in* is ordinarily the one unobser"ed factor in the world. )t is important that we no
lon*er lea"e it unobser"ed. (to learn how to obser"e thin.in* see Obser"ation Of Thin.in* 4-ercises!
The obser"ation of thin.in* is the most important obser"ation ) can ma.e. 5ecause ) create it+ ) am
able to .now it more intimately than anythin* else in the world. ) .now the characteristic features of
its course and the details of how the process ta.es place. 6hat can be disco"ered only indirectly in all
other fields of obser"ation+ 77the rele"ant conte-t and the relationships between the indi"idual
ob8ects77 is .nown to me directly in the case of thou*ht.

)t is different than the obser"ation of anythin* else. 4nterin* the realm of thou*ht to study thou*ht
consists of two steps9
1. :reate thou*ht
'. Obser"e thou*ht
To create thou*ht the full attention is on the ob8ect ) am thin.in* about; not on the thin.in*
personality. To observe thou*ht the full attention is shifted to the thou*ht ) ha"e created+ which is
now a past thou*ht.
:oncepts and ideas are *i"en to us in a form called intellectual intuition+ a .ind of intellectual
,seein*, of the conceptual content. 6ith pure concepts and ideas the content is contained within the
thou*ht itself. For e-ample+ cause and effect are sou*ht in the world+ but before ) can disco"er it in
the world ) first produce 1causality2 as a thou*ht7form that does not refer to a particular instance of
causality. The concepts disco"ered combine to form an ordered and systematic whole. The concept
1or*anism2 combines with those of 1de"elopment accordin* to law+2 1*rowth+2 and others.
<athematics is based entirely upon rules of reason that are uni"ersal. <athematical thin.in* is
conceptual thin.in*. :onceptual thin.in* that does not contain any definite perceptual content
becomes pure thin.in*. Pure thin.in* that does not contain pure concepts .nown to correspond to
real thin*s is conceptual speculation. Pure thin.in* is *rounded when the concepts that one is
thin.in* about correspond with an e"ent+ as in the billiard *ame e-ample+ then pure thin.in* cannot
be considered abstract.
The content of pure thin.in* is pure concepts and ideas. The thou*ht connections+ intuiti"ely seen+
are *uided by the content of the thou*hts alone. Pure thin.in* is self7supportin*+ not dependent on
anythin* else.
Pure thin.in* is9
1. =etached from anythin* sense7perceptible.
'. >uided by the content of thou*hts.
Philosophical thin.in* deals with pure concepts+ its .nowled*e is *uided by reasonin*. The
philosophical method wants to abstract away from specific e-amples and use uni"ersali?ed concepts+
as the details of a specific situation can distract ob8ecti"ity.
:oncrete Obser"ation 77@ Reflect Apon Specific :ase 77@ Ani"ersal :onceptuali?ation of 4"ent
Thou*ht fulfills the re0uirement of /chimedes for a point that would support his le"er to lift the
world. He needed a point that is self7supportin*+ not dependent on anythin* else. )n thou*ht ) ha"e
the principle of self7subsistence. Startin* with thou*ht as my basis ) can attempt to understand the
world. Thou*ht can be *rasped by thou*ht itself. The only 0uestion is whether we can understand
anythin* else by means of thou*ht.

) can .now thou*ht. Thin*s ha"e been built up accordin* to thou*hts+ so it ma.es sense that ) can
.now the world if ) can e-perience the thou*ht that corresponds to the world. 5ecause thou*ht can
be *rasped by thou*ht+ this chapter establishes self7supportin* and self7subsistin* thou*ht as the
firm basis for understandin* the world. The only 0uestion is whether my thin.in* *i"es me thou*ht
that applies to the world or misleads me by *i"in* me somethin* not true to the obser"ed ob8ect.
Free thin.in* is not ordinary thin.in*. )t e-ists on the le"el of pure concepts+ liberated from
biolo*ical and characterolo*ical control. Freedom occurs most purely at this le"el+ when freely
formin* ideas out of e*o acti"ity. / free deed has its ori*in in pure thin.in*.
Study Topics
principles of thin.in*
4.0 Reflective Thought
The purpose of my reflection is to form concepts of the e"ent. ) try to add to the occurrence that
runs its course without my participation a second process which ta.es place in the conceptual
sphere. This conceptual process depends on me.
4.1 Observation Of Thought
Thou*ht+ as an ob8ect of obser"ation+ differs essentially from all other ob8ects. ) obser"e the table+
and ) carry on my thin.in* about the table+ but ) do not at the same moment obser"e this thou*ht.
6hile the obser"ation of thin*s and e"ents+ and thin.in* about them+ are e"eryday occurrences
fillin* my on*oin* life+ obser"ation of the thou*ht itself is a .ind of e-ceptional state.
4.2 Formation Of Concept
) am definitely aware that the concept of a thin* is formed by my acti"ity+ while the feelin* of
pleasure is produced in me by an ob8ect in the same way as+ for e-ample+ a chan*e is caused in an
ob8ect by a stone that falls on it.
4. Thin!ing Contemplation Of Ob"ect
6hile ) am reflectin* on the ob8ect+ ) am absorbed in it; my attention is turned to it. To become
absorbed in the ob8ect is to contemplate by thou*ht.
4.4 Thin!ing Contemplation Of Thought
) can ne"er obser"e the present thou*ht in which ) am actually en*a*ed; only afterward can ) ma.e
the past e-perience of my thou*ht process into the ob8ect of my present thin.in*.
4.# $no% Content Of Concept
)t is possible to .now thou*ht more immediately and more intimately than any other process in the
world. 5ecause we produce it oursel"es we .now the characteristic features of its course and the
details of how the process ta.es place.
4.& 'ui(e( )* Content Of Thought
6hat ) obser"e in studyin* a thou*ht process is not which process in my brain connects the concept
li*htnin* with the concept thunder+ but my reason for brin*in* these two concepts into a specific
relationship. )ntrospection shows that in lin.in* thou*ht with thou*ht ) am *uided by the content of
my thou*hts; ) am not *uided by any physical processes in my brain. <any people today find it
difficult to *rasp the concept of pure thin.in*.
4.+ , -ro(uce .* Content Of Thought
)n thou*ht ) obser"e somethin* that ) produce. ) *i"e to my e-istence the definite+ self7determined
content of my thou*ht7acti"ity. From here ) can *o on to as. whether other thin*s e-ist in the same
or in some other way.
4./ Remain Within Realm Of Thought
6hen ) obser"e my own thou*ht what ho"ers in the bac.*round is nothin* but thou*ht. ) can
remain within the realm of thou*ht.
4.0 Create )efore $no%ing
6hat is impossible with 3ature 777creation before .nowin*777 we achie"e with thin.in*. )f we refrain
from thin.in* until we ha"e first *ained .nowled*e of it+ then we would ne"er thin. at all. 6e must
resolutely thin. strai*ht ahead and only afterward by introspecti"e analysis *ain .nowled*e of what
we ha"e done. 6e oursel"es first create the ob8ect that we are to obser"e.
4.10 1elf21upporting Thought
Thou*ht is self7supportin*+ not dependent on anythin* else. )n thou*ht we ha"e the principle of self7
subsistence. Thou*ht can be *rasped by thou*ht itself.
4.11 ,mpartial Consi(eration Of Thin!ing
6e must first consider thin.in* in an impartial way+ without reference to either a thin.in* sub8ect or
concei"ed ob8ect. 5efore anythin* else can be understood+ thou*ht must be understood.
4.12 3pplication Of Thought
Thou*ht is a fact+ and it is meanin*less to spea. of the correctness or falsehood of a fact. /t most )
can ha"e doubts about whether thou*ht is correctly applied.
top
4.0 Reflective Thin!ing
B1C 6H43 ) obser"e how a billiard ball+ when struc.+ communicates its motion to another+ ) remain
entirely without influence on the process before me. The direction and "elocity of the motion of the
second ball is determined by the direction and "elocity of the first. /s lon* as ) remain a mere spectator+ )
can say nothin* about the motion of the second ball until after it has happened. )t is 0uite different when
) be*in to reflect on the content of my obser"ations.
The purpose of my reflection is to construct concepts of the process. )
connect the concept of an elastic ball with certain other concepts of
mechanics+ and consider the special circumstances
which obtain in the instance in 0uestion. ) try+ in
other words+ to add to the process which ta.es
place without any interference+ a second process
which ta.es place in the conceptual sphere.

This latter process is dependent on me. This is shown by the fact that )
can rest content with the obser"ation+ and renounce all search for
concepts if ) ha"e no need of them. )f+ therefore+ this need is present+
then ) am not content until ) ha"e established a definite connection
amon* the concepts+ ball+ elasticity+ motion+ impact+ "elocity+ etc.+ so
that they apply to the obser"ed process in a definite way. /s surely as
the occurrence of the obser"ed process is independent of me+ so surely is the occurrence of the
conceptual process dependent on me.
For the present we wish merely to establish the fact that we constantly feel obli*ed to see. for concepts
and connections of concepts+ which stand in definite relation to the ob8ects and processes which are *i"en
independently of us. 6hether this acti"ity is really ours+ or whether
we are determined to it by an unalterable necessity+ is a 0uestion
which we need not decide at present. 6hat is un0uestionable is
that the acti"ity appears+ in the first instance+ to be ours. 6e .now
for certain that concepts are not *i"en to*ether with the ob8ects to
which they correspond. <y bein* the a*ent in the conceptual
process may be an illusion; but there is no doubt that to immediate
obser"ation ) appear to be acti"e. Our present 0uestion is9 what do
we *ain by supplementin* a process with a conceptual counterpartD
BEC There is a far7reachin* difference between the ways in which+
for me+ the parts of a process are related to one another before+
and after+ the disco"ery of the correspondin* concepts. <ere
obser"ation can trace the parts of a *i"en process as they occur+
but their connection remains obscure without the help of concepts.
) obser"e the first billiard ball mo"e towards the second in a certain
direction and with a certain "elocity. 6hat will happen after the
impact ) cannot tell in ad"ance. ) can once more only watch it
happen with my eyes.
the purpose of
my reflection is to
construct concepts
of the process
B'C 6e shall ha"e to consider later whether this acti"ity of mine really proceeds
from my own independent bein*+ or whether those modern physiolo*ists are ri*ht
who say that we cannot thin. as we will+ but that we must thin. e-actly as the
thou*hts and thou*ht7connections determine+ which happen to be in our minds at
any *i"en moment. (Cp. Ziehen, eitfaden der Physiologischen Psychologie+ (ena+
1F9E+ p. 1G1.!
Theodor Ziehen
1862 1950
6e constantly feel obli*ed to see.
for concepts.
Suppose some one obstructs my "iew of the field where the process is happenin*+ at the moment when
the impact occurs+ then+ as mere spectator+ ) remain i*norant of what *oes on. The situation is "ery
different+ if prior to the obstructin* of my "iew ) ha"e disco"ered the concepts correspondin* to the ne-us
of e"ents. )n that case ) can say what occurs+ e"en when ) am no lon*er able to obser"e. There is nothin*
in a merely obser"ed process or ob8ect to show its relation to other processes or ob8ects. This relation
becomes manifest only when obser"ation is combined with thou*ht.
B$C Obser"ation and thou*ht are the two points of departure for all the
spiritual stri"in* of man+ in so far as he is conscious of such stri"in*. The
wor.in*s of common sense+ as well as the most complicated scientific
researches+ rest on these two fundamental pillars of our minds. Philosophers
ha"e started from "arious ultimate antitheses+ )dea and Reality+ Sub8ect and
Ob8ect+ /ppearance and Thin*7in7itself+ 4*o and 3on74*o+ )dea and 6ill+ <atter and <ind+ <atter and
Force+ the :onscious and the Anconscious. )t is+ howe"er+ easy to show that all these antitheses are
subse0uent to that between obser"ation and thou*ht+ this bein* for man the most important.

B&C 6hate"er principle we choose to lay down+ we must pro"e that somewhere we ha"e obser"ed it+ or we
must enunciate it in the form of a clear concept which can be rethou*ht by any other thin.er. 4"ery
philosopher who sets out to discuss his fundamental principles+ must e-press them in conceptual form and
thus use thou*ht. He therefore indirectly admits that his acti"ity presupposes thou*ht. 6e lea"e open
here the 0uestion whether thou*ht or somethin* else is the chief factor in the de"elopment of the world.
5ut it is at any rate clear that the philosopher can *ain no .nowled*e of this de"elopment without
thou*ht. )n the occurrence of phenomena thou*ht may play a secondary part+ but it is 0uite certain that it
plays a chief part in the construction of a theory about them.
BC /s re*ards obser"ation+ our need of it is due to our or*ani?ation. Our thou*ht about a horse and the
ob8ect HhorseH are two thin*s which for us ha"e separate e-istences. The ob8ect is accessible to us only by
means of obser"ation. /s little as we can construct a concept of a horse by mere starin* at the animal+
8ust as little are we able by mere thou*ht to produce the correspondin* ob8ect.
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4.1 Observation Of Thought
BGC )n time obser"ation actually precedes thou*ht. For we become familiar with thou*ht itself in the first
instance by obser"ation. )t was essentially a description of an obser"ation when+ at the be*innin* of this
chapter+ we *a"e an account of how thou*ht is .indled by an
ob8ecti"e process and transcends the merely *i"en. 6hate"er
enters the circle of our e-periences becomes an ob8ect of
apprehension to us first throu*h obser"ation. /ll contents of
sensations+ all perceptions+ intuitions+ feelin*s+ acts of will+
dreams and fancies+ ima*es+ concepts+ ideas+ all illusions and
hallucinations+ are *i"en to us throu*h obser"ation.
BFC 5ut thou*ht as an ob8ect of obser"ation differs essentially
from all other ob8ects. The obser"ation of a table+ or a tree+
occurs in me as soon as those ob8ects appear within the
hori?on of my field of consciousness. Iet ) do not+ at the same
time+ obser"e my thou*ht about these thin*s. ) obser"e the
table+ but ) carry on a process of
thou*ht about the table without+
at the same moment+ obser"in*
this thou*ht7process. ) must first ta.e up a standpoint outside of my own
acti"ity+ if ) want to obser"e my thou*ht about the table+ as well as the table.
6hereas the obser"ation of thin*s and processes+ and the thin.in* about them+ are e"eryday occurrences
ma.in* up the continuous current of my life+ the obser"ation of the thou*ht7process itself is an
e-ceptional attitude to adopt. This fact must be ta.en into account+ when we come to determine the
relations of thou*ht as an ob8ect of obser"ation to all other ob8ects. 6e must be 0uite clear about the fact
that+ in obser"in* the thou*ht7processes+ we are applyin* to them a method+ which is our normal attitude
observation and thought
are the t!o points of
departure for all the
spiritual striving of man
the observation of the
thought"process itself is
an exceptional state
Step 19 obser"e table
Step '9 obser"e thou*ht about table
in the study of all other ob8ects in the world+ but which in the ordinary course of that study is usually not
applied to thou*ht itself.
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4.2 Formation Of Concept
B9C Some one mi*ht ob8ect that what ) ha"e said about thin.in* applies e0ually to feelin* and to all other
mental acti"ities. Thus it is said that when+ e.*.+ ) ha"e a feelin* of pleasure+ the feelin* is .indled by the
ob8ect+ but it is this ob8ect ) obser"e+ not the feelin* of pleasure. This
ob8ection howe"er is based on an error. Pleasure does not stand at all in the
same relation to its ob8ect as the concept constructed by thou*ht. ) am
conscious+ in the most positi"e way+ that the
concept of a thin* is formed throu*h my
acti"ity; whereas a feelin* of pleasure is
produced in me by an ob8ect in a way similar to
that in which+ e.*.+ a chan*e is caused in an
ob8ect by a stone which falls on it. For obser"ation+ a pleasure is *i"en in
e-actly the same way as the e"ent which causes it.

The same is not true of concepts. ) can as. why an e"ent arouses in me a
feelin* of pleasure. 5ut ) certainly cannot as. why an occurrence causes in
me a certain number of concepts. The 0uestion would be simply meanin*less.
)n thin.in* about an occurrence+ ) am not concerned with it as an effect on
me. ) learn nothin* about myself from .nowin* the concepts which
correspond to the obser"ed chan*e caused to a pane of *lass by a stone
thrown a*ainst it. 5ut ) do learn somethin* about myself when ) .now the
feelin* which a certain occurrence arouses in me. 6hen ) say of an ob8ect
which ) percei"e Hthis is a rose+H ) say absolutely nothin* about myself; but
when ) say of the same thin* that Hit causes a feelin* of pleasure in me+H )
characteri?e not only the rose+ but also myself in my relation to the rose.

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4. Thin!ing Contemplation Of Ob"ect
B1#C There can+ therefore+ be no 0uestion of puttin* thou*ht and feelin* on a le"el as ob8ects of
obser"ation. /nd the same could easily be shown of other acti"ities of the human mind. Anli.e thou*ht+
they must be classed with any other obser"ed ob8ects or e"ents.
The peculiar nature of thou*ht lies 8ust in this+ that it is an acti"ity which is directed solely on the
obser"ed ob8ect and not on the thin.in* sub8ect. This is apparent e"en from the way in which we
e-press our thou*hts about an ob8ect+ as distinct from our feelin*s
or acts of will. 6hen ) see
an ob8ect and reco*ni?e it as
a table+ ) do not as a rule
say H) am thin.in* of a
table+H but Hthis is a table.H
On the other hand+ ) do say H) am pleased with the table.H )n the
former case+ ) am not at all interested in statin* that ) ha"e
entered into a relation with the table; whereas+ in the second
case+ it is 8ust this relation which matters. )n sayin* H) am
thin.in* of a table+H ) adopt the e-ceptional point of "iew
characteri?ed abo"e+ in which somethin* is made the ob8ect of
obser"ation which is always present in our mental acti"ity+
without bein* itself normally an obser"ed ob8ect.
B11C The peculiar nature of thou*ht consists 8ust in this+ that the thin.er for*ets his thin.in* while
actually en*a*ed in it. )t is not thin.in* which occupies his attention+ but rather the ob8ect of thou*ht
which he obser"es.
/ feelin* of pleasure
causes a chan*e in me
li.e a fallin* stone causes
a chan*e in an ob8ect.
thinking is an activity !hich is
directed solely on the observed
ob#ect and not on the thinking
sub#ect
/s lon* as ) thin. about the ob8ect+ )
am absorbed in it.
the concept of a thing is
formed through my
activity
B1'C The first point+ then+ to notice about thou*ht is that it is the unobser"ed element in our ordinary
mental life.
B1EC The reason why we do not notice the thin.in* which *oes on in our ordinary mental life is no other
than this+ that it is our own acti"ity. 6hate"er ) do not myself produce appears in my field of
consciousness as an ob8ect; ) contrast it with myself as somethin* the e-istence of which is
independent of me. )t forces itself upon me. ) must accept it as the presupposition of my thin.in*. /s
lon* as ) thin. about the ob8ect+ ) am absorbed in it+ my attention is turned on it. To be thus absorbed
in the ob8ect is 8ust to contemplate it by thou*ht. ) attend not to my acti"ity+ but to its ob8ect. )n other
words whilst ) am thin.in*+ ) pay no heed to my thin.in* which is of my own ma.in*+ but only to the
ob8ect of my thin.in* which is not of my ma.in*.
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4.4 Thin!ing Contemplation Of Thought
B1$C ) am+ moreo"er+ in e-actly the same position when ) adopt the e-ceptional
point of "iew and thin. of my own thou*ht7processes. ) can ne"er obser"e my
present thou*ht+ ) can only ma.e my past e-periences of thou*ht7processes
subse0uently the ob8ects of fresh thou*hts. )f ) wanted to watch my present
thou*ht+ ) should ha"e to split myself into two persons+ one to thin.+ the other
to obser"e this thin.in*. 5ut this is impossible. ) can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The
obser"ed thou*ht7processes are ne"er those in which ) am actually en*a*ed but others. 6hether+ for this
purpose+ ) ma.e obser"ations on my own former thou*hts+ or follow the thou*ht7processes of another
person+ or finally+ as in the e-ample of the motions of the billiard balls+ assume an ima*inary thou*ht7
process+ is immaterial.
B1&C There are two thin*s which are incompatible with one another9 producti"e acti"ity and the theoretical
contemplation of that acti"ity. This is reco*ni?ed e"en in the First 5oo. of <oses. )t represents >od as
creatin* the world in the first si- days+ and only after its completion is any contemplation of the world
possible9 H/nd >od saw e"erythin* that he had made and+ behold+ it was "ery *ood.H The same applies to
our thin.in*. )t must be there first+ if we would obser"e it.
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4.# $no% Content Of Concept
B1C The reason why it is impossible to obser"e the thou*ht7process in
its actual occurrence at any *i"en moment+ is the same as that which
ma.es it possible for us to .now it more immediately and more
intimately than any other process in the world. (ust because it is our
own creation do we .now the characteristic features of its course+ the
manner in which the process+ in detail+ ta.es place. 6hat in the other
spheres of obser"ation we can disco"er only
indirectly+ "i?.+ the rele"ant ob8ecti"e ne-us
and the relations of the indi"idual ob8ects+
that is .nown to us immediately in the case
of thou*ht.
) do not .now off7hand why+ for perception+ thunder follows li*htnin*+
but ) .now immediately+ from the content of the two concepts+ why my thou*ht connects the concept of
thunder with that of li*htnin*. )t does not matter for my ar*ument whether my concepts of thunder and
li*htnin* are correct. The connection between the concepts ) ha"e is clear to me+ and that throu*h the
"ery concepts themsel"es.
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4.& 'ui(e( )* Content Of Thought
B1GC This transparent clearness in the obser"ation of our thou*ht7processes is 0uite independent of our
.nowled*e of the physiolo*ical basis of thou*ht. ) am spea.in* here of thou*ht in the sense in which it is
the ob8ect of our obser"ation of our own mental acti"ity. For this purpose it is 0uite irrele"ant how one
material process in my brain causes or influences another+ whilst ) am carryin* on a process of thou*ht.
6hat ) obser"e+ in studyin* a thou*ht7process+ is not which process in my brain connects the concept of
I can never observe
my present thought,
only my past thought
kno! thinking more
immediately and more
intimately than any
other process
thunder with that of li*htnin*+ but what is my reason for brin*in* these two concepts into a definite
relation. )ntrospection shows that+ in lin.in* thou*ht with thou*ht+ ) am *uided by their content not by
the material processes in the brain. This remar. would be 0uite superfluous in a less materialistic a*e
than ours. Today+ howe"er+ when there are people who belie"e that+ when we .now what matter is+ we
shall .now also how it thin.s+ it is necessary to affirm the possibility of spea.in* of thou*ht without
trespassin* on the domain of brain physiolo*y.
6hoe"er cannot transcend <aterialism lac.s the ability to throw himself into the e-ceptional attitude )
ha"e described+ in which he becomes conscious of what in all other mental acti"ity remains unconscious.
)t is as useless to discuss thou*ht with one who is not willin* to adopt this attitude+ as it would be to
discuss colour with a blind man. Jet him not ima*ine+ howe"er+ that we re*ard physiolo*ical processes as
thou*ht. He fails to e-plain thou*ht+ because he is not e"en aware that it is there.
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4.+ , -ro(uce .* Content Of Thought
B1FC For e"ery one+ howe"er+ who has the ability to obser"e thou*ht+ and with *ood will e"ery normal man
has this ability+ this obser"ation is the most important he can ma.e. For he obser"es somethin* which he
himself produces. He is not confronted by what is to be*in with a stran*e ob8ect+ but by his own acti"ity.
He .nows how that which he obser"es has come to be. He percei"es clearly its connections and relations.
He *ains a firm point from which he can+ with well7founded hopes+ see. an e-planation of the other
phenomena of the world.
B19C The feelin* that he had found such a firm foundation+
induced the father of modern philosophy+ =escartes+ to base the
whole of human .nowled*e on the principle H) thin.+ therefore )
am.H /ll other thin*s+ all other processes+ are independent of me.
6hether they be truth+ or illusion+ or dream+ ) .now not. There is
only one thin* of which ) am absolutely certain+ for ) myself am
the author of its indubitable e-istence; and that is my thou*ht.
6hate"er other ori*in it may ha"e
in addition+ whether it come from
>od or from elsewhere+ of one thin*
) am sure+ that it e-ists in the sense
that ) myself produce it. =escartes
had+ to be*in with+ no 8ustification for readin* any other meanin* into his
principle. /ll he had a ri*ht to assert was that+ in apprehendin* myself as
thin.in*+ ) apprehend myself+ within the world7system+ in that acti"ity
which is most uni0uely characteristic of me.
6hat the added words Htherefore ) amH are intended to mean has been much debated. They can ha"e a
meanin* on one condition only. The simplest assertion ) can ma.e of a thin* is+ that it is+ that it e-ists.
6hat .ind of e-istence+ in detail+ it has+ can in no case be determined on the spot+ as soon as the thin*
<any people today find it difficult to *rasp the concept
of thou*ht in its purity. /nyone who challen*es the
account of thou*ht which ) ha"e *i"en here+ by 0uotin*
:abanis, statement that Hthe brain secretes thou*hts as
the li"er does *all or the spittle7*lands spittle+ etc.H
simply does not .now of what ) am tal.in*. He attempts
to disco"er thou*ht by the same method of mere obser"ation which we apply to
the other ob8ects that ma.e up the world. 5ut he cannot find it in this way+
because+ as ) ha"e shown+ it eludes 8ust this ordinary obser"ation.
Jean Cabani
1757-1808
many people today
find it difficult to
grasp the concept of
pure thinking
there is only one thing of
!hich I am absolutely
certain, for I myself am
the author of its
indubitable existence$
and that is my thought
Rene De!ar"e
15961650
enters within the hori?on of my e-perience. 4ach ob8ect must be studied in its relations to others+ before
we can determine the sense in which we can spea. of its e-istence. /n e-perienced process may be a
comple- of percepts+ or it may be a dream+ an hallucination+ etc. )n short+ ) cannot say in what sense it
e-ists. ) can ne"er read off the .ind of e-istence from the process itself+ for ) can disco"er it only when )
consider the process in its relation to other thin*s. 5ut this+ a*ain+ yields me no .nowled*e beyond 8ust its
relation to other thin*s.
<y in0uiry touches firm *round only when ) find an ob8ect+ the reason of the e-istence of which ) can
*ather from itself. Such an ob8ect ) am myself in so far as ) thin.+ for ) 0ualify my e-istence by the
determinate and self7contained content of my thou*ht7acti"ity. From here ) can *o on to as. whether
other thin*s e-ist in the same or in some other sense.
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4./ Remain Within Thought
B'#C 6hen thou*ht is made an ob8ect of obser"ation+ somethin* which usually
escapes our attention is added to the other obser"ed contents of the world.
5ut the usual manner of obser"ation+ such as is employed also for other
ob8ects+ is in no way altered. 6e add to the number of ob8ects of obser"ation+
but not to the number of methods. 6hen we are obser"in* other thin*s+ there
enters amon* the world7processes Kamon* which ) now include obser"ation
K one process which is o"erloo.ed. There is present somethin* different from
e"ery other .ind of process+ somethin* which is not ta.en into account. 5ut
when ) ma.e an ob8ect of my own thin.in*+ there is no such ne*lected
element present. For what lur.s now in the bac.*round is 8ust thou*ht itself
o"er a*ain. The ob8ect of obser"ation is 0ualitati"ely identical with the acti"ity
directed upon it. This is another characteristic feature of thou*ht7processes.
6hen we ma.e them ob8ects of obser"ation+ we are not compelled to do so
with the help of somethin* 0ualitati"ely different+ but can remain within the
realm of thou*ht.
B'1C 6hen ) wea"e a tissue of thou*hts round an independently *i"en ob8ect+ ) transcend my obser"ation+
and the 0uestion then arises+ what ri*ht ha"e ) to do thisD 6hy do ) not passi"ely let the ob8ect impress
itself on meD How is it possible for my thou*ht to be rele"antly related to the ob8ectD These are 0uestions
which e"ery one must put to himself who reflects on his own thou*ht7processes. 5ut all these 0uestions
lapse when we thin. about thou*ht itself. 6e then add nothin* to our thou*ht that is forei*n to it+ and
therefore ha"e no need to 8ustify any such addition.
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4.0 Create )efore $no%ing
B''C Schellin* says9 HTo .now 3ature means to create 3ature.H )f we ta.e
these words of the darin* philosopher of 3ature literally+ we shall ha"e to
renounce for e"er all hope of *ainin* .nowled*e of 3ature. For 3ature after all
e-ists+ and if we ha"e to create it o"er a*ain+ we must .now the principles
accordin* to which it has ori*inated in the first instance. 6e should ha"e to
borrow from 3ature as it e-ists the conditions of e-istence for the 3ature
which we are about to create. 5ut this borrowin*+ which would ha"e to
precede the creatin*+ would be a .nowin* of 3ature+ and that e"en if after the
borrowin* no creation at all were attempted. The only .ind of 3ature which it
would be possible to create without pre"ious .nowled*e+ would be a 3ature
different from the e-istin* one.
B'EC 6hat is impossible with 3ature+ "i?.+ creation prior to
.nowled*e+ that we accomplish in the act of thou*ht. 6ere we to
refrain from thin.in* until we had first *ained .nowled*e of it+ we
should ne"er thin. at all. 6e must resolutely thin. strai*ht ahead+
and then afterwards by introspecti"e analysis *ain .nowled*e of
-ure Thin!ing
Friedri!h S!he##in$
1775-1854
%e must resolutely think straight
ahead, and then after!ards by
introspective analysis gain
kno!ledge of our o!n processes
our own processes. Thus we oursel"es create the thou*ht7processes which we then ma.e ob8ects of
obser"ation. The e-istence of all other ob8ects is pro"ided for us without any acti"ity on our part.
B'$C <y contention that we must thin. before we can ma.e thou*ht an ob8ect of .nowled*e+ mi*ht easily
be countered by the apparently e0ually "alid contention that we cannot wait with di*estin* until we ha"e
first obser"ed the process of di*estion. This ob8ection would be similar to that brou*ht by Pascal a*ainst
=escartes+ when he asserted we mi*ht also say H) wal.+ therefore ) am.H :ertainly ) must di*est resolutely
and not wait until ) ha"e studied the physiolo*ical process of di*estion. 5ut ) could only compare this with
the analysis of thou*ht if+ after di*estion+ ) set myself+ not to analyse it by thou*ht+ but to eat and di*est
it. )t is not without reason that+ while di*estion cannot become the ob8ect of di*estion+ thou*ht can "ery
well become the ob8ect of thou*ht.
B'&C This then is indisputable+ that in thin.in* we ha"e *ot hold of one bit of the world7process which
re0uires our presence if anythin* is to happen. /nd that is the "ery point that matters. The "ery reason
why thin*s seem so pu??lin* is 8ust that ) play no part in their production. They are simply *i"en to me+
whereas ) .now how thou*ht is produced. Hence there can be no more fundamental startin*7point than
thou*ht from which to re*ard all world7processes.
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4.10 1elf21upporting Thought
B'C ) should li.e still to mention a widely current error which pre"ails with re*ard to thou*ht. )t is often
said that thou*ht+ in its real nature+ is ne"er e-perienced. The thou*ht7processes which connect our
perceptions with one another+ and wea"e about them a networ. of concepts+ are not at all the same as
those which our analysis afterwards e-tracts from the ob8ects of perception+ in order to ma.e them the
ob8ect of study. 6hat we ha"e unconsciously wo"en into thin*s is+ so we are told+ somethin* widely
different from what subse0uent analysis reco"ers out of them.
B'GC Those who hold this "iew do not see that it is impossible to escape from thou*ht. ) cannot *et
outside thou*ht when ) want to obser"e it. 6e should ne"er for*et that the distinction between thou*ht
which *oes on unconsciously and thou*ht which is consciously analysed+ is a purely e-ternal one and
irrele"ant to our discussion. ) do not in any way alter a thin* by ma.in* it an ob8ect of thou*ht.
) can well ima*ine that a bein* with 0uite different sense7or*ans+ and with a differently constructed
intelli*ence+ would ha"e a "ery different idea of a horse from mine+ but ) cannot thin. that my own
thou*ht becomes different because ) ma.e it an ob8ect of .nowled*e. )
myself obser"e my own processes. 6e are not tal.in* here of how my
thou*ht7processes appear to an intelli*ence different from mine+ but how
they appear to me. )n any case+ the idea which another mind forms of my
thou*ht cannot be truer than the one which ) form myself. Only if the
thou*ht7processes were not my own+ but the acti"ity of a bein* 0uite
different from me+ could ) maintain that+ notwithstandin* my formin* a
definite idea of these thou*ht7processes+ their real nature was beyond my
comprehension.
B'FC So far+ there is not the sli*htest reason why ) should re*ard my
thou*ht from any other point of "iew than my own. ) contemplate the rest
of the world by means of thou*ht. How should ) ma.e of my thou*ht an
e-ceptionD
B'9C ) thin. ) ha"e *i"en sufficient reasons for ma.in* thou*ht the
startin*7point for my theory of the world. 6hen /rchimedes had
disco"ered the le"er+ he thou*ht he could lift the whole cosmos out of its
hin*es+ if only he could find a point of support for his instrument. He needed a point which was self7
supportin*. )n thou*ht we ha"e a principle which is self7subsistin*. Jet us try+ therefore+ to understand
the world startin* with thou*ht as our basis. Thou*ht can be *rasped by thou*ht. The 0uestion is whether
by thou*ht we can also *rasp somethin* other than thou*ht.
/rchimedes needed a point
which was self7supportin*. )n
thou*ht we ha"e a principle
which is self7subsistin*.
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4.11 ,mpartial Consi(eration Of Thin!ing
BE#C ) ha"e so far spo.en of thou*ht without ta.in* any account of its "ehicle+ the human consciousness.
<ost present7day philosophers would ob8ect that+ before there can be thou*ht+ there must be
consciousness. Hence we ou*ht to start+ not from thou*ht+ but from consciousness. There is no thou*ht+
they say without consciousness. )n reply ) would ur*e that+ in order to clear up the relation between
thou*ht and consciousness+ ) must thin. about it. Hence ) presuppose thou*ht. One mi*ht+ it is true+
retort that+ thou*h a philosopher who wishes to understand thou*ht+ naturally ma.es use of thou*ht+ and
so far presupposes it+ in the ordinary course of life thou*ht arises within consciousness and therefore
presupposes that. 6ere this answer *i"en to the world7creator+ when he was about to create thou*ht+ it
would+ without doubt+ be to the point. Thou*ht cannot+ of course+ come into bein* before consciousness.
The philosopher+ howe"er+ is not concerned with the creation of the world+ but with the understandin* of
it. Hence he is in search of the startin*7point+ not for creation+ but with the understandin* of the world.
)t seems to me "ery stran*e that philosophers are reproached for troublin* themsel"es+ abo"e all+ about
the correctness of their principles+ instead of turnin* strai*ht to the ob8ects which they see. to
understand. The world7creator had abo"e all to .now how to find a "ehicle for thou*ht+ the philosopher
must see. a firm basis for the understandin* of what is *i"en. 6hat does it help us to start with
consciousness and ma.e it an ob8ect of thou*ht+ if we ha"e not first in0uired how far it is possible at all to
*ain any .nowled*e of thin*s by thou*htD
Hence+ in order to e-plain the world by means of concepts+ we cannot
start from the elements of e-istence which came first in time+ but we
must be*in with those which are nearest and most intimately connected
with us. 6e cannot+ with a leap+ transport oursel"es to the be*innin* of
the world+ in order to be*in our analysis there+ but we must start from
the present and see whether we cannot ad"ance from the later to the
earlier. /s lon* as >eolo*y fabled fantastic re"olutions to account for the
present state of the earth+ it *roped in dar.ness. )t was only when it
be*an to study the processes at present at wor. on the earth+ and from
these to ar*ue bac. to the past+ that it *ained a firm foundation.
/s lon* as Philosophy assumes all sorts of principles+ such as atom+ motion+ matter+ will+ the unconscious+
it will han* in the air. The philosopher can reach his *oal only if he adopts that which is last in time as first
in his theory. This absolutely last in the world7process is thou*ht.
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4.12 3pplication Of Thought
BE'C There are people who say it is impossible to ascertain with certainty whether
thou*ht is ri*ht or wron*+ and that+ so far+ our startin*7point is a doubtful one. )t
would be 8ust as intelli*ent to raise doubts as to whether a tree is in itself ri*ht or
wron*. Thou*ht is a fact+ and it is meanin*less to spea. of the truth or falsity of
a fact. ) can+ at most+ be in doubt as to whether thou*ht is ri*htly employed+ 8ust
as ) can doubt whether a certain tree supplies wood adapted to the ma.in* of this or that useful ob8ect. )t
is 8ust the purpose of this boo. to show how far the application of thou*ht to the world is ri*ht or wron*. )
can understand anyone doubtin* whether+ by means of thou*ht+ we can *ain any .nowled*e of the world+
but it is unintelli*ible to me how anyone can doubt that thou*ht in itself is ri*ht.
BE1C 6e must first consider thou*ht 0uite impartially without relation to a
thin.in* sub8ect or to an ob8ect of thou*ht. For sub8ect and ob8ect are both
concepts constructed by thou*ht. There is no denyin* that thou*ht must be
understood before anythin* else can be understood. 6hoe"er denies this+ fails to
realise that man is not the first lin. in the chain of creation but the last.
thought must be
understood before
anything else can
be understood
I can, at most, be in
doubt as to !hether
thought is rightly
applied
/s lon* as >eolo*y fabled
fantastic re"olutions to
account for the present state
of the earth+ it *roped in
dar.ness.
CHAPTER
5
WORLD AS
PERCEPT
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
revised 04/05/0! "oernle tr#nsl#tion $!%!&' (ote) Repl#ced *ide#* with *ment#l picture*
V
THE WORLD AS PERCEPT
+ourn#l
What is this chapter about? This chapter gives the principles of perception by describing the
relationship of perception to thought. Our thinking immediately reacts to our observation and an
element of thought is added to our perceptions. Knowledge can end up consisting merely of
extracting the thoughts we have already unconsciously added, rather than anything new.
A new term percept is given and used from now on. A percept is not the process of perception, but
rather the thing that is being perceived. A percept is anything that we consciously apprehend within
our field of perceived things. !ercept is everything we become aware of that approaches us
through the senses or through the mind before it has been grasped by the actively elaborated
concept, such as all contents of sensations, all perceptions, intuitions, feelings, acts of will, dreams
and imaginations, mental pictures, concepts, ideas, all illusions and hallucinations.
What is its value? This chapter presents the cognitive challenge of a sense perceptible world filled
with our preconceptions and incorrect application of thinking. !ast memory pictures insert
themselves between ourself and the world. The next chapter describes how a deeper penetration
into the world by intuition discovers concepts that correspond to our observations, allowing escape
from the mental picture dream state of this chapter.
,hile it is true - c#n .now thou/ht itself0 the 1uestion rem#ins whether - c#n #pply thou/ht correctly
to the world. To #nswer this 1uestion we need to e2#mine the process of perception to see wh#t it is
th#t presents itself to us for observ#tion0 is it ob3ective or sub3ective4
,h#t is it - perceive of the world4 (#ive common sense believes th#t #n ob3ect0 such #s # tree is
ob3ective0 e2istin/ independent of my mind. The tree st#nds in the form th#t - see it0 with the
v#rious colors of its p#rts0 there on the spot - observe.

"owever0 since childhood0 - h#ve /r#du#lly built up concepts of the ob3ects th#t surround me0 such
#s the concept 5tree6. 7t #ny moment the content of my consciousness will #lre#dy be interwoven
with concepts in the most v#ried w#ys. These concepts #re #dded to my observ#tions. ,hen - see #
tree0 my thin.in/ immedi#tely re#cts #nd #dds # conceptu#l element to the observ#tion. ,h#t first
consciously #ppe#rs to me #s the tree #lre#dy cont#ins thou/ht or preconceptions #dded by
thin.in/.

,hen the tree dis#ppe#rs from si/ht0 # ment#l picture of the tree rem#ins. 7s # p#rt of myself0 this
inner ment#l picture is obviously sub3ective. 8ritic#l science #lso c#lls the perception itself sub3ective
b#sed on their study of the perception process. Physics0 Physiolo/y0 #nd Psycholo/y te#ch us th#t
my observ#tion of the tree is sub3ective bec#use it is dependent on my or/#ni9#tion. To perceive #n
e2tern#l ob3ect in the world it first stimul#tes my sense or/#ns which sends # si/n#l throu/h the
nerves to the br#in where my mind constructs the perception th#t #ppe#rs to me #s thou/h it e2ists
outside in sp#ce. (othin/ of wh#t w#s outside #nd first stimul#ted my senses rem#ins in wh#t is now
perceived by me #ccordin/ to this physiolo/ic#l proof. Thus0 the critic#l scientist considers my
perception of the tree0 not #s somethin/ independent of me0 but #s # product of my mind0 # ment#l
represent#tion. So we c#nnot .now #nythin/ #bout e2tern#l ob3ects themselves $thin/:in:itself'0 we
c#n only .now our ment#l represent#tions or ment#l pictures since this is #ll we re#lly perceive.

The (#;ve Re#list believes his perception is ob3ective0 3ust #s it #ppe#rs independent of the observer0
bec#use he does not notice the thou/ht th#t h#s been #dded to his perception.

The 8ritic#l -de#list believes the opposite0 his perception is # sub3ective product of his mind. The
ori/in#l ob3ect is lost in the perception process. ,hen we observe somethin/0 # ment#l picture
inserts itself between the supposedly re#l ob3ect #nd the observer. -t is cl#imed th#t the world is my
ment#l picture. The problem of .nowled/e is then concerned with wh#t lies outside our
consciousness #nd is independent of us $thin/:in:itself'. "e #s.s) "ow much c#n we le#rn #bout it
indirectly0 seein/ th#t we c#nnot observe it directly4
Study Topics
principles of perception
5.0 Reactive Thinking
,hen we see # tree0 our thin.in/ re#cts to our observ#tion< # conceptu#l element comes to the
ob3ect0 #nd we consider the ob3ect #nd the conceptu#l counterp#rt #s belon/in/ to/ether. 8oncepts
#re #dded to observ#tion.
5.1 Conceptual Search
- first se#rch for the concept th#t fits my observ#tion. Someone who does not reflect further0
observes0 #nd is content to le#ve it #t th#t. - c#n never /#in the concept by mere observ#tion0 no
m#tter how m#ny c#ses - m#y observe.
5. 2 Conceptual Reference
,hen - #s thin.in/ sub3ect0 refer # concept to #n ob3ect0 we must not re/#rd this reference #s
somethin/ purely sub3ective. -t is not the sub3ect th#t m#.es the reference0 but thin.in/.
5 .3 Conceptual Relationship
Thin.in/ is #ble to dr#w thre#ds from one element of observ#tion to #nother. -t connects specific
concepts with these elements #nd in this w#y brin/s them into # rel#tionship with e#ch other.
5 . Correction !f "# $icture !f Worl%
=very bro#denin/ of the circle of my perceptions compels me to correct the picture - h#ve of the
world. ,e see this in everyd#y life0 #s well #s in the intellectu#l development of hum#n.ind.
5. 5 "athe&atical 'n% (ualitative $ercept)$icture
- should li.e to c#ll the dependence of my perception:picture on my pl#ce of observ#tion0
>m#them#tic#l>0 #nd its dependence on my or/#ni9#tion0 >1u#lit#tive.> The first determines the
proportions of si9e #nd mutu#l dist#nces of my perceptions0 the second their 1u#lity.
5. * Sub+ective $ercept)$icture
The reco/nition of the sub3ective ch#r#cter of our perceptions c#n le#d to doubt whether #nythin/
ob3ective underlies them. From this point of view0 nothin/ is left of the perception when we t#.e
#w#y the #ct of perceivin/.
5 ., "ental $icture- 'fter)effect !f !bservation
,hen the tree dis#ppe#rs from my field of vision0 #n #fter:effect rem#ins in my consciousness) #
picture of the tree. This element - c#ll my mental picture0 my represent#tion of the tree.
5. . "ental $icture- Cause% /# 0nkno1n Thing)2n)2tself
The ?#nti#n view limits our .nowled/e of the world to our ment#l pictures0 not bec#use it is
convinced th#t nothin/ c#n e2ist beyond these ment#l pictures0 but r#ther it believes us to be so
or/#ni9ed th#t we c#n only e2perience the ch#n/e in our own Self0 not the thin/:in:itself th#t c#uses
this ch#n/e.
5. 3 "ental $icture- What "# !rgani4ation Trans&its
Physics0 Physiolo/y0 #nd Psycholo/y seem to te#ch th#t our or/#ni9#tion is necess#ry for our
perceptions0 #nd th#t0 conse1uently0 we c#n .now nothin/ e2cept wh#t our or/#ni9#tion tr#nsmits to
us from the thin/s.
5. 10 $erceive% Worl% 2s ' $ro+ection !f Soul (ualities
7ll of the 1u#lities th#t we perceive in the world #re the product of the soul #nd tr#nsferred to the
e2tern#l world.
5. 11 56ternal $erception 2s "ental $icture
- must consider the t#ble0 @which - used to believe h#d #n effect on me #nd produced # ment#l
picture of itself in me@ #s bein/ itself # ment#l picture. -f everythin/ is # ment#l picture then they
could h#ve no effect on e#ch other.
5. 12 !b+ective 56istence !f !1n !rganis&
"e would0 to be consistent0 h#ve to re/#rd his own or/#nism #lso #s # comple2 of ment#l pictures.
Aut this removes the possibility of re/#rdin/ the content of the perceptu#l world #s # product of the
mind*s or/#ni9#tion. Only my re#l eye could h#ve the ment#l pictures >sun> #nd >e#rth>.
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5.0 Reactive Thinking
B!C T"= products of thin.in/ #re concepts #nd ide#s. ,h#t # concept is c#nnot be
e2pressed in words. ,ords c#n do no more th#n dr#w our #ttention to the f#ct
th#t we h#ve concepts. ,hen some one perceives #
tree0 the perception #cts #s # stimulus for thou/ht.
Thus #n ide#l element is #dded to the perceived ob3ect0
#nd the perceiver re/#rds the ob3ect #nd its ide#l
complement #s belon/in/ to/ether. ,hen the ob3ect
dis#ppe#rs from the field of his perception0 the ide#l counterp#rt #lone rem#ins.
This l#tter is the concept of the ob3ect.
The wider the r#n/e of our e2perience0 the l#r/er becomes the number of our
concepts. Doreover0 concepts #re not by #ny me#ns found in isol#tion one from
the other. They combine to form #n ordered #nd system#tic whole. The concept
>or/#nism0> e./.0 combines with those of >development #ccordin/ to l#w0>
>/rowth0> #nd others. Other concepts b#sed on p#rticul#r ob3ects fuse completely with one #nother. 7ll
concepts formed from p#rticul#r lions fuse in the univers#l concept >lion.> -n this w#y0 #ll the sep#r#te
concepts combine to form # closed0 conceptu#l system within which e#ch h#s its speci#l pl#ce. -de#s do
not differ 1u#lit#tively from concepts. They #re but fuller0 more s#tur#ted0 more comprehensive concepts.
- #tt#ch speci#l import#nce to the necessity of be#rin/ in mind here0 th#t - m#.e thou/ht my st#rtin/:
point0 #nd not concepts #nd ide#s which #re first /#ined by me#ns of thou/ht. These l#tter presuppose
thou/ht. Dy rem#r.s re/#rdin/ the self:dependent0 self:sufficient ch#r#cter of thou/ht c#nnot0 therefore0
be simply tr#nsferred to concepts. $- m#.e speci#l mention of this0 bec#use it is here th#t - differ from
"e/el0 who re/#rds the concept #s somethin/ prim#ry #nd ultim#te.'
BC 8oncepts c#nnot be derived from perception. This is #pp#rent from the f#ct th#t0 #s m#n /rows up0 he
slowly #nd /r#du#lly builds up the concepts correspondin/ to the ob3ects which surround him. 8oncepts
#re #dded to perception.
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5.1 Conceptual Search
BEC 7 philosopher0 widely re#d #t the present d#y $"erbert
Spencer'0 describes the ment#l process which we perform upon
perception #s follows)
B4C >-f0 when w#l.in/ throu/h the fields some d#y in September0
you he#r # rustle # few y#rds in #dv#nce0 #nd on observin/ the
ditch:side where it occurs0 see the herb#/e #/it#ted0 you will
prob#bly turn tow#rds the spot to le#rn by wh#t this sound #nd
when we see a tree,
our thinking reacts to
our observation
8oncepts 8ombine
motion #re produced. 7s you #ppro#ch there flutters into the ditch # p#rtrid/e< on seein/ which your
curiosity is s#tisfied @you h#ve wh#t you c#ll #n e2pl#n#tion of the #ppe#r#nces. The e2pl#n#tion0
m#r.0 #mounts to this@ th#t where#s throu/hout life you h#ve h#d countless e2periences of
disturb#nce #mon/ sm#ll st#tion#ry bodies0 #ccomp#nyin/ the movement of other bodies #mon/ them0
#nd h#ve /ener#li9ed the rel#tion between such disturb#nces #nd such movements0 you consider this
p#rticul#r disturb#nce e2pl#ined on findin/ it to present #n inst#nce of the li.e rel#tion> $"irst !rinciples0
P#rt -0 p#r. E'.
7 closer #n#lysis le#ds to # very
different description from th#t here
/iven. ,hen - he#r # noise my first
dem#nd is for the concept which fits
this percept. ,ithout this concept the
noise is to me # mere noise. ,hoever
does not reflect further0 he#rs 3ust the
noise #nd is s#tisfied with th#t. Aut my
thou/ht m#.es it cle#r to me th#t the
noise is to be re/#rded #s #n effect.
Thus it is only when - combine the
concept of effect with the percept of #
noise th#t - #m led to /o beyond the
p#rticul#r percept #nd see. for its
c#use. The concept of >effect> c#lls up
th#t of >c#use0> #nd my ne2t step is to
loo. for the #/ent0 which - find0 s#y0 in
# p#rtrid/e. Aut these concepts0 c#use
#nd effect0 c#n never be /#ined throu/h mere perception0 however m#ny inst#nces we brin/ under
review. Perception evo.es thou/ht0 #nd it is this which shows me how to lin. sep#r#te e2periences
to/ether.
B5C -f one dem#nds of # >strictly ob3ective science> th#t it should t#.e its d#t# from perception #lone0 one
must dem#nd #lso th#t it #b#ndon #ll thou/ht. For thou/ht0 by its very n#ture0 tr#nscends the ob3ects of
perception.
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5.2 Conceptual Reference
B&C -t is time now to p#ss from thou/ht to the thin.er. For it is throu/h the thin.er th#t thou/ht #nd
perception #re combined. The hum#n mind is the st#/e on which concept #nd percept meet #nd #re lin.ed
to one #nother. -n s#yin/ this0 we #lre#dy ch#r#cteri9e this $hum#n' consciousness. -t medi#tes between
thou/ht #nd perception. -n perception the ob3ect #ppe#rs #s /iven0 in thou/ht the mind seems to itself to
be #ctive. -t re/#rds the thin/ #s ob3ect #nd itself #s the thin.in/ sub3ect. ,hen thou/ht is directed upon
the perceptu#l world we h#ve consciousness of ob3ects< when it is directed upon itself we h#ve self:
consciousness. "um#n consciousness must0 of necessity0 be #t the s#me time self:consciousness0 bec#use
it is # consciousness which thin.s. For when thou/ht contempl#tes its own #ctivity it m#.es #n ob3ect for
study of its own essenti#l n#ture0 it m#.es #n ob3ect of itself #s sub3ect.
BFC -t is import#nt to note here th#t it is only by me#ns of thou/ht th#t - #m #ble
to determine myself #s sub3ect #nd contr#st myself with ob3ects. Therefore
thou/hts must never be re/#rded #s # merely sub3ective #ctivity. Thin.in/
tr#nscends the distinction of sub3ect #nd ob3ect. -t produces these two concepts
3ust #s it produces #ll others. ,hen0 therefore0 -0 #s thin.in/ sub3ect0 refer #
concept to #n ob3ect0 we must not re/#rd this reference #s somethin/ purely sub3ective. -t is not the
sub3ect0 but thou/ht0 which m#.es the reference. The sub3ect does not thin. bec#use it is # sub3ect0
r#ther it conceives itself to be # sub3ect bec#use it c#n thin.. The #ctivity of
consciousness0 in so f#r #s it thin.s0 is thus not merely sub3ective. R#ther it is
neither sub3ective nor ob3ective< it tr#nscends both these concepts. - ou/ht never
to s#y th#t -0 #s #n individu#l sub3ect0 thin.0 but r#ther th#t -0 #s sub3ect0 e2ist
myself by the /r#ce of thou/ht. Thou/ht thus t#.es me out of myself #nd rel#tes
#, as sub$ect, exist
myself by the grace
of thought
it is not the sub$ect,
but thought, which
makes the
reference
me to ob3ects. 7t the s#me time it sep#r#tes me from them0 in#smuch #s -0 #s sub3ect0 #m set over
#/#inst the ob3ects.
BGC -t is 3ust this which constitutes the double n#ture of m#n. "is thou/ht embr#ces himself #nd the rest
of the world. Aut by this s#me #ct of thou/ht he determines himself #lso #s #n individu#l0 in contr#st with
the ob3ective world.
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5.3 Conceptual Relationship
B%C ,e must ne2t #s. ourselves how the other element0 which we h#ve so f#r simply c#lled the perceptu#l
ob3ect #nd which comes0 in consciousness0 into cont#ct with thou/ht0 enters into thou/ht #t #ll4
B!0C -n order to #nswer this 1uestion we must elimin#te from the field of
consciousness everythin/ which h#s been imported by thou/ht. For0 #t
#ny moment0 the content of consciousness is #lw#ys shot throu/h with
concepts in the most v#rious w#ys.
B!!C Het us #ssume th#t # bein/ with fully developed hum#n intelli/ence
ori/in#ted out of nothin/ #nd confronted the world. 7ll th#t it there
perceived before its thou/ht be/#n to #ct would be the pure content of
perception. The world so f#r would #ppe#r to this bein/ #s # mere ch#otic
#//re/#te of sense:d#t#0 colours0 sounds0 sens#tions of pressure0 of
w#rmth0 of t#ste0 of smell0 #nd0 l#stly0 feelin/s of ple#sure #nd p#in. This
m#ss constitutes the world of pure unthin.in/ perception. Over #/#inst it
st#nds thou/ht0 re#dy to be/in its #ctivity #s soon #s it c#n find # point of
#tt#c.. =2perience shows th#t the opportunity is
not lon/ in comin/. Thou/ht is #ble to dr#w thre#ds from one sense:d#tum to
#nother. -t brin/s definite concepts to be#r on these d#t# #nd thus est#blishes #
rel#tion between them. ,e h#ve seen #bove how # noise which we he#r is
connected with #nother content by our identifyin/ the first #s the effect of the
second.
B!C -f now we recollect th#t the #ctivity of thou/ht is on no #ccount to be considered #s merely
sub3ective0 then we sh#ll not be tempted to believe th#t the rel#tions thus est#blished by thou/ht h#ve
merely sub3ective v#lidity.
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5. Correction !f "# $icture !f Worl%
B!EC Our ne2t t#s. is to discover by me#ns of thou/ht wh#t rel#tion the #bove:mentioned immedi#te
sense:d#t# h#ve to the conscious sub3ect.

B!4C The #mbi/uity of current speech m#.es it #dvis#ble for me to come to #n
#/reement with my re#ders concernin/ the me#nin/ of # word which - sh#ll
h#ve to employ in wh#t follows. - sh#ll #pply the n#me >percepts> to the
immedi#te sense:d#t# enumer#ted #bove0 in so f#r #s the sub3ect consciously
#pprehends them. -t is0 then0 not the process of perception0 but the ob3ect of this process which - c#ll the
>percept>.
B!5C - re3ect the term >sens#tion0> bec#use this h#s # definite me#nin/ in Physiolo/y which is n#rrower
th#n th#t of my term >percept.> - c#n spe#. of feelin/ #s # percept0 but not #s # sens#tion in the
physiolo/ic#l sense of the term. Aefore - c#n h#ve co/nis#nce of my feelin/ it must become # percept for
me. The m#nner in which0 throu/h observ#tion0 we /#in .nowled/e of our thou/ht:processes is such th#t
when we first be/in to notice thou/ht0 it too m#y be c#lled # percept.
B!&C The unreflective m#n re/#rds his percepts0 such #s they #ppe#r to his immedi#te #pprehension0 #s
thin/s h#vin/ # wholly independent e2istence. ,hen he sees # tree he believes th#t it st#nds in the form
which he sees0 with the colours of #ll its p#rts0 etc.0 there on the spot tow#rds which his /#9e is directed.
,hen the s#me m#n sees the sun in the mornin/ #ppe#r #s # disc on the hori9on0 #nd follows the course
of this disc0 he believes th#t the phenomenon e2ists #nd occurs $by itself' e2#ctly #s he perceives it. To
Pure Inthin.in/ Perception
thought is able to
draw threads from
one sense%datum to
another
percept- conscious
#pprehension of sense
d#t#0 feelin/0 thou/ht...
this belief he clin/s until he meets with further percepts which contr#dict his former ones. The child who
h#s #s yet h#d no e2perience of dist#nce /r#sps #t the moon0 #nd does not correct its first impression #s
to the re#l dist#nce until # second percept contr#dicts the first.
7 m#n who h#d been born blind s#id0 when oper#ted on by Jr. Fr#n90 th#t the picture of the si9e of
ob3ects which he h#d formed before his oper#tion by his sense of touch w#s # very different one. "e h#d
to correct his t#ctu#l percepts by his visu#l percepts.
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5.5 "athe&atical 'n% (ualitative $ercept)$icture
B!FC "ow is it th#t we #re compelled to m#.e these
continu#l corrections in our observ#tions4
B!GC 7 sin/le reflection supplies the #nswer to this
1uestion. ,hen - st#nd #t one end of #n #venue0 the
trees #t the other end0 #w#y from me0 seem sm#ller #nd
ne#rer to/ether th#n those where - st#nd. Aut the scene
which - perceive ch#n/es when - ch#n/e the pl#ce from
which - #m loo.in/. The e2#ct form in which it presents
itself to me is0 therefore0 dependent on # condition which
inheres0 not in the ob3ect0 but in me0 the percipient. -t is
#ll the s#me to the #venue where - st#nd. Aut the
picture of it which - receive depends essenti#lly on my
st#ndpoint. -n the s#me w#y it m#.es no difference to the sun #nd the pl#net#ry system th#t hum#n
bein/s h#ppen to perceive them from the e#rth< but the picture of the he#vens which hum#n bein/s h#ve
is determined by the f#ct th#t they inh#bit the e#rth.

This dependence of our percepts on our points of observ#tion is the e#siest .ind of dependence to
underst#nd. The m#tter becomes more difficult when we re#li9e further th#t our perceptu#l world is
dependent on our bodily #nd ment#l or/#ni9#tion. The physicist te#ches us th#t within the sp#ce in which
we he#r # sound there #re vibr#tions of the #ir0 #nd th#t there #re vibr#tions #lso in the p#rticles of the
body which we re/#rd #s the c#use of the sound. These vibr#tions #re perceived #s sounds only if we h#ve
norm#lly constructed e#rs. ,ithout them the whole world would be for us for ever silent. 7/#in0 the
physiolo/ist te#ches us th#t there #re men who perceive nothin/ of the wonderful displ#y of colours which
surrounds us. -n their world there #re only de/rees of li/ht #nd d#r.. Others #re blind only to one colour0
e./.0 red. Their world l#c.s this colour tone0 #nd hence it is #ctu#lly # different one from th#t of the
#ver#/e m#n.
- should li.e to c#ll the dependence of my perceptu#l world on my
point of observ#tion >m#them#tic#l0> #nd its dependence on my
or/#ni9#tion >1u#lit#tive.> The former determines proportions of
si9e #nd mutu#l dist#nces of my percepts0 the l#tter their 1u#lity.
The f#ct th#t - see # red surf#ce #s red @this 1u#lit#tive
determin#tion@ depends on the structure of my eye.
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5.* Sub+ective $ercept)$icture
the dependence of my
perceptual world on my point of
observation is &mathematical,&
and its dependence on my
organi'ation &(ualitative
=very e2tension of the circle of my percepts compels me to correct my
picture of the world. ,e see this in everyd#y life0 #s well #s in the
ment#l development of m#n.ind.
The picture which the #ncients m#de for themselves of the rel#tion of
the e#rth to the sun #nd other he#venly bodies0 h#d to be repl#ced by
#nother when 8opernicus found th#t it contr#dicted percepts which in
those e#rly d#ys were un.nown.
Nicolaus Copernicus 14731543
Jependence of our percepts on our
point of observ#tion.
B!%C Dy percepts0 then0 #re in the first inst#nce sub3ective. The reco/nition of the sub3ective ch#r#cter of
our percepts m#y e#sily le#d us to doubt whether there is #ny ob3ective b#sis for them #t #ll. ,hen we
.now th#t # percept0 e./.0 th#t of # red colour or of # cert#in tone0 is not possible without # specific
structure of our or/#nism0 we m#y e#sily be led to believe th#t it h#s no bein/ #t #ll #p#rt from our
sub3ective or/#ni9#tion0 th#t it h#s no .ind of e2istence #p#rt from the #ct of perceivin/ of which it is the
ob3ect.
The cl#ssic#l represent#tive of this theory is Keor/e Aer.eley0 who held th#t
from the moment we re#li9e the import#nce of # sub3ect for perception0 we #re
no lon/er #ble to believe in the e2istence of # world #p#rt from # conscious
mind.

5Some truths there #re so ne#r #nd obvious to the mind th#t m#n need only
open his eyes to see them. Such - t#.e this import#nt one to be0 vi9.0 th#t #ll
the choir of he#ven #nd the furniture of the e#rth @in # word0 #ll those bodies
which compose the mi/hty fr#me of the world@ h#ve not #ny subsistence
without # mind< th#t their bein/ is to be perceived or .nown< th#t conse1uently0
so lon/ #s they #re not #ctu#lly perceived by me0 or do not e2ist in my mind or
th#t of #ny other cre#ted spirit0 they must either h#ve no e2istence #t #ll or else
subsist in the mind of some =tern#l Spirit> $Aer.eley0 Of the !rinciples of )uman
Knowledge0 P#rt -0 Section &'.
On this view0 when we t#.e #w#y the #ct of perceivin/0 nothin/ rem#ins of the percept. There is no colour
when none is seen0 no sound when none is he#rd. =2tension0 form0 #nd motion e2ist #s little #s colour #nd
sound #p#rt from the #ct of perception. ,e never perceive b#re e2tension or sh#pe. These #re #lw#ys
3oined with colour0 or some other 1u#lity0 which is undoubtedly dependent on the sub3ect. -f these l#tter
dis#ppe#r when we ce#se to perceive0 the former0 bein/ connected with them0 must dis#ppe#r li.ewise.
B0C -f it is ur/ed th#t0 even thou/h fi/ure0 colour0 sound0 etc.0 h#ve no
e2istence e2cept in the #ct of perception0 yet there must be thin/s
which e2ist #p#rt from perception #nd which #re simil#r to the percepts
in our minds0 then the view we h#ve mentioned would #nswer0 th#t #
colour c#n be simil#r only to # colour0 # fi/ure to # fi/ure. Our percepts
c#n be simil#r only to our percepts #nd to nothin/ else. =ven wh#t we
c#ll # thin/ is nothin/ but # collection of percepts which #re connected
in # definite w#y. -f - strip # t#ble of its sh#pe0 e2tension0 colour0 etc. @
in short0 of #ll th#t is merely my percepts@ then nothin/ rem#ins over.
-f we follow this view to its lo/ic#l conclusion0 we #re led to the
#ssertion th#t the ob3ects of my perceptions e2ist only throu/h me0 #nd
th#t only in #s f#r #s0 #nd #s lon/ #s0 - perceive them. They dis#ppe#r
with my perceivin/ #nd h#ve no me#nin/ #p#rt from it. 7p#rt from my
percepts - .now of no ob3ects #nd c#nnot .now of #ny.
B!C (o ob3ection c#n be m#de to this #ssertion #s lon/ #s we t#.e into #ccount merely the /ener#l f#ct
th#t the percept is determined in p#rt by the or/#ni9#tion of the sub3ect. The m#tter would be f#r
otherwise if we were in # position to s#y wh#t p#rt e2#ctly is pl#yed by our perceivin/ in the occurrence of
# percept. ,e should .now then wh#t h#ppens to # percept whilst it is bein/ perceived0 #nd we should
#lso be #ble to determine wh#t ch#r#cter it must possess before it comes to be perceived.
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5., "ental $icture- 'fter)effect !f !bservation
BC This le#ds us to turn our #ttention from the ob3ect of # perception to the sub3ect of it. - #m #w#re not
only of other thin/s but #lso of myself. The content of my perception of myself consists0 in the first
inst#nce0 in th#t - #m somethin/ st#ble in contr#st with the ever comin/ #nd /oin/ flu2 of percepts. The
#w#reness of myself #ccomp#nies in my consciousness the #w#reness of #ll other percepts. ,hen - #m
#bsorbed in the perception of # /iven ob3ect - #m0 for the time bein/0 #w#re only of this ob3ect. (e2t -
become #w#re #lso of myself. - #m then conscious0 not only of the ob3ect0 but #lso of my Self #s opposed
to #nd observin/ the ob3ect.
-f - strip # t#ble of its sh#pe0
e2tension0 colour0 etc. @in short0
of #ll th#t is merely my percepts0
then nothin/ rem#ins over.
Bishop George Berkele
1685-1753
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5.. "ental $icture- Cause% /# 0nkno1n Thing)2n)2tself
BEC - perceive the ment#l picture connected to my self in the s#me sense #s - perceive color0 tone0 etc.
connected to other ob3ects. - #m now #lso #ble to distin/uish these other ob3ects0 which st#nd over
#/#inst me0 by the n#me of the outer world0 where#s the contents of my perception of my Self form my
inner world. The f#ilure to reco/ni9e the true rel#tion between ment#l picture #nd ob3ect h#s led to the
/re#test misunderst#ndin/s in modern philosophy.

- .now0 so it is s#id0 nothin/ of the t#ble in itself0 which is the ob3ect of my perception0 but only of the
ch#n/es which occur within me when - perceive # t#ble. This theory should not be confused with the
Aer.eley#n theory mentioned #bove. Aer.eley m#int#ins the sub3ective n#ture of my perceptu#l contents0
but he does not s#y th#t - c#n .now only my own ment#l pictures. "e limits my .nowled/e to my ment#l
picture bec#use0 on his view0 there #re no ob3ects other th#n ide#s. ,h#t - perceive #s # t#ble no lon/er
e2ists0 #ccordin/ to Aer.eley0 when - ce#se to loo. #t it. This is why Aer.eley holds th#t our percepts #re
cre#ted directly by the omnipotence of Kod. - see # t#ble bec#use Kod c#uses this percept in me. For
Aer.eley0 therefore0 nothin/ is re#l e2cept Kod #nd hum#n spirits. ,h#t we c#ll the >world> e2ists only in
spirits. ,h#t the n#ive m#n c#lls the outer world0 or m#teri#l n#ture0 is for Aer.eley non:e2istent.
This theory is confronted by the now predomin#nt ?#nti#n view which limits
our .nowled/e of the world to our ment#l pictures0 not bec#use of #ny
conviction th#t nothin/ beyond these ment#l pictures e2ists0 but bec#use it
holds th#t we #re so or/#ni9ed th#t we c#n h#ve .nowled/e only of the
ch#n/es within our own selves0 not of the thin/s:in:themselves0 which #re
the c#uses of these ch#n/es. This view concludes from the f#ct th#t - .now
only my own ment#l pictures0 not th#t there is no re#lity independent of
them0 but only th#t the sub3ect c#nnot h#ve direct .nowled/e of such re#lity.
The mind c#n merely >throu/h the medium of its sub3ective thou/hts im#/ine
it0 conceive it0 .now it0 or perh#ps #lso f#il to .now it> $O. Hiebm#nn0 *ur
Analysis der +irklichkeit0 p. G'. ?#nti#ns believe th#t their principles #re
#bsolutely cert#in0 indeed immedi#tely evident0 without #ny proof.
- do not merely see # tree0 - .now #lso th#t it is - who see it. - .now0
moreover0 th#t some process t#.es pl#ce in me when - observe # tree. ,hen
the tree dis#ppe#rs from my field of vision0 #n #fter:effect of this process
rem#ins0 vi9.0 # picture of the tree. This picture h#s become #ssoci#ted with
my Self durin/ my perception. Dy Self h#s become enriched< to its content #
new element h#s been #dded. This element - c#ll my ment#l picture of the
tree. - should never h#ve occ#sion to t#l. of my ment#l pictures0 were - not
#w#re of my own Self.
Percepts would come #nd /o< - should let them slip by. -t is only bec#use -
#m #w#re of my Self0 #nd observe th#t with e#ch perception the content of
the Self is ch#n/ed0 th#t - #m compelled to connect the perception of the
ob3ect with the ch#n/es in the content of my Self0 #nd to spe#. of my ment#l
picture.
,hen the tree
dis#ppe#rs from my
field of vision0 #n #fter:
effect rem#ins0 my
ment#l picture.
The f#ct th#t - perceive # ch#n/e in myself0 th#t my Self
under/oes # modific#tion0 h#s been thrust into the fore/round0
whilst the ob3ect which c#uses these modific#tions is #lto/ether
i/nored. -n conse1uence it h#s been s#id th#t we perceive not
ob3ects0 but only our ment#l pictures.
!""anuel #an$
1724-1804
5The most fund#ment#l principle which the philosopher must be/in by /r#spin/ cle#rly0 consists in the
reco/nition th#t our .nowled/e0 in the first inst#nce0 does not e2tend beyond our ment#l pictures. Our
ment#l pictures #re #ll th#t we immedi#tely h#ve #nd e2perience0 #nd 3ust bec#use we h#ve
immedi#te e2perience of them the most r#dic#l doubt c#nnot rob us of this .nowled/e. On the other
h#nd0 the .nowled/e which tr#nscends my ment#l picture @t#.in/ ment#l pictures here in the widest
possible sense0 so #s to include #ll psychic#l processes@ is not proof #/#inst doubt. "ence0 #t the very
be/innin/ of #ll philosophy we must e2plicitly set down #ll .nowled/e which tr#nscends ment#l
pictures #s open to doubt.> These #re the openin/ sentences of Lol.elt*s boo. on Kant,s Theory of
Knowledge.
top
5.3 "ental $icture- What "# !rgani4ation Trans&its
,h#t is here put forw#rd #s #n immedi#te #nd self:evident truth is0 in re#lity0 the conclusion of # piece
of #r/ument which runs #s follows)
(#ive common sense believes th#t thin/s0 3ust #s we perceive them0 e2ist #lso outside our minds.
Physics0 Physiolo/y0 #nd Psycholo/y0 however0 te#ch us th#t our percepts #re dependent on our
or/#ni9#tion0 #nd th#t therefore we c#nnot .now #nythin/ #bout e2tern#l ob3ects e2cept wh#t our
or/#ni9#tion tr#nsmits to us. The ob3ects which we perceive #re thus modific#tions of our or/#ni9#tion0
not thin/s:in:themselves.

This line of thou/ht h#s0 in f#ct0 been ch#r#cteri9ed by =d. von "#rtm#nn #s the one which le#ds
necess#rily to the conviction th#t we c#n h#ve direct .nowled/e only of our own ment#l pictures $cp. his
-rundproblem der .rkenntnistheorie0 pp. - &:40'.
$h#sics
Aec#use outside our or/#nisms we find vibr#tions of p#rticles #nd of #ir0
which #re perceived by us #s sounds0 it is concluded th#t wh#t we c#ll
sound is nothin/ more th#n # sub3ective re#ction of our or/#nisms to
these motions in the e2tern#l world. Simil#rly0 colour #nd he#t #re
inferred to be merely modific#tions of our or/#nisms. 7nd0 further0 these
two .inds of percepts #re held to be the effects of motions in #n infinitely
fine m#teri#l0 ether0 which fills #ll interstell#r sp#ce. ,hen the vibr#tions
of this ether stimul#te the nerves in the s.in of my body0 - perceive he#t< when they stimul#te the optic#l
nerve - perceive li/ht #nd colour. Hi/ht0 colour0 #nd he#t0 then0 #re the re#ctions of my sensory nerves to
e2tern#l stimuli. Simil#rly0 the sense of touch reve#ls to me0 not the ob3ects of the outer world0 but only
st#tes of my own body.
The physicist holds th#t bodies #re composed of infinitely sm#ll p#rticles c#lled
molecules0 #nd th#t these molecules #re not in direct cont#ct with one #nother0 but
h#ve definite interv#ls between them. Aetween them0 therefore0 is empty sp#ce.
7cross this sp#ce they #ct on one #nother by #ttr#ction #nd repulsion. -f - put my
h#nd on # body0 the molecules of my h#nd by no me#ns touch those of the body
directly0 but there rem#ins # cert#in dist#nce between body #nd h#nd0 #nd wh#t -
e2perience #s the body*s resist#nce is nothin/ but the effect of the force of repulsion
which its molecules e2ert on my h#nd. - #m #bsolutely e2tern#l to the body #nd
e2perience only its effects on my or/#nism.

B4C The theory of the so:c#lled Specific (ervous =ner/y0 which h#s been #dv#nced
by +. Duller0 supplements these specul#tions. -t #sserts th#t e#ch sense h#s the
peculi#rity th#t it re#cts to #ll e2tern#l stimuli in only one definite w#y. -f the optic
nerve is stimul#ted0 li/ht sens#tions result0 irrespective of whether the stimul#tion is due to wh#t we c#ll
li/ht0 or to mech#nic#l pressure0 or #n electric#l current.
On the other h#nd0 the s#me e2tern#l stimulus #pplied to different senses /ives rise to different
sens#tions. The conclusion from these f#cts seems to be0 th#t our sense:or/#ns c#n /ive us .nowled/e
what we call sound is
nothing more than a
sub$ective reaction of our
organisms to these motions
in the external world
%ohannes &'ller
1801-1858
only of wh#t occurs in themselves0 but not of the e2tern#l world. They determine our percepts0 e#ch
#ccordin/ to its own n#ture.
$h#siolog#
B5C Physiolo/y shows0 further0 th#t there c#n
be no direct .nowled/e even of the effects
which ob3ects produce on our sense:or/#ns.
Throu/h his study of the processes which
occur in our own bodies0 the physiolo/ist
finds th#t0 even in the sense:or/#ns0 the
effects of the etern#l process #re modified in
the most diverse w#ys. ,e c#n see this most
cle#rly in the c#se of eye #nd e#r. Aoth #re
very complic#ted or/#ns which modify the
e2tern#l stimulus consider#bly0 before they
conduct it to the correspondin/ nerve. From
the peripher#l end of the nerve the modified
stimulus is then conducted to the br#in. "ere the centr#l or/#ns must in turn be stimul#ted. The
conclusion is0 therefore0 dr#wn th#t the e2tern#l process under/oes # series of tr#nsform#tions before it
re#ches consciousness. The br#in processes #re connected by so m#ny intermedi#te lin.s with the
e2tern#l stimuli0 th#t #ny simil#rity between them is out of the 1uestion. ,h#t the br#in ultim#tely
tr#nsmits to the soul is neither e2tern#l processes0 nor processes in the sense:or/#ns0 but only such #s
occur in the br#in. Aut even these #re not #pprehended immedi#tely by the soul. ,h#t we fin#lly h#ve in
consciousness #re not br#in processes #t #ll0 but sens#tions. Dy sens#tion of red h#s #bsolutely no
simil#rity with the process which occurs in the br#in when - sense red. The sens#tion0 #/#in0 occurs #s #n
effect in the mind0 #nd the br#in process is only its c#use. This is why "#rtm#nn /-rundproblem der
.rkenntnistheorie0 p. EF' s#ys0 >,h#t the sub3ect e2periences is therefore only modific#tions of his own
psychic#l st#tes #nd nothin/ else.>
$s#cholog#
"owever0 when - h#ve sens#tions0 they #re very f#r #s
yet from bein/ /rouped in those comple2es which -
perceive #s >thin/s.> Only sin/le sens#tions c#n be
tr#nsmitted to me by the br#in. The sens#tions of
h#rdness #nd softness #re tr#nsmitted to me by the
or/#n of touch0 those of colour #nd li/ht by the or/#n
of si/ht. Met #ll these #re found united in one ob3ect.
This unific#tion must0 therefore0 be brou/ht #bout by
the soul itself< th#t is0 the soul constructs thin/s out
of the sep#r#te sens#tions which the br#in conveys to
it. Dy br#in conveys to me sin/ly0 #nd by widely
different p#ths0 the visu#l0 t#ctu#l0 #nd #uditory
sens#tions which the soul then
combines into the ment#l picture of
# trumpet. Thus0 wh#t is re#lly the
result of # process $i.e.0 the ment#l
picture of # trumpet'0 is for my
consciousness the prim#ry d#tum.
-n this result nothin/ c#n #ny lon/er be found of wh#t e2ists outside of me #nd
ori/in#lly stimul#ted my sense:or/#ns. The e2tern#l ob3ect is lost entirely on the w#y to the br#in #nd
throu/h the br#in to the soul.
top
$erceive% Worl% 2s ' $ro+ection !f Soul (ualities
B&C -t would be h#rd to find in the history of hum#n specul#tion #nother edifice of thou/ht which h#s
been built up with /re#ter in/enuity0 #nd which yet0 on closer #n#lysis0 coll#pses into nothin/. Het us loo.
# little closer #t the w#y it h#s been constructed. The theory st#rts with wh#t is /iven in n#ive
consciousness0 i.e.0 with thin/s #s perceived. -t proceeds to show th#t none of the 1u#lities which we find
in these thin/s would e2ist for us0 h#d we no sense:or/#ns. (o eye @no colour. Therefore0 the colour is
sense organs
the soul then
combines the
sensations into
the mental
picture of a
trumpet
The e2tern#l ob3ect is lost entirely on the w#y to
the br#in #nd throu/h the br#in to the soul.
not0 #s yet0 present in the stimulus which #ffects the eye. -t #rises
first throu/h the inter#ction of the eye #nd the ob3ect. The l#tter is0
therefore0 colourless. Aut neither is the colour in the eye0 for in the
eye there is only # chemic#l0 or physic#l0 process which is first
conducted by the optic nerve to the br#in0 #nd there initi#tes #nother
process. =ven this is not yet the colour. Th#t is only produced in the
soul by me#ns of the br#in process. =ven then it does not yet #ppe#r
in consciousness0 but is first referred by the soul to # body in the
e2tern#l world. There - fin#lly perceive it0 #s # 1u#lity of this body.
,e h#ve tr#velled in # complete circle. ,e #re conscious of #
coloured ob3ect. Th#t is the st#rtin/:point. "ere thou/ht be/ins its
construction. -f - h#d no eye the ob3ect would be0 for me0 colourless.
- c#nnot0 therefore0 #ttribute the colour to the ob3ect. - must loo. for
it elsewhere. - loo. for it0 first0 in the eye @in v#in< in the nerve @in
v#in< in the br#in @in v#in once more< in the soul @here - find it indeed0 but not #tt#ched to the ob3ect. -
recover the coloured body only on returnin/ to my st#rtin/:point. The circle is completed. The theory
le#ds me to identify wh#t the n#ive m#n re/#rds #s e2istin/ outside of him0 #s re#lly # product of my
mind.
top
5.11 56ternal $erception 2s "ental $icture
BFC 7s lon/ #s one stops here everythin/ seems to fit
be#utifully. Aut we must /o over the #r/ument once more
from the be/innin/. "itherto - h#ve used0 #s my st#rtin/:
point0 the ob3ect0 i.e.0 the e2tern#l percept of which up to
now0 from my n#ive st#ndpoint0 - h#d # tot#lly wron/
conception. - thou/ht th#t the percept0 3ust #s - perceive it0
h#d ob3ective e2istence. Aut now - observe th#t it
dis#ppe#rs with my #ct of perception0 th#t it is only #
modific#tion of my ment#l st#te. "#ve -0 then0 #ny ri/ht #t
#ll to st#rt from it in my #r/uments4 8#n - s#y of it th#t it #cts on my soul4 - must henceforth tre#t the
t#ble of which formerly - believed th#t it #cted on me0 #nd produced # ment#l picture of itself in me0 itself
#s # ment#l picture. Aut from this it follows lo/ic#lly th#t my sense:or/#ns0 #nd the processes in them #re
#lso merely sub3ective. - h#ve no ri/ht to t#l. of # re#l eye but
only of my ment#l picture of #n eye. =2#ctly the s#me is true of
the nerve p#ths0 #nd the br#in processes0 #nd even of the
process in the soul itself0 throu/h which thin/s #re supposed to
be constructed out of the ch#os of diverse sens#tions. -f
#ssumin/ the truth of the first circle of #r/ument#tion0 - run
throu/h the steps of my co/nitive #ctivity once more0 the l#tter
reve#ls itself #s # tissue of ment#l pictures which0 #s such0
c#nnot #ct on one #nother. - c#nnot s#y my ment#l picture of
the ob3ect #cts on my ment#l picture of the eye0 #nd th#t from
this inter#ction results my ment#l picture of colour. Aut it is
necess#ry th#t - should s#y this. For #s soon #s - see cle#rly
th#t my sense:or/#ns #nd their #ctivity0 my nerve: #nd soul:
processes0 c#n #lso be .nown to me only throu/h perception0
the #r/ument which - h#ve outlined reve#ls itself in its full
#bsurdity.
-t is 1uite true th#t - c#n h#ve no percept without the correspondin/ sense:or/#n. Aut 3ust #s little c#n -
be #w#re of # sense:or/#n without perception. From the percept of # t#ble - c#n p#ss to the eye which
sees it0 or the nerves in the s.in which touches it0 but wh#t t#.es pl#ce in these - c#n0 in turn0 le#rn only
from perception. 7nd then - soon perceive th#t there is no tr#ce of simil#rity between the process which
t#.es pl#ce in the eye #nd the colour which - see. - c#nnot /et rid of colour sens#tions by pointin/ to the
process which t#.es pl#ce in the eye whilst - perceive # colour. (o more c#n - re:discover the colour in the
nerve: or br#in:processes. - only #dd # new percept0 loc#li9ed within the or/#nism0 to the first percept
which the n#ive m#n loc#li9es outside of his or/#nism. - only p#ss from one percept to #nother.
Dy co/nitive #ctivity reve#ls itself #s #
tissue of ment#l pictures which0 #s
such0 c#nnot #ct on one #nother.
The theory le#ds me to identify
wh#t the n#ive m#n re/#rds #s
e2istin/ outside of him0 #s re#lly #
product of my mind.
BGC Doreover0 there is # bre#. in the whole #r/ument. - c#n follow the processes in my or/#nism up to
those in my br#in0 even thou/h my #ssumptions become more #nd more hypothetic#l #s - #ppro#ch the
centr#l processes of the br#in. The method of e2tern#l observ#tion ce#ses with the process in my br#in0
more p#rticul#rly with the process which - should observe0 if - could tre#t the br#in with the instruments
#nd methods of Physics #nd 8hemistry. The method of intern#l observ#tion0 or introspection0 be/ins with
the sens#tions0 #nd includes the construction of thin/s out of the m#teri#l of sense:d#t#. 7t the point of
tr#nsition from br#in process to sens#tion0 there is # bre#. in the se1uence of observ#tion.
B%C The theory which - h#ve here described0 #nd which c#lls itself 8ritic#l -de#lism0 in contr#st to the
st#ndpoint of n#ive common sense which it c#lls (#ive Re#lism0 m#.es the mist#.e of ch#r#cteri9in/ one
/roup of percepts #s ment#l picture0 whilst t#.in/ #nother /roup in the very s#me sense #s the (#ive
Re#lism which it #pp#rently refutes. -t est#blishes the ide#l ch#r#cter of percepts by #cceptin/ n#ively0 #s
ob3ectively v#lid f#cts0 the percepts connected with one*s own body0 #nd0 in #ddition0 it f#ils to see th#t it
confuses two spheres of observ#tion0 between which it c#n find no connectin/ lin..
top
5.12 !b+ective 56istence !f !1n !rganis&
BE0C 8ritic#l -de#lism c#n refute (#ive Re#lism only by itself #ssumin/0 in n#ive:re#listic f#shion0 th#t
one*s own or/#nism h#s ob3ective e2istence. 7s soon #s the -de#list re#li9es th#t the percepts connected
with his own or/#nism st#nd on e2#ctly the s#me footin/ #s those which (#ive Re#lism #ssumes to h#ve
ob3ective e2istence0 he c#n no lon/er
use the former #s # s#fe found#tion
for his theory. "e would0 to be
consistent0 h#ve to re/#rd his own
or/#nism #lso #s # mere comple2 of
ment#l pictures. Aut this removes
the possibility of re/#rdin/ the
content of the perceptu#l world #s #
product of the mind*s or/#ni9#tion.
One would h#ve to #ssume th#t the
ment#l picture >colour> w#s only #
modific#tion of the ment#l picture
>eye.> So:c#lled 8ritic#l -de#lism c#n be est#blished only by borrowin/ the #ssumptions of (#ive Re#lism.
The #pp#rent refut#tion of the l#tter is #chieved only by uncritic#lly #cceptin/ its own #ssumptions #s
v#lid in #nother sphere.
BE!C This much0 then0 is cert#in) 7n#lyses within the world of percepts
c#nnot est#blish 8ritic#l -de#lism0 #nd0 conse1uently0 c#nnot strip percepts
of their ob3ective ch#r#cter.
BEC Still less is it le/itim#te to represent the principle th#t >the perceptu#l
world is my ment#l picture> #s self:evident #nd needin/ no proof.
Schopenh#uer be/ins his chief wor.0 The +orld as +ill and 0ental !icture0
with the words)
5The world is my ment#l picture @This is # truth which holds /ood for
everythin/ th#t lives #nd .nows0 thou/h m#n #lone c#n brin/ it into
reflective #nd #bstr#ct consciousness. -f he re#lly does this0 he h#s
#tt#ined to philosophic#l wisdom. -t then becomes cle#r #nd cert#in to him
th#t wh#t he .nows is not # sun #nd #n e#rth0 but only #n eye th#t sees #
sun0 # h#nd th#t feels #n e#rth< th#t the world which surrounds him is
there only in ment#l picture0 i.e.0 only in rel#tion to somethin/ else0 the consciousness which is himself.
-f #ny truth c#n be #sserted a priori0 it is this) for it is the e2pression of the most /ener#l form of #ll
possible #nd thin.#ble e2perience0 # form which is more /ener#l th#n time0 or sp#ce0 or c#us#lity0 for
they #ll presuppose it . . .> $The +orld as +ill and 0ental !icture0 Aoo. -0 p#r. -'.
This whole theory is wrec.ed by the f#ct #lre#dy mentioned #bove0 th#t the eyes #nd the h#nd #re 3ust #s
much percepts #s the sun #nd the e#rth. Isin/ Schopenh#uer*s voc#bul#ry in his own sense0 one mi/ht
Ar$hur Schopenhauer
1788-1860
T1o Spheres of !bservation
naive realis&- thin/s of the
perceived world e2ist outside
my mind.
critical i%ealis&- the perceived
world is # product of my mind.
m#int#in #/#inst him th#t my eye which sees the sun0 #nd my h#nd which feels the e#rth0 #re my ment#l
pictures 3ust li.e the sun #nd the e#rth themselves. Th#t0 put in this w#y0 the whole theory c#ncels itself0
is cle#r without further #r/ument. For only my re#l eye #nd my re#l h#nd0 but not my ment#l pictures
>eye> #nd >h#nd0> could own the ment#l pictures >sun> #nd >e#rth> #s modific#tions.
BEEC 8ritic#l -de#lism is tot#lly un#ble to /#in #n insi/ht unto the rel#tion of percept to ment#l picture. -t
c#nnot m#.e the sep#r#tion0 mentioned on p. F&0 between wh#t h#ppens to the percept in the process of
perception #nd wh#t must be inherent in it prior to perception. ,e must therefore #ttempt this problem in
#nother w#y.
CHAPTER
6
OUR
KNOWLEDGE
OF THE
WORLD
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191!
re"ised #$%#&%'#1'
VI
OUR KNOWLEDGE OF THE WORLD
(ournal
What is this chapter about? The principles of conception or finding the concept that corresponds to
the world. A pure concept that relates to something by encompassing the inherent lawfulness or
directing principle of that thing is a corresponding concept.
What is its value? Our first impressions should be critically examined. To live in a world of streaming
experience without critical thinking is to walk around in a sleep state. We awaken to the extent that
intuition gives us the concept that corresponds to our observation. The depth of the knowledge given
to us by the corresponding concept depends on the power of intuition that is expressed in thinking. n
the living experience which develops within thinking! this intuition may dive down to greater or to
lesser depths of reality.
To escape from bein) imprisoned within a world of mental pictures it is important to notice the
difference between an ob*ecti"e and sub*ecti"e percept. +nythin) e,ternal to the percei"in) sub*ect is
ob*ecti"e- so a table that is present in the field of "ision is an .ob*ecti"e percept/. +fter the table
disappears from my field of obser"ation 0 preser"e a memory1picture that remains in me. 0t is the only
thin) that has any ri)ht to be called a mental picture. This memory1picture%mental1picture is a
.sub*ecti"e percept/ because whate"er is e,perienced as belon)in) to the sub*ect is sub*ecti"e.
2onfusin) the sub*ecti"e percept with the ob*ecti"e percept leads to the misunderstandin) that the
world is my mental picture.
3hat follows is a description of e,ternal sense percepts and internal mental percepts streamin)
throu)h consciousness durin) a brief moment in the un1thin4in) life. First impressions 5uic4ly flic4er
past before 0 ha"e decided anythin) about them. + se5uence of pictures pass before consciousness in
an unconnected way. 6ife is without reflection- and therefore- is simply non1critical.

am conscious of the mental picture of having worked hard today" immediately #oining itself to this is
a mental picture of being able! with good conscience! to take a walk" but suddenly there appears the
perceptual picture of the door opening and of the mailman entering. The mailman appears! now
sticking out his hand holding a letter! now opening his mouth! now pulling back his hand. At the same
time the mouth opens! have an auditory impression" it is starting to rain outside.
The mailman disappears from my consciousness! and a se$uence of pictures occur% picking up
scissors! opening the letter! criticism of illegible writing! visible images of diverse written characters!
diverse imaginations and thoughts associated with them" then the mental picture appears again of
having worked hard today and the perception! accompanied by ill humor! of the rain continuing.
This disappears from my consciousness! and a mental picture appears of a problem at work that
believed was resolved!& it was not actually resolved'" following $uickly are the mental pictures%
freedom of will! empirical necessity! responsibility! value of virtue! absolute chance!
incomprehensibility! etc. These all #oin together with each other in the most varied and complicated
way" and so it continues.
0f the percei"ed world is merely a flow of 7mental pictures-7 then my e"eryday life would be li4e a
dream- and the disco"ery of the true facts would be li4e wa4in). 0 cannot remain in this dream state
unless 0 intentionally close my mind to my desire for 4nowled)e. For myself as a thin4er- the abo"e
description of pure e,perience becomes the startin) point. First- 0 need to learn how to refute myself
with respect to these first impressions- otherwise my thin4in) will *ust e,tract the concepts 0 ha"e
already added. 0 then decide which e,perience is important and which isn8t- and how it relates to the
whole of reality. The acti"ity of thin4in) will pre"ent mental pictures from insertin) themsel"es
between myself and what e,ists outside in the world by repressin) the acti"ity of my established
or)ani9ation.
3hat- then- is a percept: + percept always appears as an entirely specific concrete content. The
content of a percept is immediately )i"en and is completely contained in what is )i"en. The only
5uestion 0 can as4 concernin) the )i"en content is- what is it apart from perception- that is- what is it
for thou)ht: The 5uestion concernin) the 7what7 of a percept can only refer to the .conceptual
intuition/ )i"en by means of thin4in) that corresponds to my percept.
+ concept ;with; perceptible content is a representation or mental picture. + concept ;without;
perceptual content is a pure abstract concept. + pure concept that relates to somethin) by
encompassin) the inherent lawfulness or directin) principle of that thin) is a ;correspondin); concept
that cannot be considered abstract.

The perceptible content is )i"en by obser"ation- while the conceptual content is )i"en by intuition.
0ntuition and obser"ation are the sources of our 4nowled)e. +n obser"ed ob*ect of the world remains
unintelli)ible to us until we ha"e within oursel"es the ;correspondin); intuition which adds that part of
reality that is lac4in) in the perception. The ob*ects that- in obser"ation- appear to us as separate
become combined- bit by bit- throu)h the coherent- unified system of our intuitions.

2oncepts that correspond to thin)s are )i"en by intuition. The depth of the 4nowled)e )i"en to us by
the correspondin) concept depends on the power of intuition that is e,pressed in thin4in). This intuition
may di"e down to )reater or to lesser depths of reality.
Study Topics
principles of conception
6.0 Finding The Concept That Corresponds To The World
For anyone with the "iew that the whole percei"ed world is only a picture called up in my mind and is
actually the effect of un4nown thin)s actin) on my soul- of course the real 5uestion of 4nowled)e will
not be concerned with the representations that only e,ist in my mind- but with the thin)s that are
independent of us and lie beyond the reach of our consciousness. He as4s< How much can we learn
about thin)s indirectly- seein) that we cannot obser"e them directly:
6.1 The Awakened State ! Thinking
0f the thin)s of our e,perience were 7mental pictures7- then our e"eryday life would be li4e a dream-
and the disco"ery of the true state of affairs would be li4e wa4in).
6." Thought That Applies To The World
0f we want to ma4e an assertion about anythin) it re5uires the help of thou)ht. 0f my thou)ht does not
apply to the world- then this result is false.
6.# World Connects With Corresponding Concept
=esides bein) an ob*ecti"e disco"ery- 4nowled)e is also- parado,ically- a free creation. The tas4 of
4nowled)e is not merely repeatin) in mental pictures e"ents that ta4e place- but rather to create a
completely new conceptual realm- that when combined with the world )i"en to our senses
constitutes complete reality. >nowled)e is created by a free acti"ity. This product would not e,ist if
we did not create it oursel"es.
The world produces thin4in) in the heads of people with the same necessity as it produces the blossom
on a plant: Set the plant before yourself. 0t connects itself- in your mind- with a definite concept. 3hy
should this concept belon) any less to the whole plant than leaf and blossom:
6.$ %rocess ! &rowth
The picture which presents itself to me at any one moment is only a chance cross1section of an ob*ect
which is in a continual process of )rowth.
6.' (ndivisible )*istence o! Concept With %ercept
0t is possible for a mind to recei"e the concept at the same time as- and united with- the perception. 0t
would ne"er occur to such a mind that the concept did not belon) to the thin). 0t would ha"e to
ascribe to the concept an e,istence indi"isibly bound up with the thin).
6.6 (solate And &rasp Single Concepts
The human bein) is a limited bein). Only a limited part of the total uni"erse that can be )i"en us at
any one time. 0t is necessary to isolate certain sections of the world and to consider them by
themsel"es. Our understandin) can )rasp only sin)le concepts out of a connected conceptual system.
6.+ Sel! ,e!inition Through Thinking
Self1perception must be distin)uished from self1determination by means of thou)ht. ?y self1perception
confines me within certain limits- but my thin4in) is not concerned with these limits. 0 am the bearer
of an acti"ity which- from a hi)her sphere- determines my limited e,istence.
6.- (n Thinking We Are The All ne .eing
0n thin4in)- the concept unites our particular indi"iduality with the whole of the cosmos. 0n so far as
we sense and feel (and also percei"e!- we are sin)le bein)s@ in so far as we thin4- we are the all1one
bein) that per"ades e"erythin).
6./ Will (s b0ecti!ied (n Action And 1nown .2 Thinking
The actions of our body become 4nown to us only throu)h self1obser"ation- and that- as such- they are
in no way superior to other percepts. 0f we want to 4now their real nature- we can do so only by
means of thou)ht- by fittin) them into the ideal system of our concepts and ideas.
6.10 Corresponding (ntuition
+n e,ternal ob*ect which we obser"e remains unintelli)ible until the correspondin) intuition arises
within us which adds to the reality what is lac4in) in the percept. 3hat appears to us in obser"ation as
separate parts becomes combined- bit by bit- throu)h the coherent- unified world of our intuitions. =y
thin4in) we fit to)ether a)ain into one piece all that we ha"e ta4en apart throu)h percei"in).
6.11 Conceptual Connections ! %ercepts
2oncepts lin4s all our percepts to each another and shows them to us in their mutual relationship.
6.1" Conceptual (ntuition Corresponds To b0ective %ercept
The content of a percept is immediately )i"en and is completely contained in what is )i"en. The
5uestion concernin) the 7what7 of a percept can only refer to the conceptual intuition that corresponds
to the percept.
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6.0 Finding The Concept That Corresponds To The World
A1B FRO? the fore)oin) considerations it follows that it is
impossible to pro"e- by analysis of the content of our
perceptions- that our percepts are mental pictures. This is
supposed to be pro"ed by showin) that- if the process of
percei"in) ta4es place- in the way in which we concei"e it in
accordance with the nai"e1realistic assumptions concernin)
the psycholo)ical and physiolo)ical constitution of human
indi"iduals- then we ha"e to do- not with thin)s
themsel"es- but merely with our mental pictures of thin)s.
Cow- if Cai"e Realism- when consistently thou)ht out- leads
to results which directly contradict its presuppositions- then
these presuppositions must be discarded as unsuitable for
the foundation of a theory of the world. 0n any case- it is
inadmissible to re*ect the presuppositions and yet accept
the conse5uences- as the 2ritical 0dealist does who bases
his assertion that the world is my mental pictures on the
line of ar)ument indicated abo"e. (Dduard "on Hartmann
)i"es in his wor4 (as )rundproblem der *rkenntnistheorie a full account of this line of ar)ument.!
The percei"ed world is my mental picture.
A'B The truth of 2ritical 0dealism is one thin)- the persuasi"eness of its proofs another. How it stands with
the former- will appear later in the course of our ar)ument- but the persuasi"eness of its proofs is nil. 0f
one builds a house- and the )round floor collapses whilst the first floor is bein) built- then the first floor
collapses too. Cai"e Realism and 2ritical 0dealism are related to one another li4e the )round floor to the
first floor in this simile.
AEB For one who holds that the whole percei"ed world is only a mental
picture- and- moreo"er- the effect of thin)s un4nown to him actin) on his
soul- the real problem of 4nowled)e is naturally concerned- not with the
mental pictures present only in the soul- but with the thin)s which lie
outside his consciousness and which are independent of him. He as4s< How
much can we learn about them indirectly- seein) that we cannot obser"e
them directly:
From this point of "iew- he is concerned- not with the connection of his
conscious percepts with one another- but with their causes which transcend
his consciousness and e,ist independently of him- whereas the percepts- on
his "iew- disappear as soon as he turns his sense1or)ans away from the
thin)s themsel"es. Our consciousness- on this "iew- wor4s li4e a mirror
from which the pictures of definite thin)s disappear the "ery moment its
reflectin) surface is not turned towards them. 0f- now- we do not see the
thin)s themsel"es- but only their reflections- we must obtain 4nowled)e of
the nature of the former indirectly by drawin) conclusions from the
character of the latter.
The whole of modern science adopts this point of "iew- when it uses percepts only as a means of
obtainin) information about the motions of matter which lie behind them- and which alone really
7are.7 0f the philosopher- as 2ritical 0dealist- admits real e,istence at all- then his sole aim is to )ain
4nowled)e of this real e,istence indirectly by means of his mental pictures. His interest i)nores the
sub*ecti"e world of mental pictures- and pursues instead the causes of these mental pictures.
A&B To this 4ind of 2ritical 0dealist the whole world seems a chaotic dream- in the face of which all stri"in)
for 4nowled)e is simply meanin)less. For him there can be only two sorts of men<
(1! "ictims of the illusion that the dreams they ha"e wo"en themsel"es are real thin)s- and
('! wise men who see throu)h the nothin)ness of this dream world- and who )radually lose all
desire to trouble themsel"es further about it.
From this point of "iew- e"en one;s own personality may become a mere dream phantom. (ust as durin)
sleep there appears amon) my dream1pictures a picture of myself- so in wa4in) consciousness the mental
picture of my own Self is added to the mental picture of the outer world. 0 ha"e then )i"en to me in
consciousness- not my real Self- but only my mental picture of my Self. 3hoe"er denies that thin)s e,ist
or- at least- that we can 4now anythin) of them- must also deny the e,istence- respecti"ely the
4nowled)e- of one;s own personality. This is how the 2ritical 0dealist comes to maintain that 7+ll reality
transforms itself into a wonderful dream- without a life which is the ob*ect of the dream- and without a
mind which has the dream@ into a dream which is nothin) but a dream of itself.7 (+p. Fichte- (ie
,estimmung des -enschen.!
A$B The 2ritical 0dealist can- howe"er- )o e"en further and say- 0 am confined to
the world of my own mental pictures and cannot escape from it. 0f 0 concei"e a
thin) beyond my mental pictures- this concept- once more- is nothin) but my
mental picture.
+n 0dealist of this type will either deny the thin)1in1itself entirely or- at any rate-
assert that it has no si)nificance for human minds- i.e.- that it is as )ood as
none,istent since we can 4now nothin) of it.
0f we do not see the thin)s
themsel"es- but only their
reflections- we must obtain
4nowled)e of thin)s
indirectly.
AB 3hether he who belie"es that he reco)ni9es immediate e,perience to be a dream- postulates nothin)
behind this dream- or whether he relates his mental pictures to actual thin)s- is immaterial. 0n both cases
life itself must lose all scientific interest for him. Howe"er- whereas for those who belie"e that the whole of
accessible reality is e,hausted in dreams- all science is an absurdity- for those who feel compelled to
ar)ue from mental pictures to thin)s- science consists in studyin) these
thin)s1in1themsel"es. The first of these theories of the world may be
called +bsolute 0llusionism- the second is called Transcendental Realism
by its most ri)orously lo)ical e,ponent- Dduard "on Hartmann.
AFB These two points of "iew ha"e this in common with Cai"e Realism-
that they see4 to )ain a footin) in the world by means of an analysis of
percepts. 3ithin this sphere- howe"er- they are unable to find any stable point.
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6.1 The Awakened State ! Thinking
AGB One of the most important 5uestions for an adherent of Transcendental
Realism would ha"e to be- how the D)o constructs the world of mental pictures
out of itself. + world of mental pictures which was )i"en to us- and which
disappeared as soon as we shut our senses to the e,ternal world- mi)ht
pro"o4e an earnest desire for 4nowled)e- in so far as it was a means for
in"esti)atin) indirectly the world of the self1e,istin) Self. 0f the thin)s of our
e,perience were 7mental pictures-7 then our e"eryday life would be li4e a
dream- and the disco"ery of the true facts li4e wa4in). D"en our dream1pictures
interest us as lon) as we dream- and conse5uently do not detect their dream
character. =ut as soon as we wa4e- we no lon)er loo4 for the connections of our
dream1pictures amon) themsel"es- but rather for the physical- physiolo)ical-
and psycholo)ical processes which underlie them. 0n the same way- a
philosopher who holds the world to be his mental picture- cannot be interested
in the reciprocal relations of the details within the world. 0f he admits the
e,istence of a real D)o at all- then his 5uestion will be- not how one of his
mental pictures is associated with another- but what ta4es place in the Soul
which is independent of these mental pictures- while a certain train of mental
pictures passes throu)h his consciousness.
0f 0 dream that 0 am drin4in) wine which ma4es my throat burn- and then wa4e
up with a fit of cou)hin) (cp. 3ey)andt- *ntstehung den Traume- 1G9E! 0
cease- the moment 0 wa4e- to be interested in the dream1e,perience for its own sa4e. ?y attention is
now concerned only with the physiolo)ical and psycholo)ical processes by means of which the
irritation which causes me to cou)h- comes to be symbolically e,pressed in the dream. Similarly- once
the philosopher is con"inced that the )i"en world consists of nothin) but mental pictures- his interest
is bound to switch from them at once to the soul which is the
reality lyin) behind them.
The matter is more serious howe"er for the 0llusionist who
denies the e,istence of an D)o behind the 7mental pictures-7
or at least holds this D)o to be un4nowable. 3e mi)ht "ery
easily be led to such a "iew by the reflection that- in contrast
to dreamin)- there is the wa4in) state in which we ha"e the
opportunity to detect our dreams- and to reali9e the real
relations of thin)s- but that there is no state of the self which
is related similarly to our wa4in) conscious life. D"ery
adherent of this "iew fails entirely to see that there is- in fact-
somethin) which is to mere perception what our wa4in)
e,perience is to our dreams. This somethin) is thou)ht.
Absolute (llusionis34 the
world is a dream- science is an
absurdity.
Transcendental 5ealis34
)ain 4nowled)e indirectly by
means of mental pictures.
0f the thin)s of our
e,perience were
7mental pictures-7
then our e"eryday
life would be li4e a
dream- and the
disco"ery of the true
facts li4e wa4in).
Thin4in) is to percei"in) what our
wa4in) e,perience is to dreamin).
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6." Thought That Applies To The World
A9B The nai"e man cannot be char)ed with failure to percei"e this. He accepts life as it is- and re)ards
thin)s as real *ust as they present themsel"es to him in e,perience. The first step- howe"er- which we
ta4e beyond this standpoint can be only this- that we as4 how thou)ht is related to perception. 0t ma4es
no difference whether or no the percept- as )i"en to me- has a continuous e,istence before and after 0
percei"e it. 0f 0 want to assert anythin) whate"er about it- 0 can do so
only with the help of thou)ht. 3hen 0 assert that the world is my mental
picture- 0 ha"e enunciated the result of an act of thou)ht- and if my
thou)ht is not applicable to the world- then my result is false. =etween a
percept and e"ery 4ind of *ud)ment about it there inter"enes thou)ht.
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6.# World Connects With Corresponding Concept
A1#B The reason why- in our discussion about thin)s- we )enerally o"erloo4 the part played by thou)ht-
has already been )i"en abo"e (p. $!. 0t lies in the fact that our attention is concentrated only on the
ob*ect about which we thin4- but not at the same time on the thin4in) itself. The nai"e mind- therefore-
treats thou)ht as somethin) which has nothin) to do with thin)s- but stands alto)ether aloof from them
and ma4es its theories about them. The picture which the thin4er constructs concernin) the phenomena
of the world is re)arded- not as part of the real thin)s- but as e,istin) only in men;s heads. The world is
complete in itself e"en without this picture. 0t is all ready1made and finished with all its substances and
forces- and of this ready1made world man ma4es himself a picture.
3hoe"er thin4s thus need only be as4ed one
5uestion. 3hat ri)ht ha"e you to declare the
world to be complete without thou)ht: Hoes not
the world cause thou)hts in the minds of men
with the same necessity as it causes the
blossoms on plants: Plant a seed in the earth. 0t
puts forth roots and stem- it unfolds into lea"es
and blossoms. Set the plant before yoursel"es. 0t connects itself- in your
minds- with a definite concept. 3hy should this concept belon) any less to
the whole plant than leaf and blossom:
Iou say the lea"es and blossoms e,ist 5uite apart from an e,periencin)
sub*ect. The concept appears only when a human bein) ma4es an ob*ect of
the plant. Juite so. =ut lea"es and blossoms also appear on the plant only
if there is soil in which the seed can be planted- and li)ht and air in which
the blossoms and lea"es can unfold. (ust so the concept of a plant arises
when a thin4in) bein) comes into contact with the plant.
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6.$ %rocess ! &rowth
A11B 0t is 5uite arbitrary to re)ard the sum of what we
e,perience of a thin) throu)h bare perception- as a totality- a
whole- while that which thou)ht re"eals in it is re)arded as a
mere accretion which has nothin) to do with the thin) itself. 0f 0
am )i"en a rosebud today- the percept that offers itself to me is
complete only for the moment. 0f 0 put the bud into water- 0
shall tomorrow )et a "ery different picture of my ob*ect. 0f 0
watch the rosebud without interruption- 0 shall see today;s state
)radually chan)e into tomorrow;s throu)h an infinite number of
intermediate sta)es. The picture which presents itself to me at
any one moment is only a chance section out of the continuous
process of )rowth in which the ob*ect is en)a)ed. 0f 0 do not
put the bud into water- a whole series of states- the possibility

The picture
which
presents
itself to me
at any one
moment is
only a
chance
section out
of the
continuous
process of
)rowth.
na6ve4 accepts life as it is- and
re)ards thin)s as real *ust as
they present themsel"es to him
in e,perience.
does not the world
cause thoughts in the
minds of men with the
same necessity as it
causes the blossoms on
plants.
Set the plant before
yoursel"es. 0t connects
itself- in your mind- with
a correspondin) concept.
of which lay in the bud- will not be reali9ed. Similarly- 0 may be pre"ented tomorrow from watchin) the
blossom further- and thus carry away an incomplete picture of it.
A1'B 0t would be a 5uite unscientific and arbitrary *ud)ment which declared of any hapha9ard appearance
of a thin)- this is the thin).
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6.' (ndivisible )*istence o! Concept With %ercept
A1EB To re)ard the sum of perceptual appearances as the thin) is no more le)itimate. 0t mi)ht be 5uite
possible for a mind to recei"e the concept at the same time as- and to)ether with- the percept. To such a
mind it would ne"er occur that the concept did not belon) to the thin). 0t would ha"e to ascribe to the
concept an e,istence indi"isibly bound up with the thin).
A1&B 0t is not due to the real ob*ects that they appear to us at first without their conceptual sides- but to
our mental or)ani9ation. Our whole or)ani9ation functions in such a way that in the apprehension of e"ery
real thin) the rele"ant elements come to us from two sources- "i9.- from perception and from thou)ht.
A1B The nature of thin)s is indifferent to the way 0 am or)ani9ed for apprehendin) them. The breach
between perception and thou)ht e,ists only from the moment that 0 confront ob*ects as spectator. =ut
which elements do- and which do not- belon) to the ob*ects- cannot depend on the manner in which 0
obtain my 4nowled)e of them.
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6.6 (solate And &rasp Single Concepts
A1FB ?an is a bein) with many limitations. First of all- he is a thin) amon) other thin)s. His e,istence is
in space and time. Hence but a limited portion of the total uni"erse can e"er be )i"en to him. This
limited portion- howe"er- is lin4ed up with other parts on e"ery side both in time and in space. 0f our
e,istence were so lin4ed with thin)s that e"ery process in the ob*ect world were also a process in us-
there would be no difference between us and thin)s. Ceither would there be any indi"idual ob*ects for
us. +ll processes and e"ents would then pass continuously one into the other. The cosmos would be a
unity and a whole complete in itself. The stream of e"ents would nowhere be interrupted. =ut owin) to
A1$B 6et me ma4e myself clearer by another e,ample. 0f 0 throw a stone hori9ontally throu)h the air- 0
percei"e it in different places at different times. 0 connect these places so as to form a line.
?athematics teaches me to distin)uish "arious 4inds of lines- one of which is the parabola. 0 4now a
parabola to be a line which is produced by a point mo"in) accordin) to a certain well1defined law. 0f 0
analy9e the conditions under which the stone thrown by me mo"es- 0 find that the line of its fli)ht is
identical with the line 0 4now as a parabola. That the stone mo"es e,actly in a parabola is a result of
the )i"en conditions and follows necessarily from them. The form of the parabola belon)s to the whole
phenomenon as much as any other feature of it. The hypothetical mind described abo"e which has no
need of the roundabout way of thou)ht- would find itself presented- not only with a se5uence of "isual
percepts at different points- but- as part and parcel of these phenomena- also with the parabolic form
of the line of fli)ht- which we can add to the phenomenon only by an act of thou)ht.
the concept is indivisibly
bound up with the thing
%arabola

our limitations we percei"e as an indi"idual ob*ect what- in truth- is not an indi"idual ob*ect at all.
Cowhere- e.).- is the particular 5uality 7red7 to be found by itself in abstraction. 0t is surrounded on all
sides by other 5ualities to which it belon)s- and
without which it could not subsist. For us-
howe"er- it is necessary to isolate certain sections
of the world and to consider them by themsel"es.
Our eye can sei9e only sin)le colours one after
another out of a manifold colour1comple,- our
understandin) only sin)le concepts out of a
connected conceptual system. This isolation is a
sub*ecti"e act- which is due to the fact that we are
not identical with the world1process- but are only
thin)s amon) other thin)s.
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6.+ Sel! ,e!inition Through Thinking
A1GB 0t is of the )reatest importance for us to determine the relation of
oursel"es- as thin)s- to all other thin)s. The determinin) of this relation
must be distin)uished from merely becomin) conscious of oursel"es.
For this self1awareness we depend on perception *ust as we do for our
awareness of any other thin). The perception of myself re"eals to me a
number of 5ualities which 0 combine into an apprehension of my
personality as a whole- *ust as 0 combine the 5ualities- yellow- metallic-
hard- etc.- in the unity 7)old.7 This 4ind of self1consciousness does not ta4e me beyond the sphere of what
belon)s to me. Hence it must be distin)uished from the determination of myself by thou)ht. (ust as 0
determine by thou)ht the place of any sin)le percept of the e,ternal world in the whole cosmic system- so
0 fit by an act of thou)ht what 0 percei"e in myself into the order of the world1process. ?y self1
obser"ation restricts me within definite limits- but my thou)ht has nothin) to do with these limits. 0n this
sense 0 am a two1sided bein). 0 am contained within the sphere which 0 apprehend as that of my
personality- but 0 am also the possessor of an acti"ity which- from a hi)her standpoint- determines my
finite e,istence.
Thou)ht is not indi"idual li4e sensation and feelin)@ it is uni"ersal. 0t recei"es an indi"idual stamp in each
separate human bein) only because it comes to be related to his indi"idual feelin)s and sensations. =y
means of these particular colourin)s of the uni"ersal thou)ht- indi"idual men are distin)uished from one
another. There is only one sin)le concept of 7trian)le.7 0t is 5uite immaterial for the content of this
concept whether it is in +;s consciousness or in =;s. 0t will howe"er be )rasped by each of the two minds
in its own indi"idual way.
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6.- (n Thinking We Are The All ne .eing
A19B This thou)ht conflicts with a common pre*udice which is "ery hard to o"ercome. The "ictims of this
pre*udice are unable to see that the concept of a trian)le which my mind )rasps is the same as the
concept which my nei)hbour;s mind )rasps. The
nai"e man belie"es himself to be the creator of his
concepts. Hence he belie"es that each person has
his pri"ate concepts. One of the first thin)s which
philosophic thou)ht re5uires of us is to o"ercome
this pre*udice. The one sin)le concept of 7trian)le7
does not split up into many concepts because it is
thou)ht by many minds. For the thou)ht of the
many is itself a unity.
0n so far as we thin4- we are the +ll1One =ein)
which per"ades e"erythin).
Sel! %erception4 perception of
5ualities which 0 combine into an
apprehension of my personality.
Sel! ,e!inition4 definin) myself
and fittin) myself into the
cosmic whole by thou)ht.
Our
understandin)
can )rasp only
sin)le concepts
out of a
connected
conceptual
system.
A'#B 0n thou)ht we ha"e the element which welds
each man;s special indi"iduality into one whole with
the cosmos. 0n so far as we sense and feel
(percei"e!- we are isolated indi"iduals@ in so far as
we thin4- we are the +ll1One =ein) which per"ades
e"erythin).
This is the deeper meanin) of our two1sided nature. 3e are conscious of an absolute principle
re"ealin) itself in us- a principle which is uni"ersal. =ut we e,perience it- not as it issues from the
centre of the world- but rather at a point on the periphery. 3ere the former the case- we should 4now-
as soon as e"er we became conscious- the solution of the whole world problem. =ut since we stand at
a point on the periphery- and find that our own bein) is confined within definite limits- we must
e,plore the re)ion which lies beyond our own bein) with the help of thou)ht- which is the uni"ersal
cosmic principle manifestin) itself in our minds.
A'1B The fact that thou)ht- in us- reaches out beyond our separate
e,istence and relates itself to the uni"ersal world1order- )i"es rise
to the desire for 4nowled)e in us. =ein)s without thou)ht do not
e,perience this desire. 3hen they come in contact with other
thin)s no 5uestions arise for them. These other thin)s remain
e,ternal to such bein)s. =ut in thin4in) bein)s the concept
confronts the e,ternal thin). 0t is that part of the thin) which we recei"e not from without- but from
within. To assimilate- to unite- the two elements- the inner and the outer- that is the function of
4nowled)e.
A''B The percept- thus- is not somethin) finished and self1contained- but one side only of the total reality.
The other side is the concept. The act of co)nition is the synthesis of percept and concept. +nd it is only
the union of percept and concept which constitutes the whole thin).
top
6./ Will (s b0ecti!ied (n Action And 1nown .2 Thinking
A'EB The precedin) discussion shows clearly that it is futile to see4 for any other common element in the
separate thin)s of the world- than the ideal content which thin4in) supplies. +ll attempts to disco"er any
other principle of unity in the world than this internally coherent ideal content- which we )ain for
oursel"es by the conceptual analysis of our percepts- are bound to fail.
Ceither a personal Kod- nor force- nor matter- nor the blind will (of
Schopenhauer and Hartmann!- can be accepted by us as the uni"ersal
principle of unity in the world. These principles all belon) only to a limited
sphere of our e,perience. Personality we e,perience only in oursel"es- force
and matter only in e,ternal thin)s. The will- a)ain- can be re)arded only as
the e,pression of the acti"ity of our finite personalities. Schopenhauer wants
to a"oid ma4in) 7abstract7 thou)ht the principle of unity in the world- and
see4s instead somethin) which presents itself to him immediately as real. This philosopher holds that we
can ne"er sol"e the riddle of the world so lon) as we re)ard it as an 7e,ternal7 world.
70n fact- the meanin) for which we see4 of that world which is present to us
only as our mental picture- or the transition from the world as mere mental
picture of the 4nowin) sub*ect to whate"er it may be besides this- would
ne"er be found if the in"esti)ator himself were nothin) more than the pure
4nowin) sub*ect (a win)ed cherub without a body!. =ut he himself is rooted
in that world@ he finds himself in it as an indi"idual- that is to say- his
4nowled)e- which is the necessary supporter of the whole world as mental
picture- is yet always )i"en throu)h the medium of a body- whose affections
are- as we ha"e shown- the startin)1point for the understandin) in the
perception of that world. His body is- for the pure 4nowin) sub*ect- a mental
pictures li4e any other- an ob*ect amon) ob*ects. 0ts mo"ements and actions
are so far 4nown to him in precisely the same way as the chan)es of all
other percei"ed ob*ects- and would be *ust as stran)e and incomprehensible
to him if their meanin) were not e,plained for him in an entirely different way....

The body is )i"en in two entirely different ways to the sub*ect of 4nowled)e- who becomes an
indi"idual only throu)h his identity with it. 0t is )i"en as a mental picture in intelli)ent perception- as
1nowledge4 to assimilate- to unite-
the two elements- the inner and the
outer.
Cognition4 synthesis of percept and
concept into the whole thin).
it is futile to seek for
any other common
element in the separate
things of the world! than
the ideal content which
thinking supplies
Arthur Schopenhauer
1788-1860
an ob*ect amon) ob*ects and sub*ect to the laws of ob*ects. +nd it is also )i"en in 5uite a different way
as that which is immediately 4nown to e"ery one- and is si)nified by the word will. D"ery true act of
his will is also at once and without e,ception a mo"ement of his body. The act of will and the
mo"ement of the body are not two different thin)s ob*ecti"ely 4nown- which
the bond of causality unites@ they do not stand in the relation of cause and
effect@ they are one and the same- but they are )i"en in entirely different
ways Limmediately- and a)ain in perception for the understandin).7 (The
World as Will and dea- =oo4 '- M 1G.!
Schopenhauer considers himself entitled by these ar)uments to hold that the will becomes ob*ectified in
the human body. He belie"es that in the acti"ities of the body he has an immediate e,perience of reality-
of the thin)1in1itself in the concrete. +)ainst these ar)uments we
must ur)e that the acti"ities of our body become 4nown to us only
throu)h self1obser"ation- and that- as such- they are in no way
superior to other percepts. 0f we want to 4now their real nature- we
can do so only by means of thou)ht- i.e.- by fittin) them into the
ideal system of our concepts and ideas.
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6.10 Corresponding (ntuition
A'$B One of the most deeply rooted pre*udices of the nai"e mind is the opinion that thin4in) is abstract
and empty of any concrete content. +t best- we are told it supplies but an 7ideal7 counterpart of the unity
of the world- but ne"er that unity itself. 3hoe"er holds this "iew has ne"er made clear to himself what a
percept apart from concepts really is. 6et us see what this world of bare percepts is. + mere *u,taposition
in space- a mere succession in time- a chaos of disconnected particulars Nthat is what it is. Cone of these
thin)s which come and )o on the sta)e of perception has any
connection with any other. The world is a multiplicity of
ob*ects without distinctions of "alue. Cone plays any )reater
part in the ne,us of the world than any other. 0n order to
reali9e that this or that fact has a )reater importance than
another we must )o to thou)ht. +s lon) as we do not thin4-
the rudimentary or)an of an animal which has no si)nificance
in its life- appears e5ual in "alue to its more important limbs.
The particular facts re"eal their meanin)- in themsel"es and
in their relations with other parts of the world- only when
thou)ht spins its threads from thin) to thin). This acti"ity of
thin4in) has always a content. For it is only throu)h a
perfectly definite concrete content that 0 can 4now why the
snail belon)s to a lower type of or)ani9ation than the lion. The mere appearance- the percept- )i"es me
no content which could inform me as to the de)ree of perfection of the or)ani9ation.
A'&B Thou)ht contributes this content
to the percept from the world of
concepts and ideas. 0n contrast with
the content of perception which is
)i"en to us from without- the content
of thou)ht appears within our minds.
The form in which thou)ht first
appears in consciousness we will call
0ntuition. 0ntuition is to thou)hts what
obser"ation is to percepts. 0ntuition
and obser"ation are the sources of our
4nowled)e. +n e,ternal ob*ect which
we obser"e remains unintelli)ible to
us- until the correspondin) intuition
arises within us which adds to the
we become aware of our action
through self/observation! and
know it through thinking
0t is only throu)h the content of thin4in)
that 0 can 4now why the snail belon)s to
a lower type of or)ani9ation than the lion.
every true act of will
is also a movement of
the body
2orrespondin) 0ntuition
reality those sides of it which are lac4in) in the percept. To anyone who is incapable of supplyin) the
rele"ant intuitions- the full nature of the real remains a sealed boo4. (ust as the colour1blind person
sees only differences of bri)htness without any colour 5ualities- so the mind which lac4s intuition sees
only disconnected fra)ments of percepts.
A'B To e,plain a thin)- to ma4e it intelli)ible means nothin)
else than to place it in the conte,t from which it has been
torn by the peculiar or)anisation of our minds- described
abo"e. Cothin) can possibly e,ist cut off from the uni"erse.
Hence all isolation of ob*ects has only sub*ecti"e "alidity for
minds or)ani9ed li4e ours. For us the uni"erse is split up into
abo"e and below- before and after- cause and effect- ob*ect
and idea- matter and force- ob*ect and sub*ect- etc. The
ob*ects which- in obser"ation- appear to us as separate-
become combined- bit by bit- throu)h the coherent- unified
system of our intuitions. =y thou)ht we fuse a)ain into one
whole all that perception has separated.
A'FB +n ob*ect presents riddles to our understandin) so lon)
as it e,ists in isolation. =ut this is an abstraction of our own
ma4in) and can be unmade a)ain in the world of concepts.
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6.11 Conceptual Connections ! %ercepts
A'GB D,cept throu)h thou)ht and perception nothin) is )i"en to us directly. The 5uestion now arises as to
the interpretation of percepts on our theory. 3e ha"e learnt that the proof which 2ritical 0dealism offers
for the sub*ecti"e nature of percepts collapses. =ut the e,hibition of the falsity of the proof is not- by
itself- sufficient to show that the doctrine itself is an error. 2ritical 0dealism does not base its proof on the
absolute nature of thou)ht- but relies on the ar)ument that Cai"e Realism- when followed to its lo)ical
conclusion- contradicts itself. How does the matter appear when we reco)ni9e the absoluteness of
thou)ht:
A'9B 6et us assume that a certain percept- e.).- red- appears in
consciousness. To continued obser"ation- the percept shows itself to be
connected with other percepts- e.).- a certain fi)ure- temperature- and
touch15ualities. This comple, of percepts 0 call an ob*ect in the world of
sense. 0 can now as4 myself< O"er and abo"e the percepts *ust mentioned-
what else is there in the section of space in which they are: 0 shall then
find mechanical- chemical- and other processes in that section of space. 0
ne,t )o further and study the processes which ta4e place between the
ob*ect and my sense1or)ans. 0 shall find oscillations in an elastic medium-
the character of which has not the least in common with the percepts from
which 0 started. 0 )et the same result if 0 trace further the connection
between sense or)ans and brain. 0n each of these in5uiries 0 )ather new
percepts- but the connectin) thread which binds all these spatially and
temporally separated percepts into one whole- is thou)ht. The air "ibrations
which carry sound are )i"en to me as percepts *ust li4e the sound.
Thou)ht alone lin4s all these percepts one to the other and e,hibits them in their reciprocal relations. 3e
ha"e no ri)ht to say that o"er and abo"e our immediate percepts there is anythin) e,cept the ideal ne,us
of percepts (which thou)ht has to re"eal!. The relation of the ob*ect percei"ed to the percei"in) sub*ect-
which relation transcends the bare percept- is therefore merely ideal- i.e.- capable of bein) e,pressed only
throu)h concepts. Only if it were possible to percei"e how the ob*ect of
perception affects the percei"in) sub*ect- or alternati"ely- only if 0 could
watch the construction of the perceptual comple, throu)h the sub*ect-
could we spea4 as modern Physiolo)y- and the 2ritical 0dealism which is
based on it- spea4. Their theory confuses an ideal relation (that of the
The connectin) thread which
binds all these spatially and
temporally separated
percepts into one whole- is
thou)ht.
The ob*ects which- in obser"ation- appear
to us as separate- become combined- bit
by bit- throu)h the coherent- unified
system of our intuitions.
thought alone links all
these percepts one to the
other and exhibits them in
their reciprocal relations
ob*ect to the sub*ect! with a process of which we could spea4 only if it were possible to percei"e it. The
proposition- 7Co colour without a colour1sensin) eye7 cannot be ta4en to mean that the eye produces the
colour- but only that an ideal relation- reco)ni9able by thou)ht- subsists between the percept 7colour7 and
the percept 7eye.7
To empirical science belon)s the tas4 of ascertainin) how the properties of the eye and those of the
colours are related to one another@ by means of what structures the or)an of si)ht ma4es possible the
perception of colours- etc. 0 can trace how one percept succeeds another and how one is related to others
in space- and 0 can formulate these relations in conceptual terms- but 0 can ne"er percei"e how a percept
ori)inates out of the non1perceptible. +ll attempts to see4 any relations between percepts other than
conceptual relations must of necessity fail.
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6.1" Conceptual (ntuition Corresponds To b0ective %ercept
AE#B 3hat then is a percept: This 5uestion- as4ed in this )eneral way-
is absurd. + percept appears always as a perfectly determinate-
concrete content. This content is immediately )i"en and is completely
contained in the )i"en. The only 5uestion one can as4 concernin) the
)i"en content is- what it is apart from perception- that is- what it is for
thou)ht. The 5uestion concernin) the 7what7 of a percept can-
therefore- only refer to the conceptual intuition which corresponds to
the percept. From this point of "iew- the problem of the sub*ecti"ity of
percepts- in the sense in which the 2ritical 0dealists debate it- cannot
be raised at all. Only that which is e,perienced as belon)in) to the
sub*ect can be termed 7sub*ecti"e.7
To form a lin4 between sub*ect and ob*ect is impossible for any real process- in the nai"e sense of the
word 7real-7 in which it means a process which can be percei"ed. That is possible only for thou)ht. For
us- then- 7ob*ecti"e7 means that which- for perception- presents itself as
e,ternal to the percei"in) sub*ect. +s sub*ect of perception 0 remain
perceptible to myself after the table which now stands before me has
disappeared from my field of obser"ation. The perception of the table has
produced a modification in me which persists li4e myself. 0 preser"e an
picture of the table which now forms part of my Self. ?odern Psycholo)y
terms this picture a 7memory1picture.7 Cow this is the only thin) which has
any ri)ht to be called the mental picture of the table. For it is the
perceptible modification of my own mental state throu)h the presence of
the table in my "isual field. ?oreo"er- it does not mean a modification in
some 7D)o1in1itself7 behind the percei"in) sub*ect- but the modification of the percei"in) sub*ect itself.
The mental picture is- therefore- a sub*ecti"e percept- in contrast with the ob*ecti"e percept which
occurs when the ob*ect is present in the perceptual field.
The false identification of the sub*ecti"e with this ob*ecti"e percept leads to the misunderstandin) of
0dealism< The world is my mental picture.
AE1B Our ne,t tas4 must be to define the concept of 7mental picture7 more nearly. 3hat we ha"e said
about it so far does not )i"e us the concept- but only shows us where in the perceptual field mental
pictures are to be found. The e,act concept of 7mental picture7 will also ma4e it possible for us to obtain a
satisfactory understandin) of the relation of mental picture and ob*ect. This will then lead us o"er the
border1line- where the relation of sub*ect to ob*ect is brou)ht down from the purely conceptual field of
4nowled)e into concrete indi"idual life. Once we 4now how we are to concei"e the world- it will be an easy
tas4 to adapt oursel"es to it. Only when we 4now to what ob*ect we are to de"ote our acti"ity can we put
our whole ener)y into our actions.
sub0ective percept4
memory1picture remains
in me after ob*ect
disappears from field of
obser"ation.
ob0ective percept4
occurs when the ob*ect is
present in the field of
"ision.
percept4 a perfectly
determinate- concrete
content- this content is
immediately )i"en and is
completely contained in the
)i"en.
conceptual intuition4
thou)ht that corresponds to
the percept.
CHAPTER
7
HUMAN
INDIVIDUALITY
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191!
re"ised #$%#&%'#1'
VII
HUMAN INDIVIDUALITY
(ournal
What is this chapter about? Mental pictures are individualized concepts, so the principles of
forming mental pictures includes those factors that make us individuals.

What is its value? To avoid the life of an un-thinking traveler I form universal concepts and fit
them into my ideal system of concepts and ideas. To avoid being an abstract scholar I acuire
e!perience by relating my universal concepts to life. In "art II #e look at imaginatively transforming
universal ideals into specific goals to guide one$s action. %n individual can creatively e!press truth in
an individualistic #ay by imaginatively translating a universal concept into a concrete mental
picture.
)hate"er ta*es place in the uni"erse is part of the uni"ersal world process. +t unfolds and de"elops
in e"olutionary sta,es. )e can distin,uish two sides of this process- perception ,i"es us the
e!ternal course of e"ents in space and time and thin*in, ,i"es us the inner law rulin, it. the actual
dri"in, and acti"e principle in thin,s.
The uni"ersal world process produces my perception of the tree and my perception of myself as
e/istin, in space. me here and the tree o"er there. To perception + am different than the tree. but
throu,h thin*in, + disco"er the common element that e/ists in the tree and myself 0the
correspondin, concept0 and become the same as the tree. Thin*in, is the only process into which +
can completely place myself. into which + can mer,e. and become one with the tree.
+n thin*in, + ta*e part in the uni"ersal cosmic process and become one whole with the cosmos. 1ut
in ascendin, to the realm of uni"ersal concepts the character of my separate bein,. my indi"idual
personality. becomes lost. +t is feelin, that leads me bac* into myself and ma*es me an indi"idual.
1ut withdrawin, into my personal feelin,s cut me off from the uni"ersal life.

+ ma*e uni"ersal truth my own by fittin, it into my thou,ht2system and e/periencin, it in life. )hen
a particular percept from my life situation appears my intuition connects a member of my thou,ht2
system. a correspondin, concept. to the percept and forms a mental picture. +n this indi"iduali3ed
form. + retain it as a memory and it becomes part of my life e/perience. For e/ample. + can form a
uni"ersal concept of a lion without e"er seein, a lion. but a mental picture of a lion is formed by
combinin, my concept of a lion with my obser"ation of an actual lion. The full reality is ,i"en by
combinin, the correspondin, concept with the percept into a mental picture.

45 true indi"iduality will be the one who reaches up the farthest with his feelin,s into the re,ion of
the ideal6.
+t is our feelin,s that fre7uently impel us to hold certain opinions. The reasons that are put forward
are often a screen or mas* for our feelin,s. To brin, oursel"es to a point at which reasonin, possess
a real si,nificance for us. we must learn to lo"e reason itself. Only when we ha"e learned to lo"e
factuality and ob8ecti"ity will reason be decisi"e for us.
9any people whose thin*in, is not yet de"eloped enou,h for them to arri"e at a unified world "iew
,rasped in full conceptual clarity are. ne"ertheless. "ery well able to penetrate into the inner
harmony of the uni"erse with their feelin,. Their hearts ,i"e them what reason offers the
scientifically de"eloped person. The unity of all e/istence. which before was felt or of which one e"en
had only dim in*lin,s. is clearly penetrated and seen by reason. Reason leads bac* to reality.

)hen we come to appreciate the difference between the properties of :thin*in,: and :feelin,:. we
can arri"e at a better understandin, of how these two wor* in the formation of our bein,. Thin*in,
puts us into contact with the cosmos itself. it is the means by which we ta*e part in somethin,
ob8ecti"ely much lar,er than oursel"es. Feelin, is the means by which we come to *now oursel"es
as distinct from the cosmos.
Truth is not. as is usually assumed. an ideal copy of some supposed real ob8ect. but is freely
created by the human bein,. The uni"ersal concept. ,i"en by intuition. is indi"iduali3ed in the
formation of the mental picture. +n mental pictures + form my representation of uni"ersal truth.
Study Topics
principles of mental picturin,
7.0 Corresponding Concept Relates Self To The World
+ am really identical with the ob8ects- not. howe"er. :+: in so far as + am a perception of myself as
sub8ect. but :+: in so far as + am a part of the uni"ersal world process. + can disco"er the common
element in both (percept and self! . so far as they are complementary aspects of the world. only
throu,h thou,ht which by means of concepts relates the one to the other.
7.1 Sense Perception Of otion
(ust as we can say that the eye percei"es a mechanical process of motion in its surroundin,s as
li,ht. so we can affirm that e"ery chan,e in an ob8ect. determined by natural law. is percei"ed by us
as a process of motion.
7.! ental Picture" Conceptual #ntuition Related To $ Percept
The moment a percept appears in my field of obser"ation. thin*in, also becomes acti"e throu,h me.
5n element of my thou,ht system. a definite intuition. a concept. connects itself with the percept.
7.% ental Picture" #ndividuali&ed Concept
The full reality of a thin, is ,i"en to us in the moment of obser"ation throu,h the fittin, to,ether of
concept and percept. 1y means of a percept. the concept ac7uires an indi"iduali3ed form. a
relationship to this particular perception.
7.' ental Picture" $c(uired )*perience
The sum of those thin,s about which + can form mental pictures may be called my total e/perience.
7.+ ental Picture" Sub,ective Representation Of Realit-
Reality presents itself to us as the union of percept and concept- and the sub8ecti"e representation
of this reality presents itself to us as mental picture.
7.. Refer Percepts To /eelings
)e are not satisfied merely to refer the percept. by means of thin*in,. to the concept. but we relate
them also to our particular sub8ecti"ity. our indi"idual ;,o. The e/pression of this indi"idual
relationship is feelin,. which manifests itself as pleasure or displeasure.
7.7 T0o1/old 2ature" Thin3ing $nd /eeling
Thin*in, is the element throu,h which we ta*e part in the uni"ersal cosmic process- feelin, is that
throu,h which we can withdraw oursel"es into the narrow confines of our own bein,.
7.4 True #ndividualit-
5 true indi"iduality will be those who reach up with their feelin,s to the farthest possible e/tent into
the re,ion of the ideal.
7.5 Point Of 6ie0
+deas ,i"e to our conceptual life an indi"idual stamp. ;ach one of us has his special standpoint from
which he loo*s out on the world. He has his own special way of formin, ,eneral concepts.
7.10 #ntensit- Of /eelings
;ach of us combines special feelin,s. and these in the most "aryin, de,rees of intensity. with our
perceptions.
7.11 )ducation Of /eelings
<nowled,e of thin,s will ,o hand in hand with the de"elopment and education of the life of feelin,.
7.1! 7iving Concepts
Feelin, is the means whereby. in the first instance. concepts ,ain concrete life.
top
7.0 Corresponding Concept Relates Self To The World
=1> PH+?OSOPH;RS ha"e found the chief difficulty in the e/planation of mental pictures in the fact that we
are not identical with the e/ternal ob8ects. and yet our mental pictures must ha"e a form correspondin, to
their ob8ects. 1ut on closer inspection it turns out that this difficulty does not really e/ist. )e certainly are
not identical with the e/ternal thin,s. but we belon, to,ether with them to one and the same world. The
stream of the uni"ersal cosmic process passes throu,h that se,ment of the world which. to my
perception. is myself as sub8ect. So far as my perception ,oes. + am. in the first instance. confined within
the limits bounded by my s*in. 1ut all that is contained within the s*in belon,s to the cosmos as a whole.
Hence. for a relation to subsist between my or,anism and an ob8ect e/ternal to me. it is by no means
necessary that somethin, of the ob8ect should slip into me. or ma*e an impression on my mind. li*e a
si,net rin, on wa/. The 7uestion. &o# do I gain kno#ledge of that tree ten feet a#ay from me. is utterly
misleadin,. +t sprin,s from the "iew that the boundaries of my body are absolute barriers. throu,h which
information about e/ternal thin,s filters into me.
The forces which are acti"e within my body are the same as those which e/ist outside. + am. therefore.
really identical with the ob8ects- not. howe"er. + in so far as + am sub8ect of perception. but + in so far
as + am a part within the uni"ersal cosmic process. The percept of the tree belon,s to the same whole
as my Self. The uni"ersal cosmic process produces ali*e. here the percept of the tree. and there the
percept of my Self. )ere + a world2creator instead of a world2*nower. sub8ect and ob8ect (percept and
self! would ori,inate in one act. For they condition one another reciprocally. 5s world2*nower + can
disco"er the common element in both. so far as they are complementary aspects of the world. only
throu,h thou,ht which by means of concepts relates the one to the other.
top
7.1 Sense Perception Of otion
='> The most difficult to dri"e from the field are
the so2called physiolo,ical proofs of the
sub8ecti"ity of our percepts. )hen + e/ert
pressure on the s*in of my body. + e/perience it
as a pressure sensation. This same pressure can
be sensed as li,ht by the eye. as sound by the
ear. + e/perience an electrical shoc* by the eye
as li,ht. by the ear as sound. by the ner"es of
the s*in as touch. and by the nose as a smell of
phosphorus. )hat follows from these facts@
Only thisA + e/perience an electrical shoc*. or. as
the case may be. a pressure followed by a li,ht.
+ e/perience an electrical shoc* by the eye as li,ht. by
the ear as sound. by the ner"es of the s*in as touch. and
by the nose as a smell of phosphorus.
+ can disco"er the common element in both
only throu,h thou,ht which by means of
concepts relates the one to the other.
The uni"ersal cosmic process produces
ali*e. here the percept of the tree. and
there the percept of my self.
or a sound. or. it may be. a certain smell. etc. +f there were no eye present. then no li,ht 7uality would
accompany the perception of the mechanical "ibrations in my en"ironment- without the presence of the
ear. no sound. etc. 1ut what ri,ht ha"e we to say that in the absence of sense2or,ans the whole process
would not e/ist at all@ 5ll those who. from the fact that an electrical process causes a sensation of li,ht in
the eye. conclude that what we sense as li,ht is only a mechanical process of motion. for,et that they are
only ar,uin, from one percept to another. and not at all to somethin, alto,ether transcendin, percepts.
(ust as we can say that the eye percei"es a mechanical process of motion in its
surroundin,s as li,ht. so we can affirm that e"ery chan,e in an ob8ect.
determined by natural law. is percei"ed by us as a process of motion. +f + draw
twel"e pictures of a horse on the circumference of a rotatin, disc. reproducin,
e/actly the positions which the horseBs body successi"ely assumes in mo"ement. +
can. by rotatin, the disc. produce the illusion of mo"ement. + need only loo*
throu,h an openin, in such a way that. at re,ular inter"als + percei"e the
successi"e positions of the horse. + percei"e. not separate pictures of twel"e
horses. but one picture of a sin,le ,allopin, horse.
=C> The abo"e2mentioned physiolo,ical facts cannot. therefore. throw any li,ht on the relation of percept
to mental picture. Hence. we must see* a relation some other way.
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7.! ental Picture" #ntuition Related To $ Percept
=$> The moment a percept appears in my field of consciousness. thou,ht. too. becomes acti"e in me. 5
member of my thou,ht2system. a definite intuition. a concept. connects itself with the percept. )hen.
ne/t. the percept disappears from my field of "ision. what remains@ The intuition with the reference to
the particular percept which it ac7uired in the moment of perception.
The de,ree of "i"idness with which + can subse7uently recall this reference
depends on the manner in which my mental and bodily or,anism is
wor*in,. 5 mental picture is nothin, but an intuition related to a particular
percept- it is a concept which was once connected with a certain percept.
and which retains this reference to the percept.
9y concept of a lion is not constructed out of my percepts of a lion- but
my mental picture of a lion is formed under the ,uidance of the
percept. + can teach some one to form the concept of a lion without his
e"er ha"in, seen a lion. but + can ne"er ,i"e him a li"in, mental
picture of it without the help of his own perception.
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7.% ental Picture" #ndividuali&ed Concept
=&> 5 mental picture is therefore nothin, but an indi"iduali3ed concept. 5nd now we can see how real
ob8ects can be represented to us by mental pictures. The full reality of a
thin, is present to us in the moment of obser"ation throu,h the
combination of concept and percept. The concept ac7uires by means of the
percept an indi"iduali3ed form. a relation to this particular percept. +n this
indi"iduali3ed form which carries with it. as an essential feature. the
reference to the percept. it continues to e/ist in us and constitutes the
mental picture of the thin, in 7uestion. +f we come across a second thin, with which the same concept
connects itself. we reco,ni3e the second as bein, of the same *ind as the first- if we come across the
same thin, twice we find in our conceptual system. not merely a correspondin, concept. but the
indi"iduali3ed concept with its characteristic relation to this same ob8ect. and thus we reco,ni3e the ob8ect
a,ain.
=> The mental picture. then. stands between the percept and the concept. +t is the determinate concept
which points to the percept.
concept lion" not constructed
out of my percepts of a lion.
8ental picture lion" formed
under the ,uidance of the
percept.
the moment a percept
appears, an intuition
connects itself to it
#e find in our conceptual
system a corresponding
concept and an
individualized concept
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7.' ental Picture" $c(uired )*perience
=D> The sum of my mental pictures may be called my
e/perience. The man who has the ,reater number of
indi"iduali3ed concepts will be the man of richer e/perience. 5
man who lac*s all power of intuition is not capable of ac7uirin,
e/perience. The ob8ects simply disappear a,ain from the field of
his consciousness. because he lac*s the concepts which he
ou,ht to brin, into relation with them.
On the other hand. a man whose faculty of thou,ht is well
de"eloped. but whose perception functions badly owin, to his
clumsy sense2or,ans. will be no better able to ,ain e/perience.
He can. it is true. by one means and another ac7uire concepts-
but the li"in, reference to particular ob8ects is lac*in, to his
intuitions. The unthin*in, tra"eler and the student absorbed in
abstract conceptual systems are ali*e incapable of ac7uirin, a
rich e/perience.
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7.+ ental Picture" Sub,ective Representation Of Realit-
=E> Reality presents itself to us as the union of percept
and concept- and the sub8ecti"e representation of this
reality presents itself to us as mental picture.
=9> +f our personality e/pressed itself only in co,nition.
the totality of all that is ob8ecti"e would be contained in
percept. concept. and mental picture.
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7.. Refer Percepts To /eelings
=1#> Howe"er. we are not satisfied merely to refer percepts. by means of thin*in,. to concepts. but we
relate them also to our pri"ate sub8ecti"ity. our indi"idual ;,o. The e/pression of this relation to us as
indi"iduals is feelin,. which manifests itself as pleasure and pain.
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7.7 T0o1/old 2ature" Thin3ing $nd /eeling
=11> Thin*in, and feelin, correspond to the twofold
nature of our bein, to which reference has already
been made. 1y means of thou,ht we ta*e an acti"e
part in the uni"ersal cosmic process. 1y means of
feelin, we withdraw oursel"es into the narrow
precincts of our own bein,.
=1'> Thou,ht lin*s us to the world- feelin, leads us
bac* into oursel"es and thus ma*es us indi"iduals.
)ere we merely thin*in, and percei"in, bein,s our
whole life would flow alon, in monotonous
indifference. Fould we only *now oursel"es as Sel"es.
we should be totally indifferent to oursel"es. +t is only
because with self2*nowled,e we e/perience self2
feelin,. and with the perception of ob8ects pleasure
The unthin*in, tra"eler and the
abstract scholar are incapable of
ac7uirin, rich e/perience.
and pain. that we li"e as indi"iduals whose e/istence is not e/hausted by the conceptual relations in which
they stand to the rest of the world. but who ha"e a special "alue in themsel"es.
=1C> One mi,ht be tempted to re,ard the life of feelin, as somethin, more richly saturated with reality
than the apprehension of the world by thou,ht. 1ut the reply to this is that the life of feelin,. after all. has
this richer meanin, only for my indi"idual self. For the uni"erse as a whole my feelin,s can be of "alue
only if. as percepts of myself. they enter into connection with a concept. and in this roundabout way
become lin*s in the cosmos.
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7.4 True #ndividualit-
=1$> Our life is a continual oscillation between our share in the uni"ersal world2
process and our own indi"idual e/istence. The farther we ascend into the
uni"ersal nature of thou,ht where the indi"idual. at last. interests us only as an
e/ample. an instance. of the concept. the more the character of somethin,
indi"idual. of the 7uite determinate. uni7ue personality. becomes lost in us. The
farther we descend into the depths of our own pri"ate life and allow the
"ibrations of our feelin,s to accompany all our e/periences of the outer world.
the more we cut oursel"es off from the uni"ersal life.

True indi"iduality belon,s to him whose feelin,s reach up to the farthest possible
e/tent into the re,ion of the ideal. There are men in whom e"en the most
,eneral ideas still bear that peculiar personal tin,e
which shows unmista*ably their connection with their
author. There are others whose concepts come before
us as de"oid of any trace of indi"idual colourin, as if
they had not been produced by a bein, of flesh and
blood at all.
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7.5 Point Of 6ie0
=1&> ;"en ideas ,i"e to our conceptual life an
indi"idual stamp. ;ach one of us has his special
standpoint from which he loo*s out on the world.
His concepts lin* themsel"es to his percepts. He has
his own special way of formin, ,eneral concepts.
This special character results for each of us from his
special standpoint in the world. from the way in
which the ran,e of his percepts is dependent on the
place in the whole where he e/ists. The conditions
of indi"iduality. here indicated. we call the milieu.
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7.10 #ntensit- Of /eelings
=1> This special character of our e/perience
must be distin,uished from another which
depends on our peculiar or,ani3ation. ;ach of us.
as we *now. is or,ani3ed as a uni7ue. fully
determined indi"idual. ;ach of us combines
special feelin,s. and these in the most "aryin,
de,rees of intensity. with his percepts.
This is 8ust the indi"idual element in the
personality of each of us. +t is what remains o"er
a true individuality #ill
be the one #ho reaches
up #ith their feelings
into the ideal
when we ha"e allowed fully for all the determinin, factors in our milieu.
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7.11 )ducation Of /eelings
=1D> 5 life of feelin,. wholly de"oid of thou,ht. would ,radually lose all connection
with the world. 1ut man is meant to be a whole. and *nowled,e of ob8ects will ,o
hand2in2hand for him with the de"elopment and education of the feelin,2side of his
nature.
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7.1! 7iving Concepts
=1E> Feelin, is the means whereby. in the first instance. concepts ,ain concrete life.
CHAPTER
8
ARE THERE
ANY LIMITS TO
KNOWLEDGE?
www.philosophyoffreedom.com The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation (191! "ote# Hoernle translation re$ised in this chapter by replacin% the word
&nowled%e with co%nition.
re$ised '()')*'1*
VIII
ARE THERE ANY LIMITS TO COGNITION?
+ournal
What is this chapter about? According to the principles of cognition as described here, there are
no limits to cognition. As soon as the Self which in the act of perceiving is separated from the
world reinstates itself into the continuity of things by constructive thought, all further questioning
ceases having been but a result of the separation. Cognitive satisfaction is individualistic.
What is its value? Things demand no explanation. nowledge is not a concern of the universe in
general, but one we must settle for ourselves. The separation between Self and the world !see
chapter " #esire $or nowledge% depends on each ones particular organi&ation. The bridging of the
gap, therefore, can ta'e place only in the quite specific way that is characteristic of the person.
Cognition Transforms The World Of Appearance Into A Unified Whole
, set my own -uestions that arise due to the confrontation between my percei$ed.world and my
thou%ht.world. /y tas& consists in reconcilin% these two spheres0 both of which , am well
ac-uainted. ,f , set myself -uestions that , cannot answer0 it must be because the content of the
-uestions is not in all respects clear and distinct.
Since it is only throu%h me0 the sub1ect0 that the whole appears cut in two at the place between my
percept and my concept0 the unitin% of those two %i$es me complete co%nition. For someone else
with a different perceptual world0 the continuum would appear bro&en in another place0 and the
reconstruction would ha$e to ta&e a form specific for that person. ,t may be that0 at any particular
moment0 this or that remains une2plained because , am pre$ented from percei$in% the thin%s
in$ol$ed. These limits are only transitory0 and can be o$ercome by pro%ress in perception and
thin&in%.
3o%nition transforms the world of appearance into a unified whole by assi%nin% to each percept its
ri%htful place in the world. There outside stands a tree. , ta&e it into my mind. 4ithin me the tree
becomes more than it is outside. That part of it which enters throu%h the portal of the senses is
inte%rated into my inner content. This says infinitely more about the tree0 which the tree outside
cannot tell me. "ow the tree is no lon%er the isolated bein% that it is in e2ternal space. ,t becomes a
part of the whole inner world li$in% within me. ,t combines its content with other ideas that e2ist in
me. ,t becomes a part of the whole world of ideas0 which embraces the $e%etable &in%dom5 it is
further inte%rated into the e$olutionary scale of e$ery li$in% thin%. (hat the tree is only shines upon
it out of me.
To arri$e at the essential core of the world means to %rasp reality as thou%ht0 as idea. ,n the idea
we reco%ni6e the acti$e principle of thin%s. 4e become united with this principle5 therefore the idea0
which is most ob1ecti$e0 appears to us at the same time as most sub1ecti$e.

7$erythin% in the world that does not appear directly as idea will still ultimately be reco%ni6ed as
%oin% forth from the idea. 4hat philosophers call the absolute0 the eternal bein%0 the %round of the
world0 what the reli%ions call 8od0 this we call the )dea.
Study Topics
principles of co%nition
8.0 Cognitive Unit
,t is due0 as we ha$e seen0 to our or%ani6ation that the full0 complete reality0 includin% our own
sel$es as sub1ects0 appears at first as a duality. 3o%nition o$ercomes this duality by fusin% the two
elements of reality0 the percept and the concept %ained by thin&in%0 into the complete thin%.
8.! "pothetical World #rinciple and $%perience
,t is -uite natural that a dualistic thin&er should be unable to find the connection between the world
principle which he hypothetically assumes and the thin%s %i$en in e2perience.
8.& $go'hood(s )uestions and Ans*ers
,t is not the world which sets us the -uestions0 but we oursel$es. Only when the 7%o.hood has ta&en
the two elements of reality which are indi$isibly united in the world and has combined them also for
itself0 is co%niti$e satisfaction attained.
8.+ ,econcile -amiliar #ercepts and Concepts
Our co%nition is concerned with -uestions which arise for us throu%h the fact that a sphere of
percepts0 conditioned by place0 time0 and our sub1ecti$e or%ani6ation0 is confronted by a sphere of
concepts pointin% to the totality of the uni$erse. /y tas& consists in reconcilin% these two spheres0
with both of which , am well ac-uainted.
8.. Conceptual ,epresentation Of Ob/ective ,ealit
4e can obtain only conceptual representati$es of the ob1ecti$ely real.
8.0 ,eal #rinciples in addition to Ideal #rinciples
The ideal principles which thin&in% disco$ers seem too airy for the dualist0 and he see&s0 in addition0
real principles with which to support them.
8.1 ,eal $vidence of 2enses in addition to Ideal $vidence
The na9$e person demands the real e$idence of his senses in addition to the ideal e$idence of his
thin&in%.
8.3 4anishing #erceptions and Ideal $ntities
,ts realities arise and perish0 while what it re%ards as unreal0 in contrast with the real0 persists.
Hence na9$e realism is compelled to ac&nowled%e0 in addition to percepts0 the e2istence of
somethin% ideal. ,t must admit entities which cannot be percei$ed by the senses.
8.8 #erceptible ,ealit and Imperceptible ,ealit
/etaphysical realism constructs0 in addition to the perceptible reality0 an imperceptible reality which
it concei$es on the analo%y of the perceptible one.
8.5 2um of #erceptions and 6a*s of 7ature
,f we re1ect the untenable part of metaphysical realism0 the world presents itself to us as the sum of
percepts and their conceptual (ideal! relationships. /onism combines one.sided realism with
idealism into a hi%her unity.
8.!0 2eparation and then ,eunion of 8I9 into World Continuit
:rid%in% o$er the antithesis can ta&e place only in the -uite specific way that is characteristic of the
particular human sub1ect. ;s soon as the ,0 which is separated from the world in the act of
percei$in%0 fits itself bac& into the world continuum throu%h thou%htful contemplation0 all further
-uestionin% ceases0 ha$in% been but a conse-uence of the separation.
8.!! 2um of $ffects and Underling Causes
This is an inference from a sum of effects to the character of the underlyin% causes. 4e belie$e that
we can understand the situation well enou%h from a sufficiently lar%e number of instances to &now
how the inferred causes will beha$e in other instances. Such an inference is called an inducti$e
inference.
8.!& 2ub/ective and Ob/ective World Continuit
Throu%h considerations of the process of co%nition he is con$inced of the e2istence of an ob1ecti$ely
real world continuum0 o$er and abo$e the <sub1ecti$e< world continuum which is co%ni6able throu%h
percepts and concepts. The nature of this reality he thin&s he can determine by inducti$e inferences
from his percepts.
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8.0 Cognitive Unit
=1> 47 ha$e established that the elements for the e2planation of reality are to be ta&en from the two
spheres of perception and thou%ht. ,t is due0 as we ha$e seen0 to our or%ani6ation that the full totality of
reality0 includin% our own sel$es as sub1ects0 appears at first as a duality. 3o%nition transcends this duality
by fusin% the two elements of reality0 the percept and the concept0 into the
complete thin%. ?et us call the manner in which the world presents itself to us0
before by means of co%nition it has ta&en on its true nature0 <the world of
appearance0< in distinction from the unified whole composed of percept and
concept. 4e can then say0 the world is %i$en to us as a duality (@ualism!0 and
co%nition transforms it into a unity (/onism!. ; philosophy which starts from
this basal principle may be called a /onistic philosophy0 or /onism.
Opposed to this is the theory of two worlds0 or @ualism. The latter does not0 by any means0 assume
merely that there are two sides of a sin%le reality0 which are &ept apart by our or%ani6ation0 but that there
are two worlds totally distinct from one another. ,t then tries to find in one of these two worlds the
principle of e2planation for the other.
=*> @ualism rests on a false conception of what we call co%nition. ,t di$ides the whole of reality into two
spheres0 each of which has its own laws0 and it lea$es these two worlds standin% outside one another.
=A> ,t is from a @ualism such as this that there arises the distinction between the
ob1ect of perception and the thin%.in.itself0 which Bant introduced into
philosophy0 and which0 to the present day0 we ha$e not succeeded in e2pellin%.
;ccordin% to our interpretation0 it is due to the nature of our or%ani6ation that a
particular ob1ect can be %i$en to us only as a percept. Thou%ht transcends this
particularity by assi%nin% to each percept its proper place in the world as a whole.
;s lon% as we determine the separate parts of the cosmos as percepts0 we are
simply followin%0 in this sortin% out0 a law of our sub1ecti$e constitution. ,f0
howe$er0 we re%ard all percepts0 ta&en to%ether0 merely as one part0 and contrast
with this a second part0 $i6.0 the thin%s.in.themsel$es0 then our philosophy is buildin% castles.in.the.air.
4e are then en%a%ed in mere playin% with concepts. 4e construct an artificial opposition0 but we can find
no content for the second of these opposites0 seein% that no content for a particular thin% can be found
e2cept in perception.

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8.! "pothetical World #rinciple and $%perience
=(> 7$ery &ind of reality which is assumed to e2ist outside the sphere of perception and conception must
be rele%ated to the limbo of un$erified hypotheses. To this cate%ory belon%s the <thin%.in.itself.<
,t is0 of course0 -uite natural that a @ualistic thin&er should be unable to find the connection between the
world.principle which he hypothetically assumes and the facts that are %i$en in e2perience. For the
hypothetical world.principle itself a content can be found only by borrowin% it from e2perience and
shuttin% oneCs eyes to the fact of the borrowin%. Otherwise it remains an empty and meanin%less concept0
a mere form without content. ,n this case the @ualistic thin&er %enerally asserts that the content of this
concept is inaccessible to our co%nition. 4e can &now only that such a content e2ists0 but not what it is.
,n either case it is impossible to transcend @ualism. 7$en thou%h one were to import a few abstract
elements from the world of e2perience into the content of the thin%.in.itself0 it would still remain
impossible to reduce the rich concrete life of e2perience to these few elements0 which are0 after all0
themsel$es ta&en from e2perience.

cognition overcomes
duality by fusing the
perception and the
concept into the
complete thing
@u :ois.Reymond lays it down that the
imperceptible atoms of matter produce sensation
and feelin% by means of their position and motion0
and then infers from this premise that we can
ne$er find a satisfactory e2planation of how matter
and motion produce sensation and feelin%0 for <it is
absolutely and for e$er unintelli%ible that it should
be other than indifferent to a number of atoms of
carbon0 hydro%en0 and nitro%en0 etc.0 how they lie
and mo$e0 how they lay or mo$ed0 or how they
will lie and will mo$e. ,t is in no way intelli%ible
how consciousness mi%ht come into e2istence
throu%h their interaction.<

This conclusion is characteristic of the whole
tendency of this school of thou%ht. Position and
motion are abstracted from the rich world of
percepts. They are then transferred to the
fictitious world of atoms. ;nd then we are
astonished that we fail to e$ol$e concrete life out
of this principle of our own ma&in%0 which we ha$e
borrowed from the world of percepts.
=D> That the @ualist0 wor&in% as he does with a completely empty concept of the thin%.in.itself0 can reach
no e2planation of the world0 follows e$en from the definition of his principle which has been %i$en abo$e.
=> ,n any case0 the @ualist finds it necessary to set impassable barriers to our faculty of co%nition. ;
follower of the /onistic theory of the world &nows that all he needs to e2plain any %i$en phenomenon in
the world is to be found within this world itself. 4hat pre$ents him from findin% it can be only chance
limitations in space and time0 or defects of his or%ani6ation0 i.e.0 not of human or%ani6ation in %eneral0
but only of his own.
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8.& $go'hood(s )uestions and Ans*ers
=E> ,t follows from the concept of co%nition0 as defined by us0 that there can
be no tal& of any limits of co%nition. 3o%ni6in% is not a concern of the
uni$erse in %eneral0 but one which men must settle for themsel$es. 72ternal
thin%s demand no e2planation. They e2ist and act on one another accordin%
to laws which thou%ht can disco$er. They e2ist in indi$isible unity with these
laws. :ut we0 in our self.hood0 confront them0 %raspin% at first only what we
ha$e called percepts. Howe$er0 within oursel$es we find the power to disco$er also the other part of
reality. Only when the Self has combined for itself the two elements of reality which are indi$isibly bound
up with one another in the world0 is our thirst for &nowled%e stilled. The Self is then a%ain in contact with
reality.
=F> The presuppositions for the de$elopment of co%nition thus e2ist throu%h and for the Self. ,t is the Self
which sets itself the -uestions of co%nition. ,t ta&es them from thou%ht0 an element which in itself is
absolutely clear and transparent. ,f we set oursel$es -uestions which we cannot answer0 it must be
because the content of the -uestions is not in all respects clear and distinct. ,t is not the world which sets
-uestions to us0 but we who set them to oursel$es.
=9> , can ima%ine that it would be -uite impossible for me to answer a -uestion which , happened to find
written down somewhere0 without &nowin% the uni$erse of discourse from which the content of the
-uestion is ta&en.
within our *go+hood lies
the power to discover
the other part of the
reality as well
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8.+ ,econcile -amiliar #erceptions and Concepts
=1'> Our co%nition in$ol$es -uestions which arise for us throu%h the fact that a world of percepts0
conditioned by time0 space0 and our sub1ecti$e or%ani6ation0 stands o$er a%ainst a world of concepts
e2pressin% the totality of the uni$erse. Our tas& consists in the assimilation to one another of these two
spheres0 with both of which we are familiar. There is no room here for tal&in% about limits to co%nition. ,t
may be that0 at a particular moment0 this or that remains une2plained because0 throu%h chance obstacles0
we are pre$ented from percei$in% the thin%s in$ol$ed. 4hat is not found today0 howe$er0 may easily be
found tomorrow. The limits due to these causes are only contin%ent0 and must be o$ercome by the
pro%ress of perception and thou%ht.
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8.. Conceptual ,epresentation Of Ob/ective ,ealit
=11> @ualism ma&es the mista&e of transferrin% the opposition of sub1ect and ob1ect0 which has
meanin% only within the perceptual world0 to pure conceptual entities outside this world. "ow the
distinct and separate thin%s in the perceptual world remain separated only so lon% as the percei$er
refrains from thin&in%. For thou%ht cancels all separation and re$eals it as due to purely sub1ecti$e
conditions. The @ualist0 therefore0 transfers to entities transcendin% the perceptual world abstract
determinations which0 e$en in the perceptual world0 ha$e no absolute0 but only relati$e0 $alidity. He
thus di$ides the two factors concerned in the process of co%nition0 $i6.0 percept and concept0 into four#
(1! the ob1ect in itself5
(*! the percept which the sub1ect has of the ob1ect5
(A! the sub1ect5
((! the concept which relates the percept to the ob1ect in itself.
The relation between sub1ect and
ob1ect is <real<5 the sub1ect is really
(dynamically! influenced by the ob1ect.
This real process does not appear in
consciousness. :ut it e$o&es in the
sub1ect a response to the stimulation
from the ob1ect. The result of this
response is the percept. This0 at
len%th0 appears in consciousness. The
ob1ect has an ob1ecti$e (independent
of the sub1ect! reality0 the percept a
sub1ecti$e reality. This sub1ecti$e
reality is referred by the sub1ect to the
ob1ect. This reference is an ideal one.
@ualism thus di$ides the process of
co%nition into two parts. The one part0
$i6.0 the production of the perceptual
ob1ect by the thin%.in.itself0 he
concei$es of as ta&in% place outside
consciousness0 whereas the other0 the
combination of percept with concept
and the latterCs reference to the thin%.
in.itself0 ta&es place0 accordin% to him0
in consciousness.
4ith such presuppositions0 it is clear why the @ualist re%ards his concepts merely as sub1ecti$e
representations of what is really e2ternal to his consciousness. The ob1ecti$ely real process in the sub1ect
by means of which the percept is produced0 and still more the ob1ecti$e relations between thin%s.in.
themsel$es0 remain for the @ualist inaccessible to direct &nowled%e. ;ccordin% to him0 man can %et only
Conceptual ,epresentation Of The Ob/ectivel ,eal
conceptual representations of the ob1ecti$ely real. The bond of unity which connects thin%s.in.themsel$es
with one another0 and also ob1ecti$ely with the indi$idual minds (as thin%s.in.themsel$es! of each of us0
e2ists beyond our consciousness in a @i$ine :ein% of whom0 once more0 we ha$e merely a conceptual
representation.
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8.0 ,eal #rinciples in addition to Ideal #rinciples
=1*> The @ualist belie$es that the whole world would be dissol$ed into a mere abstract scheme of
concepts0 did he not posit the e2istence of real connections beside the conceptual ones. ,n other words0
the ideal principles which thin&in% disco$ers are too airy for the @ualist0 and he see&s0 in addition0 real
principles with which to support them.
=1A> ?et us e2amine these real principles a little more closely. The nai$e
man ("ai$e Realist! re%ards the ob1ects of sense.e2perience as realities.
The fact that his hands can %rasp0 and his eyes see0 these ob1ects is for
him sufficient %uarantee of their reality. <"othin% e2ists that cannot be
percei$ed< is0 in fact0 the first a2iom of the nai$e man5 and it is held to
be e-ually $alid in its con$erse# <7$erythin% which is percei$ed e2ists.<
The best proof for this assertion is the nai$e manCs belief in immortality
and in %hosts. He thin&s of the soul as a fine &ind of matter perceptible
by the senses which0 in special circumstances0 may actually become
$isible to the ordinary man (belief in %hosts!.
=1(> ,n contrast with this0 his real0 world0 the "ai$e Realist re%ards
e$erythin% else0 especially the world of ideas0 as unreal0 or <merely
ideal.< 4hat we add to ob1ects by thin&in% is merely thou%hts about the
ob1ects. Thou%ht adds nothin% real to the percept.

=1D> :ut it is not only with reference to the e2istence of thin%s that the nai$e man re%ards perception as
the sole %uarantee of reality0 but also with reference to the e2istence of processes. ; thin%0 accordin% to
him0 can act on another only when a force actually present to perception issues from the one and acts
upon the other. The ancient 8ree& philosophers0 who were "ai$e Realists in the best sense of the word0
held a theory of $ision accordin% to which the eye sends out feelers which touch the ob1ects. The older
physicists thou%ht that $ery fine &inds of substances emanate from the ob1ects and penetrate throu%h the
sense.or%ans into the soul. The actual perception of these substances is impossible only because of the
coarseness of our sense.or%ans relati$ely to the fineness of these substances. ,n principle the reason for
attributin% reality to these substances was the same as that for attributin% it to the ob1ects of the sensible
world0 $i6.0 their &ind of e2istence0 which was concei$ed to be analo%ous to that of perceptual reality.
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8.1 ,eal $vidence of 2enses in addition to Ideal $vidence
=1> The self.contained bein% of ideas is not thou%ht of by the nai$e
mind as real in the same sense. ;n ob1ect concei$ed <merely in idea<
is re%arded as a chimera until sense.perception can furnish proof of
its reality. ,n short0 the nai$e man demands0 in addition to the ideal
e$idence of his thin&in%0 the real e$idence of his senses.
,n this need of the nai$e man lies the %round for the ori%in of the
belief in re$elation. The 8od whom we apprehend by thou%ht remains
always merely our idea of 8od. The nai$e consciousness demands
that 8od should manifest Himself in ways accessible to the senses.
8od must appear in the flesh0 and must attest his 8odhead to our
senses by the chan%in% of water into wine.
=1E> 7$en co%nition itself is concei$ed by the nai$e mind as a process analo%ous to sense.perception.
Thin%s0 it is thou%ht0 ma&e an impression on the mind0 or send out copies of themsel$es which enter
throu%h our senses0 etc.
Photo%raph of 8hostG
The nai$e man demands the
real e$idence of his senses.
=1F> 4hat the nai$e man can percei$e with his senses he re%ards as real0 and what he cannot percei$e
(8od0 soul0 co%nition0 etc.! he re%ards as analo%ous to what he can percei$e.
=19> On the basis of "ai$e Realism0 science can consist only in an e2act description of the content of
perception. 3oncepts are only means to this end. They e2ist to pro$ide ideal counterparts of percepts.
4ith the thin%s themsel$es they ha$e nothin% to do. For the "ai$e Realist only the indi$idual tulips0 which
we can see0 are real. The uni$ersal idea of tulip is to him an abstraction0 the unreal thou%ht.picture which
the mind constructs for itself out of the characteristics common to all tulips.
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8.3 4anishing #erceptions and Ideal $ntities
=*'> "ai$e Realism0 with its fundamental principle of the
reality of all percepts0 contradicts e2perience0 which
teaches us that the content of percepts is of a transitory
nature. The tulip , see is real today5 in a year it will ha$e
$anished into nothin%ness. 4hat persists is the species
<tulip.< This species is0 howe$er0 for the "ai$e Realist
merely an idea0 not a reality. Thus this theory of the world
finds itself in the parado2ical position of seein% its realities
arise and perish0 while that which0 by contrast with its
realities0 it re%ards as unreal endures. Hence "ai$e
Realism is compelled to ac&nowled%e the e2istence of
somethin% ideal by the side of percepts. ,t must include
within itself entities which cannot be percei$ed by the senses. ,n
admittin% them it escapes contradictin% itself by concei$in% their
e2istence as analo%ous to that of ob1ects of sense. Such
hypothetical realities are the in$isible forces by means of which
the ob1ects of sense.perception act on one another. ;nother such
reality is heredity0 the effects of which sur$i$e the indi$idual0 and
which is the reason why from the indi$idual a new bein% de$elops
which is similar to it0 and by means of which the species is
maintained. The soul0 the life.principle permeatin% the or%anic
body0 is another such reality which the nai$e mind is always
found concei$in% in analo%y to realities of sense.perception. ;nd0
lastly0 the @i$ine :ein%0 as concei$ed by the nai$e mind0 is such a
hypothetical entity. The @eity is thou%ht of as actin% in a manner
e2actly correspondin% to that which we can percei$e in man
himself0 i.e.0 the @eity is concei$ed anthropomorphically.
=*1> /odern Physics traces sensations bac& to the mo$ements of the smallest particles of bodies and of
an infinitely fine substance called ether. 4hat we e2perience0 e.%.0 as warmth is a mo$ement of the parts
of a body which causes the warmth in the space occupied by that body. Here a%ain somethin%
imperceptible is concei$ed on the analo%y of what is perceptible. Thus0 in terms of perception0 the
analo%on to the concept <body < is0 say0 the interior of a room0 shut in on all sides0 in which elastic balls
are mo$in% in all directions0 impin%in% one on another0 bouncin% on and off the walls0 etc.
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8.8 #erceptible ,ealit and Imperceptible ,ealit
=**> 4ithout such assumptions the world of the "ai$e Realist would collapse into a disconnected chaos of
percepts0 without mutual relations0 and ha$in% no unity within itself. ,t is clear0 howe$er0 that "ai$e
Realism can ma&e these assumptions only by contradictin% itself. ,f it would remain true to its
fundamental principle0 that only what is percei$ed is real0 then it ou%ht not to assume a reality where it
percei$es nothin%. The imperceptible forces of which perceptible thin%s are the bearers are0 in fact0
ille%itimate hypotheses from the standpoint of "ai$e Realism. :ut because "ai$e Realism &nows no other
realities0 it in$ests its hypothetical forces with perceptual content. ,t thus transfers a form of e2istence
(the e2istence of percepts! to a sphere where the only means of ma&in% any assertion concernin% such
e2istence0 $i6.0 sense.perception0 is lac&in%.
;nthropomorphic 8od
Flowers arise and perish0 what persists is the
flower species (an ideal entity!.
=*A> This self.contradictory theory leads to /etaphysical Realism. The latter
constructs0 beside the perceptible reality0 an imperceptible one which it
concei$es on the analo%y of the former. /etaphysical Realism is0 therefore0 of
necessity @ualistic.
=*(> 4here$er the /etaphysical Realist obser$es a relation between perceptible
thin%s (mutual approach throu%h mo$ement0 the entrance of an ob1ect into
consciousness0 etc.!0 there he posits a reality. Howe$er0 the relation of which he
becomes aware cannot be percei$ed but only e2pressed by means of thou%ht.
The ideal relation is thereupon arbitrarily assimilated to somethin% perceptible.
Thus0 accordin% to this theory the world is composed of the ob1ects of
perception which are in ceaseless flu20 arisin% and disappearin%0 and of
imperceptible forces by which the perceptible ob1ects are produced0 and which
are permanent.
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8.5 2um of #erceptions and 6a*s of 7ature
=*D> /etaphysical Realism is a self.contradictory mi2ture of "ai$e
Realism and ,dealism. ,ts forces are imperceptible entities endowed
with the -ualities proper to percepts. The /etaphysical Realist has
made up his mind to ac&nowled%e0 in addition to the sphere for the
e2istence of which he has an instrument of co%nition in sense.
perception0 the e2istence of another sphere for which this instrument
fails0 and which can be &nown only by means of thou%ht. :ut he cannot ma&e up his mind at the same
time to ac&nowled%e that the mode of e2istence which thou%ht re$eals0 $i6.0 the concept (or idea!0 has
e-ual ri%hts with percepts. ,f we are to a$oid the contradiction of imperceptible percepts0 we must admit
that0 for us0 the relations which thou%ht traces between percepts can ha$e no other mode of e2istence
than that of concepts. ,f one re1ects the untenable part of /etaphysical Realism0 there remains the
concept of the world as the a%%re%ate of percepts and their conceptual (ideal! relations. /etaphysical
Realism0 then0 mer%es itself in a $iew of the world accordin% to which the principle of perceptibility holds
for percepts0 and that of concei$ability for the relations between the percepts. This $iew of the world has
no room0 in addition to the perceptual and conceptual worlds0 for a third sphere in which both principles0
the so.called <real< principle and the <ideal< principle0 are simultaneously $alid.
=*> 4hen the /etaphysical Realist asserts that0 besides the ideal relation between the percei$ed ob1ect
and the percei$in% sub1ect0 there must be a real relation between the percept as <thin%.in.itself< and the
sub1ect as <thin%.in.itself< (the so.called indi$idual mind!0 he is basin% his assertion on the false
assumption of a real process0 imperceptible but analo%ous to to processes in the world of percepts.
Further0 when the /etaphysical Realist asserts that we stand in a conscious ideal relation to our world of
percepts0 but that to the real world we can ha$e only a dynamic (force! relation0 he repeats the mista&e
we ha$e already critici6ed. 4e can tal& of a dynamic relation only within the world of percepts (in the
sphere of the sense of touch!0 but not outside that world.
=*E> ?et us call the $iew which we ha$e 1ust characteri6ed0 and into which
/etaphysical Realism mer%es when it discards its contradictory elements0
/onism0 because it combines one.sided Realism and ,dealism into a hi%her unity.
7aive ,ealism: the real world is an a%%re%ate of percepts.
;etaphsical ,ealism: reality belon%s not only to percepts but also to
imperceptible forces.
;onism: replaces forces by ideal relations (laws of nature! which are supplied by
thou%ht.
/etaphysical Realism is
@ualistic0 constructin%
an imperceptible reality
ne2t to the perceptible
reality.
,etaphysical -ealism cannot
ac'nowledge that what thought
reveals, vi&., the concept !or
idea%, is .ust as important as
what is perceived
=*F> For "ai$e Realism the real world is an a%%re%ate of percepts5 for /etaphysical Realism0 reality
belon%s not only to percepts but also to imperceptible forces5 /onism replaces forces by ideal relations
which are supplied by thou%ht. These relations are the laws of nature. ; law of nature is nothin% but the
conceptual e2pression for the connection of certain percepts.
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8.!0 2eparation and then ,eunion of 8I9 into World Continuit
=*9> /onism is ne$er called upon to as& whether there are any principles of e2planation for reality other
than percepts and concepts. The /onist &nows that in the whole realm of the real there is no occasion for
this -uestion. ,n the perceptual world0 as immediately apprehended0 he sees one.half of reality5 in the
union of this world with the world of concepts he finds full reality. The /etaphysical Realist mi%ht ob1ect
that0 relati$ely to our or%ani6ation0 our co%nition may be complete in itself0 that no part may be lac&in%0
but that we do not &now how the world appears to a mind or%ani6ed differently from our own.
To this the /onist will reply# /aybe there are intelli%ences other than human5 and
maybe also that their percepts are different from ours0 if they ha$e perception at
all. :ut this is irrele$ant to me for the followin% reasons. Throu%h my perceptions0
i.e.0 throu%h this specifically human mode of perception0 ,0 as sub1ect0 am
confronted with the ob1ect. The ne2us of thin%s is thereby bro&en. The sub1ect
reconstructs the ne2us by means of thou%ht. ,n doin% so it re.inserts itself into the
conte2t of the world as a whole. ;s it is only throu%h the Self0 as sub1ect0 that the
whole appears rent in two between percept and concept0 the reunion of those two
factors will %i$e us complete co%nition. For bein%s with a different perceptual world (e.%.0 if they had
twice our number of sense.or%ans! the ne2us would appear bro&en in another place0 and the
reconstruction would accordin%ly ha$e to ta&e a form specifically adapted to such bein%s.
The -uestion concernin% the limits of co%nition troubles only "ai$e and
/etaphysical Realism0 both of which see in the contents of mind only ideal
representations of the real world. For to these theories whate$er falls
outside the sub1ect is somethin% absolute0 a self.contained whole0 and the
sub1ectCs mental content is a copy which is wholly e2ternal to this absolute.
The completeness of &nowled%e depends on the %reater or lesser de%ree of resemblance between the
representation and the absolute ob1ect. ; bein% with fewer senses than man will percei$e less of the
world0 one with more senses will percei$e more. The formerCs &nowled%e will0 therefore0 be less complete
than the latterCs.
=A'> For /onism the matter is different. The point where the unity of the world appears to be rent
asunder into sub1ect and ob1ect depends on the or%ani6ation of the percipient. The ob1ect is not absolute
but merely relati$e to the nature of the sub1ect. The brid%in% of the %ap0 therefore0 can ta&e place only in
the -uite specific way which is characteristic of the human sub1ect. ;s soon as the Self0 which in
perception is set o$er a%ainst the world0 is a%ain re.inserted into the world.ne2us by constructi$e thou%ht
all further -uestionin% ceases0 ha$in% been but a result of the separation.
=A1> ; differently constituted bein% would ha$e a differently constituted
co%nition. Our own co%nition suffices to answer the -uestions which result
from our own mental constitution.
=A*> /etaphysical Realism must as&0 4hat is it that %i$es us our perceptsG
4hat is it that stimulates the sub1ectG
=AA> /onism holds that percepts are determined by the sub1ect. :ut in thou%ht the sub1ect has0 at the
same time0 the instrument for transcendin% this determination of which it is itself the author.
/ur own cognition is
sufficient to answer the
questions which result
from our own mental
constitution
The question concerning
the limits of cognition
troubles only 0aive and
,etaphysical -ealism
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8.!! 2um of $ffects and Underling Causes
=A(> The /etaphysical Realist is faced by a further difficulty when he see&s to e2plain the similarity of the
world.$iews of different human indi$iduals. He has to as& himself0 How is it that my theory of the world0
built up out of sub1ecti$ely determined percepts and out of concepts0 turns out to be the same as that
which another indi$idual is also buildin% up out of these same two sub1ecti$e factorsG How0 in any case0 is
it possible for me to ar%ue from my own sub1ecti$e $iew of the world to that of another human bein%G The
/etaphysical Realist thin&s he can infer the similarity of the sub1ecti$e world.$iews of different human
bein%s from their ability to %et on with one another in practical life. From this similarity of world.$iews he
infers further the li&eness to one another of indi$idual minds0 meanin% by <indi$idual mind< the <,.in.
itself< underlyin% each sub1ect.
=AD> 4e ha$e here an inference from a number of effects to the
character of the underlyin% causes. 4e belie$e that after we
ha$e obser$ed a sufficiently lar%e number of instances0 we &now
the connection sufficiently to &now how the inferred causes will
act in other instances. Such an inference is called an inducti$e
inference. 4e shall be obli%ed to modify its results0 if further
obser$ation yields some une2pected fact0 because the character
of our conclusion is0 after all0 determined only by the particular
details of our actual obser$ations. The /etaphysical Realist asserts that this &nowled%e of causes0
thou%h restricted by these conditions0 is -uite sufficient for practical life.
=A> ,nducti$e inference is the fundamental method of modern /etaphysical Realism. ;t one time it was
thou%ht that out of concepts we could e$ol$e somethin% that would no lon%er be a concept. ,t was
thou%ht that the metaphysical reals0 which /etaphysical Realism after all re-uires0 could be &nown by
means of concepts. This method of philosophi6in% is now out of
date. ,nstead it is thou%ht that from a sufficiently lar%e number of
perceptual facts we can infer the character of the thin%.in.itself
which lies behind these facts. Formerly it was from concepts0 now
it is from percepts that the Realist see&s to e$ol$e the
metaphysically real. :ecause concepts are before the mind in
transparent clearness0 it was thou%ht that we mi%ht deduce from
them the metaphysically real with absolute certainty. Percepts are not %i$en with the same transparent
clearness. 7ach fresh one is a little different from others of the same &ind which preceded it. ,n principle0
therefore0 anythin% inferred from past e2perience is somewhat modified by each subse-uent e2perience.
The character of the metaphysically real thus obtained can therefore be only relati$ely true0 for it is open
to correction by further instances. The character of Hon HartmannCs /etaphysics depends on this
methodolo%ical principle. The motto on the title.pa%e of his first important boo& is0 <Speculati$e results
%ained by the inducti$e method of Science.<
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8.!& 2ub/ective and Ob/ective World Continuit
=AE> The form which the /etaphysical Realist at the present day %i$es to his thin%s.in.themsel$es is
obtained by inducti$e inferences. 3onsideration of the process of co%nition has con$inced him of the
e2istence of an ob1ecti$ely.real world.ne2us0 o$er and abo$e the sub1ecti$e world which we co%ni6e by
means of percepts and concepts. The nature of this reality he thin&s he can determine by inducti$e
inferences from his percepts.
Inductive Inference: with a lar%e
number of perceptual facts we can
infer the character of the thin%.in.
itself which lies behind these facts
(but results %ained are only
relati$ely true!.
CHAPTER
9
THE
FACTORS
OF LIFE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
IX
THE FACTORS OF LIFE
(ournal
What is this chapter about? Three forces of our personality are thinking, feeling, and willing. Our
disposition can be such that we get to know the world not through the senses, but through cognitional
forces in the personality itself.

What is its value? Feeling and willing are percepts, so to be a complete reality they need the
addition of a concept. Within intuitive thinking is found both feeling and will, in the depths of their
reality.
Part II Philosophy Of Freedom
Chapter 9 The Factors Of )ife *thics Of Personality
Chapter 10 The +dea Of Freedom *thics Of +ndi!iduality
Chapter 11 ,onism -nd The Philosophy Of Freedom *thics Of ,oral -uthority
Chapter 12 .orld/Purpose -nd )ife/Purpose *thics Of Purposefulness
Chapter 13 ,oral +ma0ination *thics Of ,oral +deas
Chapter 1 The 1alue Of )ife *thics Of )ife2s 1alue
Chapter 1! The +ndi!idual -nd The 3enus *thics Of Free +ndi!iduality
"ivi#$ %hi#&i#$
The difficulty of 0raspin0 the essential nature of thin4in0 by obser!ation lies in this5 that it has all too
easily eluded the introspectin0 soul by the time the soul tries to brin0 it into the focus of attention.
6othin0 then remains to be inspected but the lifeless abstraction5 the corpse of the li!in0 thin4in0. +f we
loo4 only at this abstraction5 we may easily find oursel!es compelled to enter into the mysticism of
feelin0 or perhaps the metaphysics of will5 which by contrast appear so 7full of life8. .e should then find
it stran0e that anyone should e9pect to 0rasp the essence of reality in 7mere thou0hts8. :ut if we once
succeed in really findin0 life in thin4in05 we shall 4now that swimmin0 in mere feelin0s5 or bein0
intuiti!ely aware of the will element5 cannot e!en be compared with the inner wealth and the self/
sustainin0 yet e!er mo!in0 e9perience of this life of thin4in05 let alone be ran4ed abo!e it.
+t is owin0 precisely to this wealth5 to this inward abundance of e9perience5 that the counter/ima0e of
thin4in0 which presents itself to our ordinary attitude of soul should appear lifeless and abstract. 6o
other acti!ity of the human soul is so easily misunderstood as thin4in0. .ill and feelin0 still fill the soul
with warmth e!en when we li!e throu0h the ori0inal e!ent a0ain in retrospect. Thin4in0 all too readily
lea!es us cold in recollection; it is as if the life of the soul had dried out. <et this is really nothin0 but the
stron0ly mar4ed shadow of its real nature = warm5 luminous5 and penetratin0 deeply into the
phenomena of the world. This penetration is brou0ht about by a power flowin0 throu0h the acti!ity of
thin4in0 itself = the power of lo!e in its spiritual form. There are no 0rounds here for the ob>ection that
to discern lo!e in the acti!ity of thin4in0 is to pro>ect into thin4in0 a feelin05 namely5 lo!e. For in truth
this ob>ection is but a confirmation of what we ha!e been sayin0.
+f we turn towards thin4in0 in its essence5 we find in it both feelin0 and will5 and these in the depths of
their reality; if we turn away from thin4in0 towards 7mere8 feelin0 and will5 we lose from these their true
reality. +f we are ready to e9perience thin4in0 intuiti!ely5 we can also do >ustice to the e9perience of
feelin0 and of will; but the mysticism of feelin0 and the metaphysics of will are not able to do >ustice to
the penetration of reality by intuiti!e thin4in0 = they conclude all too readily that they themsel!es are
rooted in reality5 but that the intuiti!e thin4er5 de!oid of feelin0 and a stran0er to reality5 forms out of
7abstract thou0hts8 a shadowy5 chilly picture of the world. 'Rudolf Steiner addition
Study Topics
ethics of personality
9(0 Co$#itive Perso#ality
+f we call the establishment of such a thou0ht connection an ?act of co0nition?5 and the resultin0
condition of our self ?4nowled0e?5 then5 assumin0 the abo!e supposition to be true5 we should ha!e to
consider oursel!es as bein0s who merely co0ni@e or 4now.
9(1 Feeli#$ Perso#ality
The 6aA!e Realist holds that the personality actually li!es more 0enuinely in the life of feelin0 than in
the purely ideal element of 4nowled0e.
9(2 Perceptio# of Feeli#$
To be0in with5 feelin0 is e9actly the same5 on the sub>ecti!e side5 as the perception is on the ob>ecti!e
side.
9(3 I#complete Feeli#$
Feelin0 is an incomplete reality5 which5 in the form in which it first appears to us5 does not yet contain
its second factor5 the concept or idea.
9( Feeli#$ Of )*iste#ce
The concept of self emer0es from within the dim feelin0 of our own e9istence.
9(! Cultivatio# Of Feeli#$
The culti!ation of the life of feelin0 appears more important than anythin0 else.
9(+ Feeli#$ ,#o-led$e
-ttempts to ma4e feelin05 rather than 4nowin05 the instrument of 4nowled0e.
9(. Philosopher Of Feeli#$
,a4es a uni!ersal principle out of somethin0 that has si0nificance only within one2s own personality.
9(/ Feeli#$ 0ysticism
.ants to raise feelin05 which is indi!idual5 into a uni!ersal principle.
9(9 Willi#$ Perso#ality
The indi!idual relation of our self to what is ob>ecti!e.
9(10 Philosophy Of Will
The will becomes the world/principle of reality.
9(11 1eal )*perie#ce Of Feeli#$ a#d Willi#$
:esides the ideal principle which is accessible to 4nowled0e5 there is said to be a real principle which
cannot be apprehended by thin4in0 but can yet be e9perienced in feelin0 and willin0.
9(12 2#iversal Will
The will as a uni!ersal world/process.
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9(0 Co$#itive Perso#ality
B1C )*T us recapitulate the results 0ained in the
pre!ious chapters. The world appears to man as a
multiplicity5 as an a00re0ate of separate entities. He
himself is one of these entities5 a thin0 amon0 thin0s.
Of this structure of the world we say simply that it is
0i!en5 and inasmuch as we do not construct it by
conscious acti!ity5 but simply find it5 we say that it
consists of percepts. .ithin this world of percepts we
percei!e oursel!es. This percept of Self would remain
merely one amon0 many other percepts5 did it not
0i!e rise to somethin0 which pro!es capable of
connectin0 all percepts one with another and5
therefore5 the a00re0ate of all other percepts with the
percept of Self.
This somethin0 which emer0es is no lon0er a mere percept; neither is it5 li4e percepts5 simply 0i!en. +t is
produced by our acti!ity. +t appears5 in the first instance5 bound up with what each of us percei!es as his
Self. +n its inner si0nificance5 howe!er5 it transcends the Self. +t adds to the separate percepts ideal
determinations5 which5 howe!er5 are related to one another5 and which are 0rounded in a whole. .hat
self/perception yields is ideally determined by this somethin0 in the same way as all other percepts5 and
placed as sub>ect5 or ? +5? o!er a0ainst the ob>ects.
This somethin0 is thou0ht5 and the ideal determinations are the
concepts and ideas. Thou0ht5 therefore5 first manifests itself in
connection with the percept of self. :ut it is not merely sub>ecti!e5
for the Self characteri@es itself as sub>ect only with the help of
thou0ht. This relation of the Self to itself by means of thou0ht is one
of the fundamental determinations of our personal li!es. Throu0h it
we lead a purely ideal e9istence. :y means of it we are aware of oursel!es as thin4in0 bein0s. This
determination of our li!es would remain a purely conceptual lo0ical" one5 if it were not supplemented by
other determinations of our Sel!es. Our li!es would then e9haust themsel!es in establishin0 ideal
connections between percepts themsel!es5 and between them and oursel!es. +f we call this establishment
of an ideal relation an ?act of co0nition5? and the resultin0 condition of oursel!es ?4nowled0e5? then5
assumin0 the abo!e supposition to be true5 we should ha!e to consider oursel!es as bein0s who merely
co0ni@e or 4now.
top
9(1 Feeli#$ Perso#ality
B'C The supposition is5 howe!er5 untrue. .e relate percepts to
oursel!es not merely ideally5 throu0h concepts5 but also5 as
we ha!e already seen5 throu0h feelin0. +n short5 the content
of our li!es is not merely conceptual.
The 6ai!e Realist holds that the personality actually li!es
more 0enuinely in the life of feelin0 than in the purely ideal
acti!ity of 4nowled0e. From his point of !iew he is Duite ri0ht
in interpretin0 the matter in this way.
top
9(2 Perceptio# of Feeli#$
Feelin0 is e9actly similar on the sub>ecti!e side to the percept on the ob>ecti!e side. From the principle of
6ai!e Realism5 that e!erythin0 is real which can be percei!ed5 it follows that feelin0 is the 0uarantee of
the reality of one2s own personality.
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9(3 I#complete Feeli#$
,onism5 howe!er5 must bestow on feelin0 the same supplementation which it considers necessary for
percepts5 if these are to stand to us for reality in its full nature. For ,onism5 feelin0 is an incomplete
reality which5 in the form in which it first appears to us5 lac4s as yet its second factor5 the concept or idea.
This is why5 in actual life5 feelin0s5 li4e percepts5 appear prior to 4nowled0e.
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9( Feeli#$ Of )*iste#ce
-t first5 we ha!e merely a feelin0 of e9istence; and it is only in the course of our 0radual de!elopment5
that we attain to the point at which the concept of Self emer0es from within the blind mass of feelin0s
which fills our e9istence. Howe!er5 what for us does not appear until later5 is from the first indissolubly
bound up with our feelin0s.
co$#itio#3 establishment of an
ideal relationship between
percepts
&#o-led$e3 the chan0e in us as
the result of co0nition
top
9(! Cultivatio# Of Feeli#$
This is how the nai!e man comes to belie!e that in feelin0 he 0rasps
e9istence directly5 in 4nowled0e only indirectly.
The culti!ation of the life of feelin05 therefore5 appears to him more
important than anythin0 else.
top
9(+ Feeli#$ ,#o-led$e
6ot until he has 0rasped the unity of the world throu0h feelin0 will he belie!e that he has comprehended
it. He attempts to ma4e feelin0 rather than thou0ht the instrument of 4nowled0e.
top
9(. Philosopher Of Feeli#$
6ow a feelin0 is entirely indi!idual5 somethin0 eDui!alent to a percept. Hence
a philosophy of feelin0 ma4es a cosmic principle out of somethin0 which has
si0nificance only within my own personality. -nyone who holds this !iew
attempts to infuse his own self into the whole world.
.hat the ,onist stri!es to 0rasp by means of concepts5 the philosopher of
feelin0 tries to attain throu0h feelin05 and he loo4s on his own felt union with
ob>ects as more immediate than 4nowled0e.
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9(/ Feeli#$ 0ysticism
BEC The tendency >ust described5 the philosophy of
feelin05 is ,ysticism. The error in this !iew is that it
see4s to possess by immediate e9perience what must
be 4nown5 that it see4s to de!elop feelin05 which is
indi!idual5 into a uni!ersal principle.
B$C - feelin0 is a purely indi!idual acti!ity. +t is the
relation of the e9ternal world to the sub>ect5 in so far
as this relation finds e9pression in a purely sub>ecti!e
e9perience.
top
9(9 Willi#$ Perso#ality
B&C There is yet another e9pression of human personality. The Self5 throu0h thou0ht5 ta4es part in the
uni!ersal world/life. Throu0h thou0ht it establishes purely ideal conceptual" relations between percepts
and itself5 and between itself and percepts. +n feelin0 it has immediate e9perience of the relation of
ob>ects to itself as sub>ect. +n will the opposite is the case. +n !olition5 we are concerned once more with a
percept5 !i@.5 that of the indi!idual relation of the self to what is ob>ecti!e. .hate!er in the act of will is
not an ideal factor5 is >ust as much mere ob>ect of perception as is any ob>ect in the e9ternal world.
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9(10 Philosophy Of Will
B6C 6e!ertheless5 the 6ai!e Realist belie!es here a0ain that
he has before him somethin0 far more real than can e!er
be attained by thou0ht. He sees in the will an element in
which he is immediately aware of an acti!ity5 a causation5
in contrast with thou0ht which afterwards 0rasps this
acti!ity in conceptual form.
On this !iew5 the reali@ation by the Self of its will is a
process which is e9perienced immediately. The adherent of
this philosophy belie!es that in the will he has really 0ot
hold of one end of reality. .hereas he can follow other
occurrences only from the outside by means of perception5
he is confident that in his will he e9periences a real process
Duite immediately.
The mode of e9istence presented to him by the will within himself becomes for him the fundamental
reality of the uni!erse. His own will appears to him as a special case of the 0eneral world/process; hence
the latter is concei!ed as a uni!ersal will. The will becomes the principle of reality >ust as5 in ,ysticism5
feelin0 becomes the principle of 4nowled0e. This 4ind of theory is called 1oluntarism Thelism". +t ma4es
somethin0 which can be e9perienced only indi!idually the dominant factor of the world.
top
9(11 1eal )*perie#ce Of Feeli#$ a#d Willi#$
BFC 1oluntarism can as little be called scientific as can ,ysticism. For both
assert that the conceptual interpretation of the world is inadeDuate. :oth
demand5 in addition to a principle of bein0 which is ideal5 also a principle
which is real. :ut as perception is our only means of apprehendin0 these
so/called real principles5 the assertion of ,ysticism and 1oluntarism coincides with the !iew that we ha!e
two sources of 4nowled0e5 !i@.5 thou0ht and perception5 the latter findin0 indi!idual e9pression as will and
feelin0.
Since the immediate e9periences which flow from the one source cannot be directly absorbed into the
thou0hts which flow from the other5 perception immediate e9perience" and thou0ht remain side by side5
without any hi0her form of e9perience to mediate between them. :eside the conceptual principle to which
we attain by means of 4nowled0e5 there is also a real principle which must be immediately e9perienced.
+n other words5 ,ysticism and 1oluntarism are both forms of 6ai!e Realism because they subscribe to the
doctrine that the immediately percei!ed e9perienced" is real.
Gompared with 6ai!e Realism in its primiti!e form5 they are 0uilty of the yet further inconsistency of
acceptin0 one definite form of perception feelin05 respecti!ely will" as the e9clusi!e means of 4nowin0
reality. <et they can do this only so lon0 as they clin0 to the 0eneral principle that e!erythin0 that is
percei!ed is real. They ou0ht5 therefore5 to attach an eDual !alue to e9ternal perception for purposes of
4nowled0e.
1oluntarism
Voluntarism can as little
be called scientific as can
Mysticism
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9(12 2#iversal Will
BHC 1oluntarism turns into ,etaphysical Realism5 when it
asserts the e9istence of will also in those spheres of
reality in which will can no lon0er5 as in the indi!idual
sub>ect5 be immediately e9perienced. +t assumes
hypothetically that a principle holds outside sub>ecti!e
e9perience5 for the e9istence of which5 ne!ertheless5
sub>ecti!e e9perience is the sole criterion.
-s a form of ,etaphysical Realism5 1oluntarism is open to
the criticism de!eloped in the precedin0 chapter5 a
criticism which ma4es it necessary to o!ercome the
contradictory element in e!ery form of ,etaphysical
Realism5 and to reco0ni@e that the will is a uni!ersal
world/process only in so far as it is ideally related to the
rest of the world.
The will is a uni!ersal world/process only in
so far as it is ideally related
to the rest of the world.
CHAPTER
10
THE IDEA
OF
FREEDOM
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 !idea" chan#ed to !mental picture"$
%&'%(')%1)
X
THE IDEA OF FREEDOM
*ournal
What is this chapter about? For free deeds 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. That something ideal
expresses itself in its own unique way through my instincts, passions, and feelings, constitutes my
individuality.

What is its value? 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. " moral misunderstanding, a clash of aims, is impossible
between men who are free. #nly 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.
Thinking That Is Free From The Psyche-Physical Organization
Only if+ by means of unpre,udiced obser-ation+ one has wrestled throu#h to the reco#nition of this
truth of the intuiti-e essence of thin.in# will one succeed in clearin# the way for an insi#ht into the
psyche/physical or#ani0ation of man. One will see that this or#ani0ation can ha-e no effect on the
essential nature of thin.in#. 1t first si#ht this seems to be contradicted by patently ob-ious facts. For
ordinary e2perience+ human thin.in# ma.es its appearance only in connection with+ and by means of+
this or#ani0ation. This form of its appearance comes so much to the fore that its real si#nificance
cannot be #rasped unless we reco#ni0e that in the essence of thin.in# this or#ani0ation plays no part
whate-er.
Once we appreciate this+ we can no lon#er fail to notice what a peculiar .ind of relationship there is
between the human or#ani0ation and the thin.in# itself. For this or#ani0ation contributes nothin# to
the essential nature of thin.in#+ but recedes whene-er the acti-ity of thin.in# ma.es its appearance3 it
suspends its own acti-ity+ it yields #round3 and on the #round thus left empty+ the thin.in# appears.
The essence which is acti-e in thin.in# has a twofold function4 first+ it represses the acti-ity of the
human or#ani0ation3 secondly+ it steps into its place. For e-en the former+ the repression of the
physical or#ani0ation+ is a conse5uence of the acti-ity of thin.in#+ and more particularly of that part of
this acti-ity which prepares the manifestation of thin.in#.
From this one can see in what sense thin.in# finds its counterpart in the physical or#ani0ation. 6hen
we see this+ we can no lon#er mis,ud#e the si#nificance of this counterpart of the acti-ity of thin.in#.
6hen we wal. o-er soft #round+ our feet lea-e impressions in the soil. 6e shall not be tempted to say
that these footprints ha-e been formed from below by the forces of the #round. 6e shall not attribute
to these forces any share in the production of the footprints. *ust as little+ if we obser-e the essential
nature of thin.in# without pre,udice+ shall we attribute any share in that nature to the traces in the
physical or#anism which arise throu#h the fact that the thin.in# prepares its manifestation by means
of the body. /Rudolf Steiner+ 7hapter 1% re-ision
Study Topics
ethics of indi-iduality
100 Intuitive !ction
8y an act of thin.in# 9 lin. up my indi-idual faculty my will$ with the uni-ersal world/process. The
conceptual content of an act of will is not deduced from the action. 9t is #ot by intuition.
101 Intuitive !ction
9f the conceptual intuition ideal content$ of my act of will occurs before the correspondin# percept
the action$+ then the content of what 9 do is determined by my ideas. The conceptual intuition of an
act of will is determined only by the conceptual system itself. 9n other words+ the determinin# factors
for my will are to be found+ not in the perceptual+ but only in the conceptual world.
10" #otive O$ Will
The conceptual factor+ or moti-e+ is the momentary determinin# cause of an act of will. The moti-e of
an act of will can be only a pure concept+ or else a concept with a definite relation to perception+ i.e.+ a
mental picture.
10% &haracterological 'isposition
The characterolo#ical disposition is formed by the more or less permanent content of our sub,ecti-e
life+ that is+ by the content of our mental pictures and feelin#s. 9t is determined especially by my life of
feelin#.
10( )evels O$ #orality
The le-els of dri-in# force are4 instinct+ feelin#s+ thin.in# and formin# mental pictures+ and conceptual
thin.in#. The le-els of moti-e are e#oism+ moral authority+ moral insi#ht+ and conceptual intuition.
10* #oral Intuition
1mon# the le-els of characterolo#ical disposition+ we ha-e sin#led out as the hi#hest the one that
wor.s as pure thin.in# or practical reason. 1mon# the moti-es+ we ha-e sin#led out conceptual
intuition as the hi#hest. On closer inspection it will at once be seen that at this le-el of morality dri-in#
force and moti-e coincide.
10+ #oral #otive
How can an action be indi-idually made to fit the special case and the special situation+ and yet at the
same time be determined by intuition in a purely ideal way: This ob,ection rests upon a confusion of
the moral moti-e with the perceptible content of an action. Of course+ my ;9; ta.es notice of these
perceptual contents+ but it does not allow itself to be determined by them.
10, -thical In.ivi.ualism
The sum of ideas which are effecti-e in us+ the concrete content of our intuitions+ constitutes what is
indi-idual in each of us. To let this content e2press itself in life is both the hi#hest moral dri-in# force
and the hi#hest moti-e a man can ha-e. 6e may call this point of -iew ethical indi-idualism.
10/ )ove For The Ob0ective
6hile 9 am performin# the action 9 am influenced by a moral ma2im in so far as it can li-e in me
intuiti-ely3 it is bound up with my lo-e for the ob,ecti-e that 9 want to reali0e throu#h my action. 9 do
not wor. out mentally whether my action is #ood or bad3 9 carry it out because 9 lo-e it.
101 -2pression O$ I.eals In In.ivi.ual Way
The animal instinct which dri-es a man to a criminal act does not belon# to what is indi-idual in him.
The fact that somethin# ideal e2presses itself in its own uni5ue way throu#h these instincts+ passions+
and feelin#s+ constitutes my indi-iduality.
1010 3armony O$ Intentions
9f we both draw our intuitions really from the world of ideas+ and do not obey mere e2ternal impulses
physical or moral$+ then we can not but meet one another in stri-in# for the same aims+ in ha-in# the
same intentions.
1011 &oncept o$ the Free 3uman 4eing
The intellectual life o-ercomes his twofold nature by means of .nowled#e+ the moral life succeeds
throu#h the actual reali0ation of the free spirit.
101" #oral Worl. Or.er
<an does not e2ist in order to found a moral order of the world. The social order arises so that it may
react fa-orably upon the indi-idual.
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100 Intuitive !ction
=1> TH? concept ;tree; is conditioned for our .nowled#e by the percept ;tree.; There is only one
determinate concept which 9 can select from the #eneral system of concepts and apply to a #i-en percept.
The connection of concept and percept is mediately and ob,ecti-ely determined by thou#ht in conformity
with the percept. The connection between a percept and its concept is reco#ni0ed after the act of
perception+ but the rele-ance of the one to the other is determined by the character of each.
=)> 9n willin# the situation is different. The percept is here the content of my e2istence as an indi-idual+
whereas the concept is the uni-ersal element in me. 6hat is brou#ht into ideal relation to the e2ternal
world by means of the concept+ is an immediate e2perience of my own+ a percept of my Self. <ore
precisely+ it is a percept of my Self as acti-e+ as producin# effects on the e2ternal world. 9n apprehendin#
my own acts of will+ 9 connect a concept with a correspondin# percept+ -i0.+ with the particular -olition. 9n
other words+ by an act of thou#ht 9 lin. up my indi-idual faculty my will$ with the uni-ersal world/
process.
The content of a concept correspondin# to an e2ternal percept appearin# within the field of my
e2perience+ is #i-en throu#h intuition. 9ntuition is the source for the content of my whole conceptual
system. The percept shows me only which concept 9 ha-e to apply+ in any #i-en instance+ out of the
a##re#ate 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 intuiti-ely #i-en and connected with the percept by an act of
thou#ht. The same is true of the conceptual content of an act of will which is ,ust as little capable of bein#
deduced from this act. 9t is #ot by intuition.
top
101 Intuitive !ction
=@> 9f now the conceptual intuition ideal content$ of my act of will occurs before the correspondin#
percept+ then the content of what 9 do is determined by my ideas. The reason why 9 select from the
number of possible intuitions ,ust this special one+ cannot be sou#ht in an ob,ect of perception+ but is
to be found rather in the purely ideal interdependence of the members of my system of concepts. 9n
other words+ the determinin# factors for my will are to be found+ not in the perceptual+ but only in the
conceptual world. <y will is determined by my idea .
The conceptual system which corresponds to the e2ternal world is conditioned
by this e2ternal world. 6e must determine from the percept itself what concept
corresponds to it3 and how+ in turn+ this concept will fit in with the rest of my
system of ideas+ depends on its intuiti-e content. The percept thus conditions
directly its concept and+ thereby+ indirectly also its place in the conceptual
system of my world. 8ut 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.
1n act of will which depends on nothin# but this ideal content must itself be re#arded as ideal+ that is+
as determined by an idea. This does not imply+ of course+ that all acts of will are determined only by
ideas. 1ll factors which determine the human indi-idual ha-e an influence on his will.
top
10" #otive O$ Will
=&> 9n a particular act of will we must distin#uish two factors4 the moti-e+ and the sprin# of action. The
moti-e is the conceptual factor+ the sprin# of action is the perceptual factor in will. The conceptual factor+
or moti-e+ is the momentary determinin# cause of an act of will+ the sprin# of action is the permanent
determinin# factor in the indi-idual. The moti-e of an act of will can be only a pure concept+ or else a
concept with a definite relation to perception+ i.e.+ a mental picture. Ani-ersal and indi-idual concepts
mental pictures$ become moti-es of will by influencin# the human indi-idual and determinin# him to
action in a particular direction. One and the same concept+ howe-er+ or one and the same mental picture+
influences different indi-iduals differently. They determine different men to different actions. 1n act of will
is+ therefore+ not merely the outcome of the concept or the mental picture+ but also of the indi-idual
the determining
factors for my will
are found only in the
conceptual world
ma.e/up of human bein#s. This indi-idual ma.e/up we will call+ followin# ?dward -an Hartmann+ the
;characterolo#ical disposition.; The manner in which concept and mental picture act on the
characterolo#ical disposition of a man #i-es to his life a definite moral or ethical stamp.
T5o Factors o$ !ct o$ Will
#otive 7onceptual
factor
<omentary
cause
Pure concept or
mental picture
Boal+ purpose
of action
6pring o$ !ction
7'riving $orce8
Perceptual
factor
Permanent
factor
9ndi-idual ma.e/up
characterolo#ical disposition$
Habitual ideas
and feelin#s
dri-e action
top
10% &haracterological 'isposition
=(> The characterolo#ical disposition consists of the more or less permanent content of the indi-idualCs
life+ that is+ of his habitual ideas and feelin#s. 6hether an idea which enters my mind at this moment
stimulates me to an act of will or not+ depends on its relation to my other ideal
contents+ and also to my peculiar modes of feelin#. <y ideal content+ in turn+ is
conditioned by the sum total of those concepts which ha-e+ in the course of my
indi-idual life+ come in contact with percepts+ that is+ ha-e become mental
pictures. This+ a#ain+ depends on my #reater or lesser capacity for intuition+ and
on the ran#e of my perception+ that is+ on the sub,ecti-e and ob,ecti-e factors of
my e2periences+ on the structure of my mind and on my en-ironment. <y
affecti-e life more especially determines my characterolo#ical disposition. 6hether
9 shall ma.e a certain mental picture or concept the moti-e for action will depend
on whether it #i-es me pleasure or pain.
These are the factors which we ha-e to consider in an act of will. The immediately
present mental picture or concept+ which becomes the moti-e+ determines the end
or the purpose of my will3 my characterolo#ical disposition determines me to
direct my acti-ity towards this end. The idea of ta.in# a wal. in the ne2t half/hour
determines the end of my action. 8ut this idea is raised to the le-el of a moti-e
only if it meets with a suitable characterolo#ical disposition+ that is+ if durin# my
past life 9 ha-e formed the mental pictures of the wholesomeness of wal.in# and
the -alue of health3 and further+ if the mental picture of wal.in# is accompanied
by a feelin# of pleasure.
top
10( )evels O$ #orality
=6> 6e must+ therefore+ distin#uish 1$ the possible sub,ecti-e dispositions which are li.ely to turn #i-en
mental pictures and concepts into moti-es+ and )$ the possible mental pictures and concepts which are
capable of so influencin# my characterolo#ical disposition that an act of will results. The former are for
morality the sprin#s of action+ the latter its ends.
6P9I:;6 OF !&TIO:
=D> The sprin#s of action in the moral life can be disco-ered by analy0in# the elements of which
indi-idual life is composed.
Instinct 75ill8
=E> The first le-el of indi-idual life is that of perception+ more particularly sense/perception. This is the
sta#e of our indi-idual li-es in which a percept translates itself into will immediately+ without the
inter-ention of either a feelin# or a concept. The sprin# of action here in-ol-ed may be called simply
instinct. Our lower+ purely animal+ needs hun#er+ se2ual intercourse+ etc.$ find their satisfaction in this
6al.in# brin#s me
pleasure.
way. The main characteristic of instincti-e life is the immediacy with which the percept starts off the
act of will. This .ind of determination of the will+ which belon#s
ori#inally only to the life of the lower senses+ may howe-er become
e2tended also to the percepts of the hi#her senses. 6e may react to
the percept of a certain e-ent in the e2ternal world without reflectin#
on what we do+ and without any special feelin# connectin# itself with
the percept. 6e ha-e e2amples of this especially in our ordinary
con-entional intercourse with men. The sprin# of this .ind of action is
called tact or moral #ood taste. The more often such immediate
reactions to a percept occur+ the more the a#ent will pro-e himself able
to act purely under the #uidance of tact3 that is+ tact becomes his
characterolo#ical disposition.
Feeling
=9> The second le-el of human
life is feelin#. Fefinite feelin#s
accompany the percepts of the e2ternal world. These feelin#s
may become sprin#s of action. 6hen 9 see a hun#ry man+ my
pity for him may become the sprin# of my action. Such feelin#s+
for e2ample+ are modesty+ pride+ sense of honour+ humility+
remorse+ pity+ re-en#e+ #ratitude+ piety+ loyalty+ lo-e+ and duty.
Thought
=1%> The third and last le-el of life is ha-in# thou#hts and formin#
mental pictures. 1 mental picture or a concept may become the moti-e
of an action throu#h mere reflection. <ental pictures become moti-es
because+ in the course of my life+ 9 re#ularly connect certain aims of
my will with percepts which recur a#ain and a#ain in a more or less
modified form. Hence it is+ that with men who are not wholly without
e2perience+ the occurrence of certain percepts is always accompanied
also by the consciousness of mental pictures of actions+ which they
ha-e themsel-es carried out in similar cases or which they ha-e seen
others carry out. These mental pictures float before their minds as
determinin# models in all subse5uent decisions3 they become parts of
their characterolo#ical disposition. 6e may #i-e the name of practical
e2perience to the sprin# of action ,ust described. Practical e2perience
mer#es #radually into purely tactful beha-iour. That happens+ when
definite typical pictures of actions ha-e become so closely connected in
our minds with mental picturess of certain situations in life+ that+ in any
#i-en instance+ we omit all deliberation based on e2perience+ and pass
immediately from the percept to the action.
&onceptual Thinking
=11> The hi#hest le-el of indi-idual life is that of conceptual thou#ht without reference to any definite
perceptual content. 6e determine the content of a concept throu#h pure intuition on the basis of an
ideal system. Such a concept contains+ at first+ no reference to any definite percepts. 6hen an act of
will comes about under the influence of a concept which refers to
a percept+ i.e.+ under the influence of a mental picture+ then it is
the percept which determines our action indirectly by way of the
concept. 8ut when we act under the influence of pure intuitions+
the sprin# of our action is pure thou#ht. 1s it is the custom in
philosophy to call pure thou#ht ;reason+; we may perhaps be ,ustified in #i-in# the name of practical
reason to the sprin# of action characteristic of this le-el of life. The clearest account of this sprin# of
action has been #i-en by Greyenbuhl $hilosophische %onatshefte+ -ol. 2-iii+ Ho. @$. 9n my opinion his
article on this sub,ect is one of the most important contributions to present/day philosophy+ more
especially to ?thics. Greyenbuhl calls the sprin# of action+ of which we are treatin#+ the practical
apriori+ i.e.+ a sprin# of action issuin# immediately from my intuition.
when we act under the influence
of pure intuitions, the spring of
our action is pure thought
?ti5uette
Practical ?2perience
=1)> 9t is clear that such a sprin# of action can no lon#er be counted in the strictest sense as part of
the characterolo#ical disposition. For what is here effecti-e in me as a sprin# of action is no lon#er
somethin# purely indi-idual+ but the ideal+ and hence uni-ersal+ content of my intuition. 1s soon as 9
re#ard the content as the -alid basis and startin#/point of an action+ 9 pass o-er into willin#+
irrespecti-e of whether the concept was already in my mind beforehand+ or whether it only occurs to
me immediately before the action+ that is+ irrespecti-e of whether it was present in the form of a
disposition in me or not.
#OTI<-6
=1@> 1 real act of will results only when a present impulse to action+ in the form of a concept or mental
picture+ acts on the characterolo#ical disposition. Such an impulse thereupon becomes the moti-e of
the will.
=1&> The moti-es of moral conduct are mental pictures and concepts. There are <oralists who see in
feelin# also a moti-e of morality3 they assert+ e.#.+ that the end of moral conduct is to secure the
#reatest possible 5uantity of pleasure for the a#ent. Pleasure itself+ howe-er+ can ne-er be a moti-e3 at
best only the idea of pleasure can act as moti-e. The mental picture of a future pleasure+ but not the
feelin# itself+ can act on my characterolo#ical disposition. For the feelin# does not yet e2ist in the
moment of action3 on the contrary+ it has first to be produced by the action.
-goism
=1(> The mental picture of oneCs own or anotherCs well/bein# is+
howe-er+ ri#htly re#arded as a moti-e of the will. The principle of
producin# the #reatest 5uantity of pleasure for oneself throu#h oneCs
action+ that is+ to attain indi-idual happiness+ is called ?#oism. The
attainment of this indi-idual happiness is sou#ht either by thin.in#
ruthlessly only of oneCs own #ood+ and stri-in# to attain it e-en at the
cost of the happiness of other indi-iduals Pure ?#oism$+ or by
promotin# the #ood of others+ either because one anticipates indirectly a
fa-ourable influence on oneCs own happiness throu#h the happiness of
others+ or because one fears to endan#er oneCs own interest by in,urin#
others <orality of Prudence$. The special content of the e#oistical
principle of morality will depend on the mental pictures which we form of
what constitutes our own+ or othersC #ood. 1 man will determine the
content of his e#oistical stri-in# in accordance with what he re#ards as
one of lifeCs #ood thin#s lu2ury+ hope of happiness+ deli-erance from
different e-ils+ etc.$.
#oral !uthority
=16> Further+ the purely conceptual content of an action is to be
re#arded as yet another .ind of moti-e. This content has no
reference+ li.e the mental picture of oneCs own pleasure+ solely to
the particular action+ but to the deduction of an action from a
system of moral principles. These moral principles+ in the form of
abstract concepts+ may #uide the indi-idualCs moral life without his
worryin# himself about the ori#in of his concepts. 9n that case+ we
feel merely the moral necessity of submittin# to a moral concept+
which+ in the form of law+ controls our actions. The ,ustification of
this necessity we lea-e to those who demand from us moral
sub,ection+ that is+ to those whose moral authority o-er us we
ac.nowled#e the head of the family+ the state+ social custom+ the
authority of the church+ di-ine re-elation$. 6e meet with a special
.ind of these moral principles when the law is not proclaimed to us by an e2ternal authority+ but comes
from our own sel-es moral autonomy$. 9n this case we belie-e that we hear the -oice+ to which we
ha-e to submit oursel-es+ in our own souls. The name for this -oice is conscience.
#oral Insight
=1D> 9t is a #reat moral ad-ance when a man no lon#er ta.es as the moti-e of his action the
commands of an e2ternal or internal authority+ but tries to understand the reason why a #i-en ma2im
of action ou#ht to be effecti-e as a moti-e in him. This is the ad-ance from morality based on
authority to action from moral insi#ht. 1t this le-el of morality+ a man will try to disco-er the demands
of the moral life+ and will let his action be determined by this .nowled#e. Such demands are 1$ the
#reatest possible happiness of humanity as a whole purely for its own sa.e+ )$ the pro#ress of
ci-ili0ation+ or the moral de-elopment of man.ind towards e-er #reater perfection+ @$ the reali0ation
of indi-idual moral ends concei-ed by an act of pure intuition.
=1E> The #reatest possible happiness of humanity as a
whole will naturally be differently concei-ed by different
people. The abo-e mentioned ma2im does not imply any
definite mental picture of this happiness+ but rather means
that e-ery one who ac.nowled#es this principle stri-es to do
all that+ in his opinion+ most promotes the #ood of the
whole of humanity.
=19> The pro#ress of ci-ili0ation is seen to be a special
application of the moral principle ,ust mentioned+ at any
rate for those to whom the #oods which ci-ili0ation
produces brin# feelin#s of pleasure. Howe-er+ they will ha-e
to pay the price of pro#ress in the destruction and annihilation of many thin#s which also contribute to
the happiness of humanity. 9t is+ howe-er+ also possible that some men loo. upon the pro#ress of
ci-ili0ation as a moral necessity+ 5uite apart from the feelin#s of pleasure which it brin#s. 9f so+ the
pro#ress of ci-ili0ation will be a new moral principle for them+ different from the pre-ious one.
&onceptual Intuition
=)%> 8oth the principle of the public #ood+ and that of the pro#ress of ci-ili0ation+ ali.e depend on the
way in which we apply the content of our moral ideas to particular e2periences percepts$. The hi#hest
principle of morality which we can concei-e+ howe-er+ is that which contains to start with+ no such
reference to particular e2periences+ but which sprin#s from the source of pure intuition and does not
see. until later any connection with percepts+ i.e.+ with life. The determination of what ou#ht to be
willed issues here from a point of -iew -ery different from that of the pre-ious two principles. 6hoe-er
accepts the principle of the public #ood will in all his actions as. first what his ideals contribute to this
public #ood. The upholder of the pro#ress of ci-ili0ation as the principle of morality will act similarly.
There is+ howe-er+ a still hi#her mode of conduct which+ in a #i-en case+ does not start from any sin#le
limited moral ideal+ but which sees a certain -alue in
all moral principles+ always as.in# whether this or that
is more important in a particular case. 9t may happen
that a man considers in certain circumstances the
promotion of the public #ood+ in others that of the
pro#ress of ci-ili0ation+ and in yet others the furtherin# of his own pri-ate #ood+ to be the ri#ht course+
and ma.es that the moti-e of his action. 8ut when all other #rounds of determination ta.e second
place+ then we rely+ in the first place+ on conceptual intuition itself. 1ll other moti-es now drop out of
si#ht+ and the ideal content of an action alone becomes its moti-e.
top
10* #oral Intuition
=)1> 1mon# the le-els of characterolo#ical disposition+ we ha-e sin#led out as the hi#hest that which
manifests itself as pure thou#ht+ or practical reason. 1mon# the moti-es+ we ha-e ,ust sin#led out
conceptual intuition as the hi#hest. On nearer consideration+ we now
percei-e that at this le-el of morality the sprin# of action and the
moti-e coincide+ i.e.+ that neither a predetermined characterolo#ical
disposition+ nor an e2ternal 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 e2ternal impulse. Rather it is
sees a certain value in all moral principles,
always asking whether this or that is more
important in a particular case
for such an action to be
possible, we must first be
capable of moral intuitions
determined solely throu#h its ideal content.
=))> For such an action to be possible+ we must first be capable of moral intuitions. 6hoe-er lac.s the
capacity to thin. out for himself the moral principles that apply in each particular case+ will ne-er rise to
the le-el of #enuine indi-idual willin#.
=)@> GantCs principle of morality4 1ct so that the principle of your action may be -alid for all
men =is the e2act opposite of ours. His principle would mean death to all indi-idual action.
The norm for me can ne-er be what all men would do+ but rather what it is ri#ht for me to do
in each special case.
top
10+ #oral #otive
=)&> 1 superficial criticism mi#ht ur#e a#ainst these ar#uments4 How can an action be indi-idually
adapted to the special case and the special situation+ and yet at the same time be ideally determined by
pure intuition: This ob,ection rests on a confusion of the moral moti-e with the perceptual content of an
action. The latter+ indeed+ may be a moti-e+ and is actually a moti-e when we act for the pro#ress of
culture+ or from pure e#oism+ etc.+ but in action based on pure moral intuition it ne-er is a moti-e. Of
course+ my Self ta.es notice of these perceptual contents+ but it does not allow itself to be determined by
them. The content is used only to construct a theoretical concept+ but the correspondin# moral concept is
not deri-ed from the ob,ect. The theoretical concept of a #i-en situation which faces me+ is a moral
concept also+ only if 9 adopt the standpoint of a particular moral principle. 9f 9 base all my conduct on the
principle of the pro#ress of ci-ili0ation+ then my way throu#h life is tied down to a fi2ed route. From e-ery
occurrence which comes to my notice and attracts my interest+ there sprin#s a moral duty+ -i0.+ to do my
tiny share towards usin# this occurrence in the ser-ice of the
pro#ress of ci-ili0ation. 9n addition to the concept which re-eals to
me the connections of e-ents or ob,ects accordin# to the laws of
nature+ there is also a moral label attached to them which contains
for me+ as a moral a#ent+ ethical directions as to how 9 ha-e to
conduct myself. 1t a hi#her le-el these moral labels disappear+ and
my action is determined in each particular instance by my idea3 and more particularly by the idea which is
su##ested to me by the concrete instance.
top
10, -thical In.ivi.ualism
=)(> <en -ary #reatly in their capacity for intuition. 9n some+
ideas bubble up li.e a sprin#+ others ac5uire them with much
labour. The situations in which men li-e+ and which are the
scenes of their actions+ are no less widely different. The
conduct of a man will depend+ therefore+ on the manner in
which his faculty of intuition reacts to a #i-en situation. The
a##re#ate of the ideas which are effecti-e in us+ the concrete
content of our intuitions+ constitute that which is indi-idual in
each of us+ notwithstandin# the uni-ersal character of our
ideas. 9n so far as this intuiti-e content has reference to action+
it constitutes the moral substance of the indi-idual. To let this
substance e2press itself in his life is the moral principle of the
man who re#ards all other moral principles as subordinate. 6e
may call this point of -iew ?thical 9ndi-idualism.
=)6> The determinin# factor of an action+ in any concrete
instance+ is the disco-ery of the correspondin# purely indi-idual
intuition. 1t this le-el of morality+ there can be no 5uestion of #eneral moral concepts norms+ laws$.
Beneral norms always presuppose concrete facts from which they can be deduced. 8ut facts ha-e first
to be created by human action.
at a higher level these moral
labels disappear, and my action
is determined in each particular
instance by my idea
top
10/ )ove For The Ob0ective
=)D> 6hen we loo. for the re#ulatin# principles the conceptual principles #uidin# the actions of
indi-iduals+ peoples+ epochs$+ we obtain a system of ?thics which is not a science of moral norms+ but
rather a science of morality as a natural fact. Only the laws disco-ered in this way are related to human
action as the laws of nature are related to particular phenomena. These laws+ howe-er+ are -ery far from
bein# identical with the principles on which we base our actions. 6hen 9+ or another+ subse5uently re-iew
my action we can disco-er what moral principles came into play in it. 8ut so lon# as 9 am actin#+ 9 am
influenced not by these moral principles but by my lo-e for the ob,ect+ which 9 want to reali0e throu#h my
action. 9 as. no man and no moral code+ whether 9 shall perform this action or not. On the contrary+ 9
carry it out as soon as 9 ha-e formed the idea of it. This alone ma.es it my action.
9f a man acts because he accepts certain moral norms+ his action is the outcome
of the principles which compose his moral code. He merely carries out orders. He
is a superior .ind of automaton. 9n,ect some stimulus to action into his mind+ and
at once the cloc./wor. of his moral principles will be#in to wor. and run its
prescribed course+ so as to issue in an action which is 7hristian+ or humane+ or
unselfish+ or calculated to promote the pro#ress of culture. 9t is only when 9
follow solely my lo-e for the ob,ect+ that it is 9+ myself+ who act. 1t this le-el of
morality+ 9 ac.nowled#e no lord o-er me+ neither an e2ternal authority+ nor the
so/called -oice of my conscience. 9 ac.nowled#e no e2ternal principle of my
action+ because 9 ha-e found in myself the #round for my action+ -i0.+ my lo-e of
the action. 9 do not as. whether my action is #ood or bad3 9 perform it+
because 9 am in lo-e with it. Heither do 9 as. myself how another man would
act in my position. On the contrary+ 9 act as 9+ this uni5ue indi-iduality+ will to
act. Ho #eneral usa#e+ no common custom+ no #eneral ma2im current amon#
men+ no moral norm #uides me+ but my lo-e for the action. 9 feel no compulsion+ neither the compulsion
of nature which dominates me throu#h my instincts+ nor the compulsion of the moral commandments. <y
will is simply to reali0e what in me lies.
top
101 -2pression O$ I.eals In In.ivi.ual Way
=)E> Those who hold to #eneral moral norms will reply to these ar#uments that+ if e-ery one has the ri#ht
to li-e himself out and to do what he pleases+ there can be no distinction between a #ood and a bad
action+ e-ery fraudulent impulse in me has the same ri#ht to issue in action as the intention to ser-e the
#eneral #ood. 9t is not the mere fact of my ha-in# concei-ed the idea of an action which ou#ht to
determine me as a moral a#ent+ but the further e2amination of whether it is a #ood or an e-il action. Only
if it is #ood ou#ht 9 to carry it out.
=)9> 9n reply 9 would say that 9 am not tal.in# of children or of men who follow their animal or social
instincts. 9 am tal.in# of men who are capable of raisin# themsel-es to the le-el of the ideal content of the
world. 9t is only in an a#e in which immature men re#ard the blind instincts as part of a manCs
indi-iduality+ that the act of a criminal can be described as li-in# out oneCs indi-iduality in the same sense
in which the embodiment in action of a pure intuition can be so described.
The animal instinct which dri-es a man to a criminal act does
not belon# to what is indi-idual in him+ but rather to that
which is most #eneral in him+ to that which is e5ually present
in all indi-iduals. The indi-idual element in me is not my
or#anism with its instincts and feelin#s+ but rather the unified
world of ideas which re-eals itself throu#h this or#anism. <y
instincts+ cra-in#s+ passions+ ,ustify no further assertion about
me than that 9 belon# to the
#eneral species man. The fact
that somethin# ideal e2presses
itself in its own uni5ue way
throu#h these instincts+
passions+ and feelin#s+
only when I follow my
love for my ob&ective is
it I myself who act
9ndi-idualists:
that something 'ideal(
expresses itself in its own
unique way through these
instincts, passions, and
feelings, constitutes my
individuality
constitutes my indi-iduality. <y instincts and cra-in#s ma.e me the sort of man of whom there are twel-e
to the do0en. The uni5ue character of the idea+ by means of which 9 distin#uish myself within the do0en
as ;9+; ma.es of me an indi-idual. Only a bein# other than myself could distin#uish me from others by the
difference in my animal nature. 8y thou#ht+ i.e.+ by the acti-e #raspin# of the ideal element wor.in# itself
out throu#h my or#anism+ 9 distin#uish myself from others. Hence it is impossible to say of the action of a
criminal that it issues from the idea within him. 9ndeed+ the characteristic feature of criminal actions is
precisely that they sprin# from the non/ideal elements in man.
=@%> 1n act the #rounds for which lie in the ideal part of my indi-idual nature is free. ?-ery other act+
whether done under the compulsion of nature or under the obli#ation imposed by a moral norm+ is unfree.
=@1> That man alone is free who in e-ery moment of his life is able to obey only himself. 1 moral act is my
act only when it can be called free in this sense.
top
1010 3armony O$ Intentions
=@)> 1ction on the basis of freedom does not e2clude+ but include+ the moral laws. 9t only shows that it
stands on a hi#her le-el than actions which are dictated by these laws. 6hy should my act ser-e the
#eneral #ood less well when 9 do it from pure lo-e of it+ than when 9 perform it because it is a duty to
ser-e the #eneral #ood: The concept of duty e2cludes freedom+ because it will not ac.nowled#e the
ri#ht of indi-iduality+ but demands the sub,ection of indi-iduality to a #eneral norm. Freedom of action
is concei-able only from the standpoint of ?thical 9ndi-idualism.
=@@> 8ut how about the possibility of social life for men+
if each aims only at assertin# his own indi-iduality: This
5uestion e2presses yet another ob,ection on the part of
<oralism. The <oralist belie-es that a social community
is possible only if all men are held to#ether by a
common moral order. This shows that the <oralist does
not understand the community of the world of ideas. He
does not reali0e that the world of ideas which inspires
me is no other than that which inspires my fellow/men.
9 differ from my nei#hbour+ not at all because we are
li-in# in two entirely different mental worlds+ but
because from our common world of ideas we recei-e
different intuitions. He desires to li-e out his intuitions+ 9
mine. 9f we both draw our intuitions really from the
world of ideas+ and do not obey mere e2ternal impulses
physical or moral$+ then we can not but meet one
another in stri-in# for the same aims+ in ha-in# the
same intentions. 1 moral misunderstandin#+ a clash of
aims+ is impossible between men who are free. Only the
morally unfree who blindly follow their natural instincts
or the commands of duty+ turn their bac.s on their
nei#hbours+ if these do not obey the same instincts and
the same laws as themsel-es. Ii-e and let li-e is the
fundamental principle of the free man. He .nows no
;ou#ht.; How he shall will in any #i-en case will be determined for him by his faculty of ideas.
=@&> 9f sociability were not deeply rooted in human nature+ no e2ternal laws would be able to inoculate
us with it. 9t is only because human indi-iduals are a.in in spirit that they can li-e out their li-es side
by side. The free man li-es out his life in the full confidence that all other free men belon# to one
spiritual world with himself+ and that their intentions will coincide with his. The free man does not
demand a#reement from his fellow/men+ but he e2pects it none the less+ belie-in# that it is inherent in
human nature.
top
9f we draw our intuitions from the world of
ideas+ and do not obey e2ternal impulses
physical or moral$+ then we can not but
meet one another in stri-in# for the same
aims+ in ha-in# the same intentions.
1011 &oncept o$ the Free 3uman 4eing
=@(> There are many who will say that the concept of the free man which 9 ha-e here de-eloped+ is a
chimera nowhere to be found reali0ed+ and that we ha-e #ot to deal with actual human bein#s+ from
whom we can e2pect morality only if they obey some moral law+ i.e.+ if they re#ard their moral tas. as a
duty and do not simply follow their inclinations and lo-es. 9 do not deny this. Only a blind man could do
that. 8ut+ if so+ away with all this hypocrisy of moralityJ Iet us say simply that human nature must be
compelled to act as lon# as it is not free. 6hether the compulsion of manCs unfree nature is effected by
physical force or throu#h moral laws+ whether man is unfree because he indul#es his unmeasured se2ual
desire+ or because he is bound ti#ht in the bonds of con-entional morality+ is 5uite immaterial. Only let us
not assert that such a man can ri#htly call his actions his own+ seein# that he is dri-en to them by an
e2ternal force. 8ut in the midst of all this networ. of compulsion+ there arise free spirits who in all the
welter of customs+ le#al codes+ reli#ious obser-ances+ etc.+ learn to be true to themsel-es. They are free
in so far as they obey only themsel-es3 unfree in so far as they submit to control. 6hich of us can say
that he is really free in all his actions: Ket in each of us there dwells somethin# deeper in which the free
man finds e2pression.
=@6> Our life is made up of free and unfree actions. 6e cannot+ howe-er+ form a final and ade5uate
concept of human nature without comin# upon the free spirit as its purest e2pression. 1fter all+ we are
men in the fullest sense only in so far as we are free.
=@D> This is an ideal+ many will say. Foubtless3 but it is an ideal which is a real element in us wor.in# up
to the surface of our nature. 9t is no ideal born of mere ima#ination or dream+ but one which has life+ and
which manifests itself clearly e-en in the least de-eloped form of its e2istence. 9f men were nothin# but
natural ob,ects+ the search for ideals+ that is+ for ideas which as yet are not actual but the reali0ation of
which we demand+ would be an impossibility. 9n dealin# with e2ternal ob,ects the idea is determined by
the percept. 6e ha-e done our share when we ha-e reco#ni0ed the connection between idea and percept.
8ut with a human bein# the case is different. The content of his e2istence is not determined without him.
His concept free spirit$ is not a priori united ob,ecti-ely with the perceptual content ;man+; so that
.nowled#e need only re#ister the fact subse5uently. <an must by his own act unite his concept with the
percept ;man.;
7oncept and percept coincide with one another in
this instance+ only in so far as the indi-idual himself
ma.es them coincide. This he can do only if he has
found the concept of the free spirit+ that is+ if he
has found the concept of his own Self. 9n the
ob,ecti-e world a boundary/line is drawn by our
or#ani0ation between percept and concept.
Gnowled#e brea.s down this barrier. 9n our
sub,ecti-e nature this barrier is no less present.
The indi-idual o-ercomes it in the course of his
de-elopment+ by embodyin# his concept of himself
in his outward e2istence. Hence manCs moral life
and his intellectual life lead him both ali.e to his
twofold nature+ perception immediate e2perience$
and thou#ht. The intellectual life o-ercomes his
twofold nature by means of .nowled#e+ the moral
life succeeds throu#h the actual reali0ation of the
free spirit. ?-ery bein# has its inborn concept the
laws of its bein# and action$+ but in e2ternal ob,ects
this concept is indissolubly bound up with the percept+ and separated from it only in the or#ani0ation of
human minds. 9n human bein#s concept and percept are+ at first+ actually separated+ to be ,ust as actually
reunited by them. Some one mi#ht ob,ect that to our percept of a man there corresponds at e-ery
moment of his life a definite concept+ ,ust as with e2ternal ob,ects. 9 can construct for myself the concept
of an a-era#e man+ and 9 may also ha-e #i-en to me a percept to fit this pattern. Suppose now 9 add to
this the concept of a free spirit+ then 9 ha-e two concepts for the same ob,ect.
=@E> Such an ob,ection is one/sided. 1s
ob,ect of perception 9 am sub,ect to
perpetual chan#e. 1s a child 9 was one
thin#+ another as a youth+ yet another as a
man. <oreo-er+ at e-ery moment 9 am
different+ as percept+ from what 9 was the
moment before. These chan#es may ta.e
place in such a way that either it is always
only the same a-era#e$ man who e2hibits
himself in them+ or that they represent the
e2pression of a free spirit. Such are the
chan#es which my actions+ as ob,ects of
perception+ under#o.

=@9> 9n the perceptual ob,ect ;man; there
is #i-en the possibility of transformation+
,ust as in the plant/seed there lies the
possibility of #rowth into a fully de-eloped plant. The plant transforms itself in #rowth+ because of the
ob,ecti-e law of nature which is inherent in it. The human bein# remains in his unde-eloped state+ unless
he ta.es hold of the material for transformation within him and de-elops himself throu#h his own ener#y.
Hature ma.es of man merely a natural bein#3 Society ma.es of him a bein# who acts in obedience to law3
only he himself can ma.e a free man of himself. 1t a definite sta#e in his de-elopment Hature releases
man from her fetters3 Society carries his de-elopment a step further3 he alone can #i-e himself the final
polish.
=&%> The theory of free morality+ then+ does not assert that the free spirit is the only form in which man
can e2ist. 9t loo.s upon the freedom of the spirit only as the last sta#e in manCs e-olution. This is not to
deny that conduct in obedience to norms has its le#itimate place as a sta#e in de-elopment. The point is
that we cannot ac.nowled#e it to be the absolute standpoint in morality. For the free spirit transcends
norms+ in the sense that he is insensible to them as commands+ but re#ulates his conduct in accordance
with his impulses intuitions$.
=&1> 6hen Gant apostrophi0es duty4 ;FutyJ Thou sublime and mi#hty name+ that dost
embrace nothin# charmin# or insinuatin#+ but re5uirest submission+; thou that ;holdest
forth a law . . . before which all inclinations are dumb+ e-en thou#h they secretly
counter/wor. it+; then the free spirit replies4 ;FreedomJ thou .indly and humane name+
which dost embrace within thyself all that is morally most charmin#+ all that insinuates
itself most into my humanity+ and which ma.est me the ser-ant of nobody+ which
holdest forth no law+ but waitest what my inclination itself will proclaim as law+ because
it resists e-ery law that is forced upon it.;
=&)> This is the contrast of morality accordin# to law and accordin# to freedom.
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101" #oral Worl. Or.er
=&@> The Philistine who loo.s upon the state as embodied morality is sure
to loo. upon the free spirit as a dan#er to the state. 8ut that is only
because his -iew is narrowly focused on a limited period of time. 9f he were
able to loo. beyond+ he would soon find that it is but on rare occasions that
the free spirit needs to #o beyond the laws of his state+ and that it ne-er
needs to confront them with any real contradiction. For the laws of the
state+ one and all+ ha-e had their ori#in in the intuitions of free spirits+ ,ust
li.e all other ob,ecti-e laws of morality. There is no traditional law enforced
by the authority of a family+ which was not+ once upon a time+ intuiti-ely
concei-ed and laid down by an ancestor. Similarly the con-entional laws of
morality are first of all established by particular men+ and the laws of the
state are always born in the brain of a statesman. These free spirits ha-e
The Philistine loo.s upon
the free spirit as a dan#er.
set up laws o-er the rest of man.ind+ and only he is unfree who for#ets this ori#in and ma.es them either
di-ine commands+ or ob,ecti-e moral duties+ or the authoritati-e -oice of his own conscience. He+ on the
other hand+ who does not for#et the ori#in of laws+ but loo.s for it in man+ will respect them as belon#in#
to the same world of ideas which is the source also of his own moral intuitions. 9f he thin.s his intuitions
better than the e2istin# laws+ he will try to put them into the place of the latter. 9f he thin.s the laws
,ustified+ he will act in accordance with them as if they were his own intuitions.
=&&> <an does not e2ist in order to found a moral order of the world. 1nyone who maintains that he does+
stands in his theory of man still at that same point+ at which natural science stood when it belie-ed that a
bull has horns in order that it may butt. Scientists+ happily+ ha-e cast the concept of ob,ecti-e purposes in
nature into the limbo of dead theories. For ?thics+ it is more difficult to achie-e the same emancipation.
8ut ,ust as horns do not e2ist for the sa.e of buttin#+ but buttin# because of horns+ so man does not e2ist
for the sa.e of morality+ but morality e2ists throu#h man. The free man acts because he has a moral idea+
he does not act in order to be moral. Human indi-iduals are the presupposition of a moral world order.
=&(> The human indi-idual is the fountain of all morality and the centre of all life. State and society e2ist
only because they ha-e necessarily #rown out of the life of indi-iduals. That state and society+ in turn+
should react upon the li-es of indi-iduals+ is no more difficult to
comprehend+ than that the buttin# which is the result of the e2istence of
horns+ reacts in turn upon the further de-elopment of the horns+ which
would become atrophied by prolon#ed disuse. Similarly the indi-idual must
de#enerate+ if he leads an isolated e2istence beyond the pale of human
society. That is ,ust the reason why the social order arises+ -i0.+ that it may react fa-ourably upon the
indi-idual.
the social order arises, so
that it may react favorably
upon the individual
CHAPTER
11
MONISM AND
THE
PHILOSOPHY
OF FREEDOM
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
XI
MONISM AND THE PHILOSOPHY OF FREEDOM
(ournal
What is this chapter about? The naive human being seeks to act morally in response to motives
derived from without --from other persons or a Higher Being in whom he believes. At his highest level,
the source of his motives is an inner voice. At this level, his conception of moral behavior becomes
identical with that of Medaphysical ealism, which conceives of man!s volition as impelled from an
unknown source outside himself. Both conceptions preclude the possibility of inner freedom.

What is its value? The form of Monism presented in this book renders wholly tenable the conception
of man as a potentially free spirit, willing partly in freedom during the lower stages of his development
and capable of attaining ultimately to complete self-determinism on the basis of his own moral
intuitions.
Universal Nature of Cognitive Ideas and the Individual Nature of Moral Ideas
)n formin* a +ud*ment about the ar*ument of the two precedin* chapters, a difficulty can arise in that
one appears to be faced with a contradiction. On the one hand we ha!e spo-en of the e.perience of
thin-in*, which is felt to ha!e uni!ersal si*nificance, e/ually !alid for e!ery human consciousness0 on
the other hand we ha!e shown that the ideas which come to reali1ation in the moral life, and are of
the same -ind as those elaborated in thin-in*, come to e.pression in each human consciousness in a
/uite indi!idual way. )f we cannot *et beyond re*ardin* this antithesis as a 2contradiction3, and if we
do not see that in the li!in* reco*nition of this actually e.istin* antithesis a piece of man4s essential
nature re!eals itself, then we shall be unable to see either the idea of -nowled*e or the idea of
freedom in a true li*ht. For those who thin- of their concepts as merely abstracted from the sense
perceptible world and who do not allow intuition its ri*htful place, this thou*ht, here claimed as a
reality, must remain a 2mere contradiction3.
)f we really understand how ideas are intuiti!ely e.perienced in their self5sustainin* essence, it
becomes clear that in the act of -nowin*, man, on the ed*e of the world of ideas, li!es his way into
somethin* which is the same for all men, but that when, from this world of ideas, he deri!es the
intuitions for his acts of will, he indi!iduali1es a part of this world by the same acti!ity that he practices
as a uni!ersal human one in the spiritual ideal process of -nowin*.
6hat appears as a lo*ical contradiction between the uni!ersal nature of co*niti!e ideas and the
indi!idual nature of moral ideas is the !ery thin* that, when seen in its reality, becomes a li!in*
concept. )t is a characteristic feature of the essential nature of man that what can be intuiti!ely
*rasped swin*s to and fro within man, li-e a li!in* pendulum, between uni!ersally !alid -nowled*e and
the indi!idual e.perience of it. For those who cannot see the one half of the swin* in its reality,
thin-in* remains only a sub+ecti!e human acti!ity0 for those who cannot *rasp the other half, man4s
acti!ity in thin-in* will seem to lose all indi!idual life. For the first -ind of thin-er, it is the act of
-nowin* that is an unintelli*ible fact0 for the second -ind, it is the moral life. 7oth will put forward all
sorts of ima*ined ways of e.plainin* the one or the other, all e/ually unfounded, either because they
entirely fail to *rasp that thin-in* can be actually e.perienced, or because they misunderstand it as a
merely abstractin* acti!ity. 5Rudolf Steiner, 8ddition
Study Topics
ethics of moral authority
11.0 Authoritative Moral Principles
The na9!e man is ready to allow his basis for action to be dictated to him as commandments by any
man whom he considers wiser or more powerful than himself, or whom he ac-nowled*es for some
other reason to be a power o!er him. )n this way there arise, as moral principles, the authority of
family, state, society, church and :od.
11.1 Mechanical Necessit
)f the hypothetically assumed entity is concei!ed as in itself unthin-in*, actin* accordin* to purely
mechanical laws, as materialism would ha!e it, then it must also produce out of itself, by purely
mechanical necessity, the human indi!idual with all his characteristic features. ) belie!e myself free0
but in fact all my actions are nothin* but the result of the material processes which underlie my
physical and mental or*ani1ation.
11.! "piritual #orce
8nother possibility is that a man may picture the e.tra5human 8bsolute that lies behind the world of
appearances as a spiritual bein*. )n this case he will also see- the impulse for his actions in a
correspondin* spiritual force. To this -ind of dualist the moral laws appear to be dictated by the
8bsolute, and all that man has to do is to use his intelli*ence to find out the decisions of the absolute
bein* and then carry them out.
11.$ Inferring Without %&periencing 'he 'rue (ealit
8s in materialism, so also in one5sided spiritualism, in fact in any -ind of metaphysical realism
inferrin* but not e.periencin* somethin* e.tra5human as the true reality, freedom is out of the
/uestion.
11.) I*posed Principles
;etaphysical as well as na9!e realism, consistently followed out, must deny freedom for one and the
same reason< they both see man as doin* no more than puttin* into effect, or carryin* out, principles
forced imposed" upon him by necessity.
11.+ #ree When #ollo, -,n Moral Intuition
6hoe!er is incapable of producin* moral ideas throu*h intuition must accept them from others. The
idea can manifest itself only in human indi!iduals. )n so far as man obeys the impulses comin* from
this side he is free.
11.. #ree When -be "elf
)f anyone asserts that the action of a fellow man is done unfreely, then he must identify the thin* or
the person or the institution within the perceptible world, that has caused the person to act.
11./ (eali0ation -f 'he #ree "pirit Within
8ccordin* to the monistic !iew, then, man4s action is partly unfree, partly free. He finds himself to be
unfree in the world of percepts, and he reali1es within himself the free spirit.
11.1 Moral 2a,s Conceived 3 Individuals
The moral laws which the metaphysician who wor-s by mere inference must re*ard as issuin* from a
hi*her power, are, for the adherent of monism, thou*hts of men.
11.4 #reedo* "tage -f 5evelop*ent
;onism sees in man a de!elopin* bein*, and as-s whether, in the course of this de!elopment, the
sta*e of the free spirit can be reached.
11.10 5iscover "elf
;onism -nows that =ature does not send man forth from her arms ready made as a free spirit, but
that she leads him up to a certain sta*e, from which he continues to de!elop still as an unfree bein*,
until he comes to the point where he finds his own self.
11.11 #ree Moral World Conception
;onism frees the truly moral world conception both from the mundane fetters of na9!e moral ma.ims
and from the transcendental moral ma.ims of the speculati!e metaphysician.
11.1! 6u*anist Moralit
;orality is for the monist a specifically human /uality, and freedom the human way of bein* moral.
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11.0 Authoritative Moral Principles
>1? TH@ nai!e man who ac-nowled*es nothin* as real e.cept what he can see with his eyes and *rasp
with his hands, demands for his moral life, too, *rounds of action which are perceptible to his senses. He
wants some one who will impart to him these *rounds of action in a manner that his senses can
apprehend. He is ready to allow these *rounds of action to be dictated to him as commands by anyone
whom he considers wiser or more powerful than himself, or whom he ac-nowled*es, for whate!er reason,
to be a power superior to himself. This
accounts for the moral principles
enumerated abo!e, !i1., the principles
which rest on the authority of family, state,
society, church, and :od. The most narrow5
minded man still
submits to the
authority of some
sin*le fellow5man.
He who is a little
more pro*ressi!e allows his moral conduct
to be dictated by a ma+ority state,
society". )n e!ery case he relies on some
power which is present to his senses.
6hen, at last, the con!iction dawns on
some one that his authorities are, at
bottom, human bein*s +ust as wea- as
himself, then he see-s refu*e with a hi*her
power, with a Ai!ine 7ein* whom, in turn,
he endows with /ualities perceptible to the
senses. He concei!es this 7ein* as
communicatin* to him the ideal content of
his moral life by way of his senses Bbelie!in*, for e.ample, that :od appears in the flamin* bush, or that
He mo!es about amon* men in manifest human shape, and that their ears can hear His !oice tellin* them
what they are to do and what not to do.
>'? The hi*hest sta*e of de!elopment which =ai!e Realism attains in the sphere of morality is that at
which the moral law the moral idea" is concei!ed as ha!in* no connection with any e.ternal bein*, but,
hypothetically, as bein* an absolute power in one4s own consciousness. 6hat man first listened to as the
!oice of :od, to that he now listens as an independent power in his own mind which he calls conscience.
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11.1 Mechanical Necessit
>C? This conception, howe!er, ta-es us already beyond the le!el of the nai!e
consciousness into the sphere where moral laws are treated as independent
norms. They are there no lon*er made dependent on a human mind, but are
turned into self5e.istent metaphysical entities. They are analo*ous to the !isible5
in!isible forces of ;etaphysical Realism. Hence also they appear always as a
corollary of ;etaphysical Realism. ;etaphysical Realism, as we ha!e seen, refers
the world of percepts which is *i!en to us, and the world of concepts which we
thin-, to an e.ternal thin*5in5itself. )n this, its duplicate world, it must loo- also
for the ori*in of morality. There are different possible !iews of its ori*in. )f the
thin*5in5itself is unthin-in* and acts accordin* to purely mechanical laws, as
modern ;aterialism concei!es that it does, then it must also produce out of itself,
by purely mechanical necessity, the human indi!idual and all that belon*s to him.
On that !iew the consciousness of freedom can be nothin* more than an illusion.
For whilst ) consider myself the author of my action, it is the matter of which ) am
composed and the mo!ements which are *oin* on in it that determine me. )
ima*ine myself free, but actually all my actions are nothin* but the effects of the
metabolism which is the basis of my physical and mental or*ani1ation.
DPay no attention to that man behind the curtain,D says the
*reat and powerful O1. The man has created a powerful
public ima*e of himself as 6i1ard of O1. 519C9 mo!ie
someone who is very
narrow minded still
puts his faith in some
one person
Enthin-in* actions
accordin* to purely
mechanical laws.
)t is only because we do not -now the moti!es which compel us
that we ha!e the feelin* of freedom. D6e must emphasi1e that
the feelin* of freedom depends on the absence of e.ternal
compellin* moti!es.D DOur actions are as much sub+ect to
necessity as our thou*htsD Fiehen, Geitfaden den
Physiolo*ischen Psycholo*ie, pp. '#H, ff.".
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11.! "piritual #orce
>$? 8nother possibility is that some one will find in a spiritual bein*
the 8bsolute lyin* behind all phenomena. )f so, he will loo- for the
sprin* of action in some -ind of spiritual power. He will re*ard the
moral principles which his reason contains as the manifestation of
this spiritual bein*, which pursues in men its own special purposes.
;oral laws appear to the Aualist, who holds this !iew, as dictated by
the 8bsolute, and man4s only tas- is disco!erin*, by means of his
reason, the decisions of the 8bsolute and carryin* them out. For the
Aualist the moral order of the world is the !isible symbol of the
hi*her order that lies behind it. Our human morality is a re!elation
of the di!ine world5order. )t is not man who matters in this moral
order but reality in itself, that is, :od. ;an ou*ht to do what :od
wills. @duard !an Hartmann, who identifies reality, as such, with
:od, and who treats :od4s e.istence as a life of sufferin*, belie!es
that the Ai!ine 7ein* has created the world in order to *ain, by means of the world, release from his
infinite sufferin*. Hence this philosopher re*ards the moral e!olution of humanity as a process, the
function of which is the redemption of :od.
DOnly throu*h the buildin* up of a moral world5order on the part of rational, self5
conscious indi!iduals is it possible for the world5process to appro.imate to its *oal.D
DReal e.istence is the incarnation of :od. The world5process is the passion of :od who
has become flesh, and at the same time the way of redemption for Him who was
crucified in the flesh0 and morality is our co5operation in the shortenin* of this process
of sufferin* and redemptionD Hartmann, Phanomenolo*ie des sittlichen 7ewusstseins,
I JH1".
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11.$ Inferring Without %&periencing 'he 'rue (ealit
On this !iew, man does not act because he wills, but he must act because it is
:od4s will to be redeemed. 6hereas the ;aterialistic Aualist turns man into
an automaton, the action of which is nothin* but the effect of causality
accordin* to purely mechanical laws, the Spiritualistic Aualist i.e., he who
treats the 8bsolute, the thin*5in5itself, as spiritual" ma-es man the sla!e of the will of the 8bsolute.
=either ;aterialism nor Spiritualism nor *enerally any form of ;etaphysical Realism, inferrin* but not
e.periencin* somethin* e.tra5human as the true reality, has any room for freedom.
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11.) I*posed Principles
>&? =ai!e and ;etaphysical Realism, if they are to be consistent, ha!e to deny freedom for one and the
same reason, !i1., because for them man does nothin* but carry out, or e.ecute, principles necessarily
imposed upon him. =ai!e Realism destroys freedom by sub+ectin* man to authority, whether it be that of
a perceptible bein*, or that of a bein* concei!ed on the analo*y of
perceptible bein*s, or, lastly, that of the abstract !oice of conscience.
The ;etaphysician is unable to ac-nowled*e freedom because, for
him, man is determined, mechanically or morally, by a Dthin*5in5
itself.D
;oral laws dictated by the
8bsolute.
neither Materialism nor
"piritualism has any
room for freedom
#aive and Metaphysical ealism
have to deny freedom, for them
man does nothing but carry out
principles imposed upon him
top
11.+ #ree When #ollo, -,n Moral Intuition
>6? ;onism will ha!e to admit the partial +ustification of =ai!e
Realism, with which it a*rees in admittin* the part played by the
world of percepts. He who is incapable of, producin* moral ideas
throu*h intuition must recei!e them from others. )n so far as a
man recei!es his moral principles from without he is actually
unfree. 7ut ;onism ascribes to the idea the same importance as to
the percept. The idea can manifest itself only in human indi!iduals.
)n so far as man obeys the impulses comin* from this side he is
free.
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11.. #ree When -be "elf
7ut ;onism denies all +ustification to ;etaphysics, and conse/uently
also to the impulses of action which are deri!ed from so5called
Dthin*s5in5themsel!es.D 8ccordin* to the ;onistic !iew, man4s action
is unfree when he obeys some perceptible e.ternal compulsion, it is
free when he obeys none but himself. There is no room in ;onism
for any -ind of unconscious compulsion hidden behind percept and
concept. )f anybody maintains of the action of a fellow5man that it
has not been freely done, he is bound to produce within the !isible
world the thin* or the person or the institution which has caused the
a*ent to act. 8nd if he supports his contention by an appeal to
causes of action lyin* outside the real world of our percepts and
thou*hts, then ;onism must decline to ta-e account of such an
assertion.
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11./ (eali0ation -f 'he #ree "pirit Within
>H? 8ccordin* to the ;onistic theory, then, man4s action is partly free, partly unfree. He is conscious of
himself as unfree in the world of percepts, and he reali1es in himself the spirit which is free.
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11.1 Moral 2a,s Conceived 3 Individuals
>J? The moral laws which the ;etaphysician is bound to
re*ard as issuin* from a hi*her power ha!e, accordin* to the
upholder of ;onism, been concei!ed by men themsel!es. To
him the moral order is neither a mere picture of a purely
mechanical order of nature nor of the di!ine *o!ernment of
the world, but throu*h and throu*h the free creation of men.
)t is not man4s business to reali1e :od4s will in the world, but
his own. He carries out his own decisions and intentions, not
those of another bein*. ;onism does not find behind human
a*ents a ruler of the world, determinin* them to act
accordin* to his will. ;en pursue only their own human ends.
;oreo!er, each indi!idual pursues his own pri!ate ends. For
the world of ideas reali1es itself, not in a community, but only
in indi!idual men. 6hat appears as the common *oal of a
community is nothin* but the result of the separate !olitions
of its indi!idual members, and most commonly of a few
outstandin* men whom the rest follow as their leaders. @ach
one of us has it in him to be a free spirit, +ust as e!ery
rosebud is potentially a rose.
To recei!e moral principles from
without is to be unfree.
)f anyone asserts that the action
of another is done unfreely, then
he must identify the e.ternal
compulsion.
)t is not the tas- of the indi!idual to
reali1e :od4s will in the world,
but rather his own decisions
and intentions.
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11.4 #reedo* "tage -f 5evelop*ent
>9? ;onism, then, is in the sphere of *enuinely moral
action the true philosophy of freedom. 7ein* also a
philosophy of reality, it re+ects the metaphysical unreal"
restriction of the free spirit as emphatically as it
ac-nowled*es the physical and historical nai!ely real"
restrictions of the nai!e man. )nasmuch as it does not
loo- upon man as a finished product, e.hibitin* in e!ery
moment of his life his full nature, it considers idle the
dispute whether man, as such, is free or not. )t loo-s
upon man as a de!elopin* bein*, and as-s whether, in
the course of this de!elopment, he can reach the sta*e of
the free spirit.
top
11.10 5iscover "elf
>1#? ;onism -nows that =ature does not send forth man ready5made as a free spirit, but that she leads
him up to a certain sta*e, from which he continues to de!elop still as an unfree bein*, until he reaches
the point where he finds his own self.
top
11.11 #ree Moral World Conception
>11? ;onism is not a denial of morality0 it is the clear reali1ation that a bein* actin* under physical or
moral compulsion cannot be truly moral. )t re*ards the sta*es of automatic action in accordance with
natural impulses and instincts" and of obedient action in accordance with moral norms" as necessary
preparatory sta*es for morality, but it understands that it is possible for the free spirit to transcend both
these transitory sta*es. ;onism frees the truly moral world conception both from all the self5imposed
fetters of the ma.ims of nai!e morality, and from all the e.ternally imposed ma.ims of speculati!e
;etaphysicians. The former ;onism can as little eliminate from the world as it can eliminate percepts. The
latter it re+ects, because it loo-s for all principles of e.planation of the phenomena of the world within that
world and not outside it.
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11.1! 6u*anist Moralit
(ust as ;onism refuses e!en to entertain the thou*ht of co*niti!e
principles other than those applicable to men p. J1", so it re+ects also the
concept of moral ma.ims other than those ori*inated by men. Human
morality, li-e human -nowled*e, is conditioned by human nature, and +ust
as bein*s of a hi*her order would probably mean by -nowled*e somethin*
!ery different from what we mean by it, so we may assume that other
bein*s would ha!e a !ery different morality. Possibly, e!en, the standpoint
of morality would not apply to their actions at all. )n short, to tal- about
such matters is from the point of !iew of ;onism absurd. For ;onists,
morality is a specifically human /uality, and freedom the human way of
bein* moral.
CHAPTER
12
WORLD-
PURPOSE
AND LIFE-
PURPOSE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
XII
WORLD-PURPOSE AND LIFE-PURPOSE
(The Destiny of Man)
(ournal
What is this chapter about? The concept of human freedom would become dubious if the concept of
purpose applies to the world of nature. The concept of purpose is achieved only in human beings when
a motive occurring before the action determines the will.

What is its value? Purpose originates only in the human mind. In nature there exists only cause and
effect. The concept of purpose is rejected even for the spiritual world.
Purpose Only Springs From Freedom
Steiner discusses the issue of purpose and purposefulness. First) he destabili*es the idea of purpose
as a matter of causality) ar+uin+ a+ainst the commonly held supposition that the purpose of outcome
,-, is the thin+ that determines ,-., He will ar+ue) rather) that the outcome ,-, at least in human
action" is the thin+ that determines that which appears to be the purpose.
.n the realm of nature) no ,purpose, e/ists) says Steiner) addin+ that only in the realm of human
action do we find anythin+ li0e purpose. Thus) the blossom of a flowerin+ plant is not the purpose of
the root11the flower is +o!erned by the laws not purposes" of nature. 2ut) a concept formed by a
human bein+ indicatin+ a potential future reality not yet achie!ed" is the somethin+) indeed the only
thin+ that we can call purpose.
2ased on the earlier section on 3onism) we can 4uic0ly conclude that Steiner would see this human
purpose as sprin+in+ from the inner freedom of the person) and not imposed by any e/ternal power.
Study Topics
ethics of purposefulness
12.0 Concept O Purpose
O!ercomin+ of the concept of purpose in spheres where it does not belon+.
12.1 Percept Cause Precedes Percept !ect
The percept of the cause precedes the percept of the effect.
12.2 Conceptual Factor O !ect
.f the effect is to ha!e a real influence upon the cause) it can do so only by means of the conceptual
factor.
12." #eal $nluence O Concept %&ction'
5 perceptible influence of a concept upon somethin+ else is to be obser!ed only in human actions.
12.( $magined Purpose $n )ature
The concept of purpose) !alid for sub6ecti!e actions) is !ery con!enient for in!entin+ such ima+inary
connections. The nai!e mind 0nows how it produces e!ents itself) and conse4uently concludes that
7ature will do it in the same way.
12.* +a,s O )ature
3onism loo0s for laws of nature) but not for purposes of nature.
12.- Purposes O +ie
7othin+ is purposeful e/cept what the human bein+ has first made so) for purposefulness arises only
throu+h the reali*ation of an idea.
12.. /uman 0estiny
3y mission in the world is not predetermined) but is at e!ery moment the one . choose for myself.
12.1 Only 0oers #eali2e Purposeul $deas
.deas are reali*ed purposefully only by human bein+s. 8onse4uently it is not permissible to spea0 of
the embodiment of ideas by history.
12.3 Formative Principle
The formati!e principle of the totality of nature unfolds and or+ani*es itself.
12.10 4eleology
The theory of purpose maintains that there is a hi+h de+ree of purpose and plan unmista0ably present
in the formations and de!elopments of nature.
12.11 Coherence Within Whole
The systematic coherence of the parts of a perceptual whole is simply the ideal coherence of the parts
of an ideal whole contained in this perceptual whole.
12.12 Purposes O &bsolute Cosmic 5eing
9here!er there is a systematic lin0in+ of cause and effect for our perception) the dualist may assume
that we see only the carbon copy of a connection in which the absolute cosmic 2ein+ has reali*ed its
purposes.
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12.0 Concept O Purpose
:1; 53O7< the manifold currents in the spiritual life of
humanity there is one which we must now trace) and
which we may call the elimination of the concept of
purpose in spheres where it does not belon+.
Purposefulness is a special 0ind of se4uence of
phenomena. True purposefulness is +enuinely real only
when) in contrast to the relation of cause and effect
where the earlier e!ent determines the later) the re!erse
is the case and the later e!ent determines the earlier
one. This is possible only in the sphere of human
actions. 3an performs an action of which he has
pre!iously made a mental picture) and allows this
mental picture to determine his action. Thus the later
the deed" influences the earlier the doer" by means of
the mental picture. .f the se4uence is to ha!e
purposeful connection) this detour throu+h the mental
picture is absolutely necessary.
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12.1 Percept Cause Precedes Percept !ect
:'; .n the process which we can analy*e into cause and effect) we must distin+uish percept from concept.
The percept of the cause precedes the percept of the effect. 8ause and effect would simply stand side by
side in our consciousness) if we were not able to connect them with one another throu+h the
correspondin+ concepts.
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12.2 Conceptual Factor O !ect
The percept of the effect must always follow upon the percept of the cause. .f the effect is to ha!e a real
influence upon the cause) it can do so only by means of the conceptual factor. For the perceptual factor of
the effect simply does not e/ist prior to the perceptual factor of the cause. 9hoe!er maintains that the
flower is the purpose of the root) i.e.) that the former determines the latter) can ma0e +ood this assertion
only concernin+ that factor in the flower which his thou+ht re!eals in it. The perceptual factor of the
flower is not yet in e/istence at the time when the root ori+inates.
To ha!e a purposeful connection the later the
deed" influences the earlier the doer" by
means of the mental picture.
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12." #eal $nluence O Concept %&ction'
For a purposeful connection to e/ist) it is not only necessary to ha!e an
ideal) law1determined connection between the later and the earlier) but the
concept law" of the effect must really influence the cause) that is) by
means of a perceptible process.
Such a perceptible influence of a concept upon somethin+ else is to be obser!ed only in human actions.
Hence this is the only sphere in which the concept of purpose is applicable.
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12.( $magined Purpose $n )ature
The nai!e consciousness) which re+ards as real
only what is perceptible) attempts) as we ha!e
repeatedly pointed out) to introduce perceptible
factors e!en where only ideal factors can
actually be found. .n se4uences of perceptible
e!ents it loo0s for perceptible connections) or)
failin+ to find them) it imports them by
ima+ination. The concept of purpose) !alid for
sub6ecti!e actions) is !ery con!enient for
in!entin+ such ima+inary connections.
The nai!e mind 0nows how it produces e!ents
itself) and conse4uently concludes that 7ature
will do it in the same way. .n the connections of
7ature which are purely ideal it finds not only
in!isible forces) but also in!isible real purposes.
3an ma0es his
tools to suit his
purposes) so the 7ai!e Realist ima+ines the 8reator constructs all
or+anisms accordin+ to this same principle.
.t is but slowly that this mista0en concept of purpose is bein+ dri!en out of the sciences. .n philosophy)
e!en at the present day) it still does a +ood deal of mischief. Philosophers still as0 such 4uestions as)
9hat is the purpose of the world= 9hat is the function and conse4uently the purpose" of man= >tc.
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12.* +a,s O )ature
:?; 3onism re6ects the concept of purpose in e!ery sphere) with the sole
e/ception of human action. .t loo0s for laws of 7ature) but not for purposes of
7ature. Purposes of 7ature) no less than in!isible forces p. @@") are arbitrary
assumptions.
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12.- Purposes O +ie
2ut e!en life1purposes which man does not set up for himself) are) from the standpoint of 3onism)
un6ustified assumptions.
7othin+ is purposeful e/cept what man has made so) for only the reali*ation of ideas ori+inates anythin+
purposeful. 2ut an idea becomes effecti!e) in the realistic sense) only in human actions.
The 7ai!e Realist ima+ines the 8reator
constructs all or+anisms. the mistaken concept of
purpose is slowly being
driven out of the sciences
it looks for laws of
Nature, but not for
purposes of Nature
human actions are the
only sphere in which the
concept of purpose is
applicable
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12.. /uman 0estiny
Hence life has no other purpose or function than the one which man
+i!es to it. .f the 4uestion be as0edA 9hat is manBs tas0 in life=
3onism has but one answerA The tas0 which he +i!es to himself.
. ha!e no predestined mission in the worldC my mission) at any one
moment) is that which . choose for myself. . do not enter upon lifeBs
!oya+e with a fi/ed route mapped out for me.
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12.1 Only 0oers #eali2e Purposeul $deas
:$; .deas are reali*ed only by human doers. 8onse4uently) it is not permissible to spea0 of the
embodiment of ideas by history. 5ll such statements as ,history is the e!olution of man towards freedom,
or ,the reali*ation of the moral world1order), etc.) are) from a 3onistic point of !iew) untenable.
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12.3 Formative Principle
:&; The supporters of the concept of purpose belie!e that) by
surrenderin+ it) they are forced to surrender also all unity and order
in the world. Disten) for e/ample) to Robert Hamerlin+ 5tomisti0 des
9illens) !ol. ii. p. '#1"A
:6; ,5s lon+ as there are instincts in 7ature) so lon+ is it foolish to
deny purposes in 7ature. (ust as the structure of a limb of the
human body is not determined and conditioned by an idea of this
limb) floatin+ somewhere in midair) but by its connection with the
more inclusi!e whole) the body) to which the limb belon+s) so the
structure of e!ery natural ob6ect) be it plant) animal) or man) is not
determined and conditioned by an idea of it floatin+ in midair) but by
the formati!e principle of the more inclusi!e whole of 7ature which
unfolds and or+ani*es itself in a purposeful manner.,
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12.10 4eleology
5nd on pa+e 191 of the same !olume we readA
,Teleolo+y maintains only that) in spite of the thousand misfits and miseries of this natural life) there is a
hi+h de+ree of adaptation to purpose and plan unmista0able in the formations and de!elopments of
7ature Ean adaptation) howe!er) which is reali*ed only within the limits of natural laws) and which does
not tend to the production of some ima+inary fairyland) in
which life would not be confronted by death) nor +rowth
by decay) with all the more or less unpleasant) but 4uite
una!oidable) intermediary sta+es between them.F
:@; G9hen the critics of Teleolo+y oppose a laboriously
collected rubbish1heap of partial or complete) ima+inary
or real) maladaptations to a world full of wonders of
purposeful adaptation) such as 7ature e/hibits in all her
domains) then . consider this 6ust as amusin+HH.,
The structure of e!ery natural
ob6ect is determined by the
formati!e principle of 7ature.
5daptation in nature is reali*ed only within
the limits of natural laws.
3y mission) at any one moment)
is what . choose for myself.
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12.11 Coherence Within Whole
:I; 9hat is here meant by purposefulness= 7othin+ but the consonance of percepts within a whole. 2ut)
since all percepts are based upon laws ideas") which we disco!er by means of thin0in+) it follows that the
orderly coherence of the parts of a perceptual whole is nothin+ more than the ideal lo+ical" coherence of
the parts of the ideal whole which is contained in this perceptual whole. To say that an animal or a man is
not determined by an idea floatin+ in mid1air is a misleadin+ way of puttin+ it) and the !iew which the
critic attac0s loses its apparent absurdity as soon as the phrase is put ri+ht. 5n animal certainly is not
determined by an idea floatin+ in mid1air) but it is determined by an idea inborn in it and constitutin+ the
law of its nature. .t is 6ust because the idea is not e/ternal to the natural ob6ect) but is operati!e in it as
its !ery essence) that we cannot spea0 here of purposefulness. Those who
deny that natural ob6ects are determined from without and it does not
matter) in this conte/t) whether it be by an idea floatin+ in mid1air or
e/istin+ in the mind of a creator of the world") are the !ery men who ou+ht
to admit that such an ob6ect is not determined by purpose and plan from
without) but by cause and law from within.
5 machine is produced in accordance with a purpose) if .
establish a connection between its parts which is not +i!en in
7ature. The purposefulness of the combinations which . effect
consists 6ust in this) that . embody my idea of the wor0in+ of the
machine in the machine itself. .n this way the machine comes
into e/istence as an ob6ect of perception embodyin+ a
correspondin+ idea. 7atural ob6ects ha!e a !ery similar
character. 9hoe!er calls a thin+ purposeful because its form is
in accordance with plan or law may) if he so please) call natural
ob6ects also purposeful) pro!ided only that he does not confuse
this 0ind of lawfulness with that which belon+s to sub6ecti!e
human action. .n order to ha!e a purpose it is absolutely
necessary that the effecti!e cause should be a concept) more
precisely a concept of the effect. 2ut in 7ature we can nowhere
point to concepts operatin+ as causes. 5 concept is ne!er anythin+ but the ideal lin0 connectin+ cause
and effect. 8auses occur in 7ature only in the form of percepts.
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12.12 Purposes O &bsolute Cosmic 5eing
:9; Jualism may tal0 of cosmic and natural
purposes. 9here!er for our perception there is
a systematic lin0in+ of cause and effect
accordin+ to law) there the Jualist is free to
assume that we ha!e but the ima+e of a
connection in which the 5bsolute 8osmic 2ein+
has reali*ed its purposes.
For 3onism) on the other hand) the re6ection of
an 5bsolute 8osmic 2ein+ implies also the
re6ection of the assumption of purposes in 9orld
and 7ature.
5 machine is produced in accordance
with a purpose.
Re6ection of an 5bsolute 8osmic 2ein+ implies also
re6ection of purposes in 7ature.
an animal is determined
by an idea inborn in it
constituting the law of its
nature
CHAPTER
13
MORAL
IMAGINATION
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
XIII
MORAL IMAGINATION
(Darwinism and Morality)
(ournal
What is this chapter about? A free action requires moral intuition as its impulse, and moral
imagination to visualize the concrete mental picture in which this general moral concept can best be
realized. This activity is necessarily purely individual. The moral activity of making mental pictures
demands a knowledge of natural law (scientific, not ethical). e can only influence the world of
perceptions lawfully!!i.e., impart a new form to them by understanding the natural laws that govern
the world of perceptions. This knowledge is the basis of "moral technique," which can be learned.

What is its value? To act in a truly free, morally free manner, it is necessary to possess #moral
imagination$, so that universal ideal concepts can be translated into specific action (ie, so a high ideal
can be realized in the world). A person with moral imagination is a "morally productive" person, as
opposed to a mere "preacher of morality."
Twofold Nature Of A Free Act Of Will
)n these chapters on the human will ) ha!e shown what man can e*perience in his actions so that+
throu,h this e*perience+ he comes to be aware- .y will is free. )t is particularly si,nificant that the
ri,ht to call an act of will free arises from the e*perience that an ideal intuition comes to reali/ation in
the act of will. This e*perience can only be the result of an obser!ation+ and is so+ in the sense that we
obser!e our will on a path of de!elopment towards the ,oal where it becomes possible for an act of
will to be sustained by purely ideal intuition.
This ,oal can be reached+ because in ideal intuition nothin, else is at wor0 but its own self1sustainin,
essence. 2hen such an intuition is present in human consciousness+ then it has not been de!eloped
out of the processes of the or,anism+ but rather the or,anic acti!ity has withdrawn to ma0e room for
the ideal acti!ity. 2hen ) obser!e an act of will that is an ima,e of an intuition+ then from this act of
will too all or,anically necessary acti!ity has withdrawn. The act of will is free.
This freedom of the will cannot be obser!ed by anyone who is unable to see how the free act of will
consists in the fact that+ firstly+ throu,h the intuiti!e element+ the acti!ity that is necessary for the
human or,anism is chec0ed and repressed+ and then replaced by the spiritual acti!ity of the idea1filled
will. Only those who cannot ma0e this obser!ation of the twofold nature of a free act of will+ belie!e
that e!ery act of will is unfree. Those who can ma0e this obser!ation win throu,h to the reco,nition
that man is unfree in so far as he cannot complete the process of suppressin, the or,anic acti!ity3 but
that this unfreedom tends towards freedom+ and that this freedom is by no means an abstract ideal
but is a directi!e force inherent in human nature. .an is free to the e*tent that he is able to reali/e in
his acts of will the same disposition of mind that li!es in him when he becomes aware of the formin, of
purely ideal spiritual" intuitions. 1Rudolf Steiner additions

Study Topics
ethics of moral ideas
13.0 Selection Of dea To !eali"e n Action
4 free spirit acts accordin, to his impulses+ that is+ accordin, to intuitions selected from the totality of
his world of ideas by thin0in,. For an unfree spirit+ the reason why he sin,les out a particular intuition
from his world of ideas in order to ma0e it the basis of an action+ lies in the world of percepts ,i!en to
him+ that is+ in his past e*periences.
13.1 #oncrete $ental %icture
2hene!er the impulse for an action is present in a ,eneral conceptual form for e*ample+ Thou shalt
do ,ood to thy fellow men5 Thou shalt li!e so that thou best promotest thy welfare5" then for each
particular case the concrete mental picture of the action must first be found.
13.& $oral 'a(ination
The human bein, produces concrete mental pictures from the sum of his ideas chiefly by means of the
ima,ination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to reali/e his ideas+ in order to be effecti!e+
is moral ima,ination.
13.3 $oral Techni)ue
.oral action+ in addition to the faculty of ha!in, moral ideas moral intuition" and moral ima,ination+ is
the ability to transform the world of percepts without !iolatin, the natural laws by which these are
connected. This ability is moral techni6ue. )t can be learnt in the same sense in which any 0ind of
0nowled,e can be learnt.
13.* +istor, Of $oral deas
.oral ima,ination can become ob7ects of 0nowled,e only after they ha!e been produced by the
indi!idual. 2e therefore deal with them as with a natural history of moral ideas.
13.- Nor'ative $oral .aws
Some people ha!e wanted to maintain the standard1settin, normati!e" character of moral laws. 4s a
moral bein,+ ) am an indi!idual and ha!e laws of my !ery own.
13./ Traditional $oral 0octrines
8ut can we not then ma0e the old a measure for the new9 )s not e!ery man compelled to measure the
products of his moral ima,ination by the standard of traditional moral doctrines9
13.1 Outco'e Of 2volution s An 2thical ndividualist
:thical )ndi!idualism+ far from bein, in opposition to the theory of e!olution+ is a direct conse6uence of
it.
13.3 !e4ection Of Supernatural nfluence
.onism re7ects+ in morality as in science+ e!ery transcendent metaphysical" influence. .oral
processes are natural products li0e e!erythin, else that e*ists+ and their causes must be loo0ed for in
nature+ i.e.+ in man+ because man is the bearer of morality.
13.5 #haracteri"ation Of Action
The characteri/in, of an action+ whether it is a free one+ he must lea!e to the immediate obser!ation
of the action.
13.10 Action s 'a(e Of An deal ntuition
)f a human bein, finds that an action is the ima,e of such an ideal intuition+ then he feels it to be free.
)n this characteristic of an action lies its freedom.
13.11 Freedo' s To 0eter'ine Own $otives
To be free means to be able of one;s own accord to determine by moral ima,ination those mental
pictures moti!es" which underlie the action. 4 free bein, is one who can want what he himself
considers ri,ht.
13.1& Sub'ission To Others
<ot until they would ensla!e my spirit+ dri!e my moti!es out of my head+ and put their own moti!es in
the place of mine+ do they really aim at ma0in, me unfree.
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13.0 Selection Of dea To !eali"e n Action
=1> 4 FR:: spirit acts accordin, to his impulses+ i.e.+ intuitions+ which his thou,ht has selected out of the
whole world of his ideas. For an unfree spirit+ the reason why he sin,les out a particular intuition from his
world of ideas+ in order to ma0e it the basis of an action+ lies in the perceptual world which is ,i!en to
him+ i.e.+ in his past e*periences. He recalls+ before ma0in, a decision+ what some one else has done+ or
recommended as proper+ in an analo,ous case+ or what ?od has commanded to be done in such a case+
etc.+ and he acts on these recollections. 4 free spirit dispenses with these preliminaries. His decision is
absolutely ori,inal. He cares as little what others ha!e done in such a case as what commands they ha!e
laid down. He has purely ideal lo,ical" reasons which determine him to select a particular concept out of
the sum of his concepts+ and to reali/e it in action. 8ut his action will
belon, to perceptible reality. @onse6uently+ what he achie!es will coincide
with a definite content of perception. His concept will ha!e to be reali/ed in
a concrete particular e!ent. 4s a concept it will not contain this e!ent as
particular. )t will refer to the e!ent only in its ,eneric character+ 7ust as+ in
,eneral+ a concept is related to a percept+ e.,.+ the concept lion to a particular lion. The lin0 between
concept and percept is the mental picture cp. pp. 6A ff.".
To the unfree spirit this intermediate lin0 is ,i!en from the
outset. .oti!es e*ist in his consciousness from the first in the
form of mental pictures. 2hene!er he intends to do anythin,
he acts as he has seen others act+ or he obeys the instructions
he recei!es in each separate case. Hence authority is most
effecti!e in the form of e*amples+ i.e.+ in the form of traditional
patterns of particular actions handed down for the ,uidance of
the unfree spirit.
4 @hristian models his conduct less on the teachin, than on
the e*ample of the Sa!iour. Rules ha!e less !alue for tellin,
men positi!ely what to do than for tellin, them what to lea!e
undone. Baws ta0e on the form of uni!ersal concepts only
when they forbid actions+ not when they prescribe actions.
Baws concernin, what we ou,ht to do must be ,i!en to the
unfree spirit in wholly concrete form. @lean the street in front
of your door5 Pay your ta*es to such and such an amount to
the ta*1collector5 etc. @onceptual form belon,s to laws which inhibit actions. Thou shalt not steal5 Thou
shalt not commit adultery5
8ut these laws+ too+ influence the unfree spirit only by means of a concrete mental picture+ e.,.+ the idea
of the punishments attached by human authority+ or of the pan,s of conscience+ or of eternal damnation+
etc.
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13.1 #oncrete $ental %icture
='> :!en when the moti!e to an action e*ists in uni!ersal conceptual form
e.,.+ Thou shalt do ,ood to thy fellow1men5 Thou shalt li!e so that thou
promotest best thy welfare5"+ there still remains to be found+ in the
particular case+ the concrete mental picture of the action the relation of
the concept to a content of perception".
For a free spirit who is not ,uided by any model nor by fear of
punishment+ etc.+ this translation of the concept into a mental picture is
always necessary.
a free spirit acts according
to his intuitions, selected
out of the totality of his
world of ideas
4n unfree spirit models his conduct less
on the teachin, than on the e*ample of
the Sa!iour.
@oncrete mental picture
of action.
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13.& $oral 'a(ination
=C> @oncrete mental pictures are formed by us on the basis of our concepts by means of the ima,ination.
Hence what the free spirit needs in order to reali/e his concepts+ in order to assert himself in the world+ is
moral ima,ination. This is the source of the free spirit;s action. Only those men+ therefore+ who are
endowed with moral ima,ination are+ properly spea0in,+ morally producti!e. Those who merely preach
morality+ i.e.+ those who merely spin out moral rules without bein, able to translate them into concrete
mental pictures+ are morally unproducti!e. They are li0e those critics who can e*plain !ery competently
how a wor0 of art ou,ht to be made+ but who are themsel!es incapable of the smallest artistic
productions.
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13.3 $oral Techni)ue
=$> .oral ima,ination+ in order to reali/e its mental picture+ must enter into a determinate sphere of
percepts. Human action does not create percepts+ but transforms already e*istin, percepts and ,i!es
them a new character. )n order to be able to transform a definite ob7ect of perception+ or a sum of such
ob7ects+ in accordance with a moral mental picture+ it is necessary to understand the ob7ect;s law its
mode of action which one intends to transform+ or to which one wants to
,i!e a new direction". Further+ it is necessary to disco!er the procedure by
which it is possible to chan,e the ,i!en law into the new one. This part of
effecti!e moral acti!ity depends on 0nowled,e of the particular world of
phenomena with which one has ,ot to deal. 2e shall+ therefore+ find it in
some branch of scientific 0nowled,e.
.oral action+ then+ presupposes+ in addition
to the faculty of moral concepts and of
moral ima,ination+ the ability to alter the
world of percepts without !iolatin, the
natural laws by which they are connected.
This ability is moral techni6ue. )t may be
learnt in the same sense in which science in ,eneral may be learnt.
For+ in ,eneral+ men are better able to find concepts for the world as it is+ than producti!ely to ori,inate
out of their ima,inations future+ and as yet non1e*istin,+ actions. Hence+ it is !ery well possible for
men without moral ima,ination to recei!e moral mental pictures from others+ and to embody these
s0ilfully in the actual world. Dice !ersa+ it may happen that men with moral ima,ination lac0 technical
s0ill+ and are dependent on the ser!ice of other men for the reali/ation of their mental pictures.
=&> )n so far as we re6uire for moral action 0nowled,e of the ob7ects upon which we are about to act+
our action depends upon such 0nowled,e. 2hat we need to 0now here are the laws of nature. These
belon, to the <atural Sciences+ not to :thics.
)ma,ination translates an ethical principle into a concrete mental picture+
en!isionin, an action before it is carried out.
.oral techni6ue is
learned in the study of
the rele!ant fields of
science.
the ability to transform the
world without violating the
natural laws is moral
technique
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13.* +istor, Of $oral deas
=6> .oral ima,ination and the faculty of moral concepts can become
ob7ects of theory only after they ha!e first been employed by the
indi!idual. 8ut+ thus re,arded+ they no lon,er re,ulate life+ but ha!e
already re,ulated it. They must now be treated as efficient causes+
li0e all other causes they are purposes only for the sub7ect". The
study of them is+ as it were+ the <atural Science of moral ideas.
=E> :thics as a <ormati!e Science+ o!er and abo!e this science+ is
impossible.
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13.- Nor'ative $oral .aws
=A> Some would maintain the normati!e character of moral laws at
least in the sense that :thics is to be ta0en as a 0ind of dietetic
which+ from the conditions of the
or,anism;s life+ deduces ,eneral
rules+ on the basis of which it
hopes to ,i!e detailed directions to
the body Paulsen+ System der
:thi0". This comparison is
mista0en+ because our moral life cannot be compared with the life of the
or,anism. The beha!iour of the or,anism occurs without any !olition on
our part. )ts laws are fi*ed data in our world3 hence we can disco!er
them and apply them when disco!ered.
.oral laws+ on the other hand+ do not e*ist until we create them. 2e
cannot apply them until we ha!e created them. The error is due to the
fact that moral laws are not at e!ery moment new creations+ but are
handed down by tradition. Those which we ta0e o!er from our ancestors
appear to be ,i!en li0e the natural laws of the or,anism. 8ut it does not
follow that a later ,eneration has the ri,ht to apply them in the same
way as dietetic rules. For they apply to indi!iduals+ and not+ li0e natural laws+ to specimens of a ,enus.
@onsidered as an or,anism+ ) am such a ,eneric specimen+ and ) shall li!e in accordance with nature if
) apply the laws of my ,enus to my particular case. 4s a moral a,ent ) am an indi!idual and ha!e laws
of my own.
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13./ Traditional $oral 0octrines
=9> The !iew here upheld appears to contradict that fundamental doctrine of modern <atural Science
which is 0nown as the Theory of :!olution. 8ut it only appears to do so. 8y e!olution we mean the real
de!elopment of the later out of the earlier in accordance with natural law. )n the or,anic world+ e!olution
means that the later more perfect" or,anic forms are real descendants of the earlier imperfect forms+
and ha!e ,rown out of them in accordance with natural laws. The upholders of the theory of or,anic
e!olution belie!e that there was once a time on our earth+ when we could ha!e obser!ed with our own
eyes the ,radual e!olution of reptiles out of Proto14mniotes+ supposin, that we could ha!e been present
as men+ and had been endowed with a sufficiently lon, span of life.
Some want to maintain the
normati!e character
of moral laws.
4ccordin, to this theory the solar
system formed throu,h the
pro,ressi!e condensation of a ,assy
nebula. 4s this nebula rotated and
contracted+ rin,s of ,as were cast off
to condense into the planets.
Similarly+ :!olutionists suppose that man could ha!e watched the de!elopment of the solar system out of
the primordial nebula of the Fant1Baplace hypothesis+ if he could ha!e occupied a suitable spot in the
world1ether durin, that infinitely lon, period. 8ut no :!olutionist will dream of maintainin, that he could
from his concept of the primordial 4mnion deduce that of the reptile with all its 6ualities+ e!en if he had
ne!er seen a reptile. (ust as little would it be possible to deri!e the solar system from the concept of the
Fant1Baplace nebula+ if this concept of an ori,inal nebula had been formed only from the percept of the
nebula. )n other words+ if the :!olutionist is to thin0 consistently+ he is bound to maintain that out of
earlier phases of e!olution later ones really de!elop3 that once the concept of the imperfect and that of
the perfect ha!e been ,i!en+ we can understand the connection. 8ut in no case will he admit that the
concept formed from the earlier phases is+ in itself+ sufficient for deducin, from it the later phases.
From this it follows for :thics that+ whilst we can understand the connection of later moral concepts with
earlier ones+ it is not possible to deduce a sin,le new moral idea from earlier ones. The indi!idual+ as a
moral bein,+ produces his own content. This content+ thus produced+ is for :thics a datum+ as much as
reptiles are a datum for <atural Science. Reptiles ha!e e!ol!ed out of the Proto14mniotes+ but the
scientist cannot manufacture the concept of reptiles out of the concept of the Proto14mniotes. Bater moral
ideas e!ol!e out of the earlier ones+ but :thics cannot manufacture out of the moral principles of an
earlier a,e those of a later one. The confusion is due to the fact that+ as scientists+ we start with the facts
before us+ and then ma0e a theory about them+ whereas in moral action we first produce the facts
oursel!es+ and then theori/e about them. )n the e!olution of the
moral world1order we accomplish what+ at a lower le!el+ <ature
accomplishes- we alter some part of the perceptual world. Hence
the ethical norm cannot strai,htway be made an ob7ect of
0nowled,e+ li0e a law of nature+ for it must first be created. Only
when that has been done can the norm become an ob7ect of 0nowled,e.
=1#> 8ut is it not possible to ma0e the old a measure for the new9 )s not
e!ery man compelled to measure the
deli!erances of his moral ima,ination by
the standard of traditional moral
doctrines9 )f he would be truly producti!e
in morality+ such measurin, is as much an absurdity as it would be an
absurdity if one were to measure a new species in nature by an old one
and say that reptiles+ because they do not a,ree with the Proto14mniotes+
are an ille,itimate de,enerate" species.
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13.1 Outco'e Of 2volution s An 2thical ndividualist
=11> :thical )ndi!idualism+ then+ so far from bein, in opposition to the
theory of e!olution+ is a direct conse6uence of it. Haec0el;s ,enealo,ical
tree from proto/oa up to man as an or,anic bein,+ ou,ht to be capable of
bein, wor0ed out without a breach of natural law+ and without a ,ap in its
uniform e!olution+ up to the indi!idual as a bein, with a determinate
moral nature. 8ut+ whilst it is 6uite true that the moral ideas of the
indi!idual ha!e perceptibly ,rown out of those of his ancestors+ it is also
)n the or,anic world+ e!olution means that the later more perfect" or,anic
forms are real descendants of the earlier imperfect forms+ and ha!e ,rown out
of them in accordance with natural laws.
it is not possible to deduce a
single new moral idea from earlier
ones, the individual produces his
own moral content
to measure what moral
imagination gives by the
standard of traditional moral
doctrines is absurd
true that the indi!idual is morally barren+ unless he has moral ideas of his own.
=1'> The same :thical )ndi!idualism which ) ha!e de!eloped on the basis of the precedin, principles+
mi,ht be e6ually well de!eloped on the basis of the theory of e!olution. The final result would be the
same3 only the path by which it was reached would be different.
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13.3 !e4ection Of Supernatural nfluence
=1C> That absolutely new moral ideas should be de!eloped by the moral ima,ination is for the theory of
e!olution no more ine*plicable than the de!elopment of one animal species out of another+ pro!ided only
that this theory+ as a .onistic world1!iew+ re7ects+ in morality as in science+ e!ery transcendent
metaphysical" influence. )n doin, so+ it follows the same principle by which it is ,uided in see0in, the
causes of new or,anic forms in forms already e*istin,+ but not in the interference of an e*tra1mundane
?od+ who produces e!ery new species in accordance with a new creati!e idea throu,h supernatural
interference. (ust as .onism has no use for supernatural creati!e ideas in e*plainin, li!in, or,anisms+ so
it is e6ually impossible for it to deri!e the moral world1order from causes which do not lie within the
world. )t cannot admit any continuous supernatural influence upon
moral life di!ine ,o!ernment of the world from the outside"+ nor an
influence throu,h a particular act of re!elation at a particular moment
in history ,i!in, of the ten commandments"+ or throu,h ?od;s
appearance on the earth di!inity of @hrist". .oral processes are+ for .onism+ natural products li0e
e!erythin, else that e*ists+ and their causes must be loo0ed for in nature+ i.e.+ in man+ because man is
the bearer of morality.
=1$> :thical )ndi!idualism+ then+ is the crown of the edifice that Garwin and Haec0el ha!e erected for
<atural Science. )t is the theory of e!olution applied to the moral life.
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13.5 #haracteri"ation Of Action
=1&> 4nyone who restricts the concept of the natural from the outset to an artificially limited and
narrowed sphere+ is easily tempted not to allow any room within it for free indi!idual action. The
consistent :!olutionist does not easily fall a prey to such a narrow1
minded !iew. He cannot let the process of e!olution terminate with
the ape+ and ac0nowled,e for man a supernatural ori,in. 4,ain+ he
cannot stop short at the or,anic reactions of man and re,ard only
these as natural. He has to treat also the life of moral self1
determination as the continuation of or,anic life.

=16> The :!olutionist+ then+ in accordance with his fundamental principles+ can maintain only that
moral action e!ol!es out of the less perfect forms of natural processes. He must lea!e the
characteri/ation of action+ i.e.+ its determination as free action+ to the immediate obser!ation of each
a,ent. 4ll that he maintains is only that men ha!e de!eloped out of mon0eys. 2hat the nature of men
actually is must be determined by obser!ation of men themsel!es. The results of this obser!ation
cannot possibly contradict the history of e!olution. Only the assertion that the results are such as to
e*clude their bein, due to a natural world1order would contradict recent de!elopments in the <atural
Sciences.
Footnote- That we spea0 of thou,hts ethical ideas" as ob7ects of obser!ation is fully 7ustified. For+
althou,h durin, the acti!ity of thin0in, the products of thin0in, do not appear at the same time in the
field of obser!ation+ they can ne!ertheless become ob7ects of obser!ation afterwards. 4nd it is in this
way that we ha!e arri!ed at our characteri/ation of action.
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13.10 Free Action s 'a(e Of An deal ntuition
=1E> :thical indi!idualism has nothin, to fear from a natural science that understands itself- for
obser!ation shows that the perfect form of human action has freedom as its characteristic 6uality. This
freedom must be allowed to the human will+ in so far as the will reali/es
purely ideal intuitions. For these intuitions are not the results of a
necessity actin, upon them from without+ but are due only to themsel!es.
monism re%ects, in morality as
in science, every transcendent
(metaphysical) influence
the perfect form of human
action has freedom as its
characteristic quality
moral self!determination does
not have a supernatural origin,
but is the continuation of
organic life
)f a man finds that an action is the ima,e of such an ideal intuition+ then he feels it to be free. )n this
characteristic of an action lies its freedom.
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13.11 Freedo' s To 0eter'ine Own $otives
=1A> 2hat+ then+ from the standpoint of nature are we to say of the distinction+ already mentioned
abo!e p. 1C"+ between the two statements+ HTo be free means to be able to do what you will+H and HTo
be able+ as you please+ to stri!e or not to stri!e is the real meanin, of the do,ma of free willH9
Hamerlin, bases his theory of free will precisely on this distinction+ by declarin,
the first statement to be correct but the second to be an absurd tautolo,y. He
says+ H) can do what ) will+ but to say ) can will what ) will is an empty
tautolo,y.H 2hether ) am able to do+ i.e.+ to ma0e real+ what ) will+ i.e.+ what )
ha!e set before myself as my idea of action+ that depends on e*ternal
circumstances and on my technical s0ill cp. p. 11A".
To be free means to be able to determine by moral ima,ination out of oneself+
those mental pictures moti!es" which lie at the basis of action. Freedom is
impossible if anythin, other than ) myself whether a mechanical process or
?od" determines my moral ideas. )n other words+ ) am free only when ) myself
produce these mental pictures+ but not when ) am merely able to reali/e the
ideas which another bein, has implanted in me.
4 free bein, is one who can will what he re,ards as ri,ht. 2hoe!er does
anythin, other than what he wills must be impelled to it by moti!es which do
not lie in himself. Such a man is unfree in his action. 4ccordin,ly+ to be able to
will+ as you please+ what you consider ri,ht or wron, means to be free or unfree
as you please. This is+ of course+ 7ust as absurd as to identify freedom with the
faculty of doin, what one is compelled to will. 8ut this is 7ust what Hamer)in,
maintains when he says+ H)t is perfectly true that the will is always determined
by moti!es+ but it is absurd to say that on this ,round it is unfree3 for a ,reater
freedom can neither be desired nor concei!ed than the freedom to reali/e
oneself in proportion to one;s own power and stren,th of will.H On the contrary+
it is well possible to desire a ,reater freedom and that a true freedom+ !i/.+ the
freedom to determine for oneself the moti!es of one;s !olitions.
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13.1& Sub'ission To Others
=19> Inder certain conditions a man may be induced to abandon the
e*ecution of his will3 but to allow others to prescribe to him what he
shall do Jin other words+ to will what another and not what he himself
re,ards as ri,htJ to this a man will submit only when he does not feel
free.
='#> :*ternal powers may pre!ent me from doin, what ) will+ but that
is only to condemn me to do nothin,. <ot until they ensla!e my spirit+
dri!e my moti!es out of my head+ and put their own moti!es in the
place of mine+ do they really aim at ma0in, me unfree. That is the
reason why the church attac0s not only the mere doin,+ but especially
the impure thou,hts+ i.e.+ moti!es of my action. 4nd for the church all
those moti!es are impure which she has not herself authori/ed. 4
church does not produce ,enuine sla!es until her priests turn
themsel!es into ad!isers of consciences+ i.e.+ until the faithful depend
upon the church+ i.e.+ upon the confessional+ for the moti!es of their
actions.
Their intention to ma0e me
unfree when they dri!e my
moti!es out of my head+ and
replace them with their own.
Freedom is to
determine by moral
ima,ination out of
oneself+ those mental
pictures moti!es"
which lie at the basis
of action.
CHAPTER
14
THE VALUE
OF LIFE
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
XIV
THE VALUE OF LIFE
(Optimism and Pessimism)
(ournal
What is this chapter about? The human being's nature is such that he seeks primarily, not for
happiness, but for the realization of his ideals. And, when he has risen to the level of moral intuition,
he wills and acts in complete freedom without primary regard to happiness or suffering.
What is its value? If freedom is to be realized, the will in human nature must be sustained by
intuitions that give the strength to overcome all resistance. Moral action consists, not in the
eradication of one's individual will, but in the fullest development of human nature. The ethical
individualist determines the value of life by measuring his achievements against his aims.
Intuitively Determined Will
The ar)ument of this chapter will be misunderstood if one is cau)ht by the apparent ob*ection that the
will+ as such+ is the irrational factor in man and that once this irrationality is made clear to him he will
see that the )oal of his ethical stri!in) must lie in ultimate emancipation from the will. ,n apparent
ob*ection of e-actly this .ind was brou)ht a)ainst me from a reputable /uarter in that 0 was told that it
is the business of the philosopher to ma.e )ood *ust what lac. of thou)ht leads animals and most men
to ne)lect+ namely+ to stri.e a proper balance of life1s account. 2ut this ob*ection *ust misses the main
point.
0f freedom is to be reali3ed+ the will in human nature must be sustained by intuiti!e thin.in)4 at the
same time+ howe!er+ we find that an act of will may also be determined by factors other than intuition+
thou)h only in the free reali3ation of intuitions issuin) from man1s essential nature do we find morality
and its !alue. 5thical indi!idualism is well able to present morality in its full di)nity+ for it sees true
morality not in what brin)s about the a)reement of an act of will with an e-ternal standard of
beha!ior+ but in what arises in man when he de!elops his moral will as an inte)ral part of his whole
bein) so that to do what is not moral appears to him as a stuntin) and cripplin) of his nature. 6Rudolf
Steiner addition
Study Topics
ethics of life1s !alue
14.0 Good World Or Miserable Lie
One !iew says that this world is the best that could concei!ably e-ist+ and that to li!e and to act in it is
a blessin) of untold !alue. The other !iew maintains that life is full of misery and want4 e!erywhere
pain outwei)hs pleasure+ sorrow outwei)hs *oy.
14.1 !est "ossible World #cooperative participation$
The world is the best of all possible worlds. , better world is impossible for 7od is )ood and wise.
From this optimistic standpoint+ then+ life is worth li!in). 0t must stimulate us to co6operati!e
participation.
14.% "ain O &trivin' #universal idleness$
5ternal stri!in)+ ceaseless cra!in) for satisfaction which is e!er beyond reach+ this is the fundamental
characteristic of all acti!e will. For no sooner is one )oal attained+ than a fresh need sprin)s up+ and so
on. Schopenhauer1s pessimism leads to complete inacti!ity4 his moral aim is uni!ersal idleness.
14.( "ain Out)ei'hs "leasure #unselish service$
The human bein) has to permeate his whole bein) with the reco)nition that the pursuit of indi!idual
satisfaction e)oism" is a folly+ and that he ou)ht to be )uided solely by the tas. of dedicatin) himself
to the pro)ress of the world. Hartmann1s pessimism leads us to acti!ity de!oted to a sublime tas..
14.4 "leasure O &trivin' #uture 'oal$
Stri!in) desirin)" in itself )i!es pleasure. 8ho does not .now the en*oyment )i!en by the hope of a
remote but intensely desired )oal9
14.* +uantity O "leasure #rational estimation o eelin'$
8hat is the ri)ht method for comparin) the sum of pleasure to pain9 5duard !on Hartmann belie!es
that it is reason that holds the scales.
14., +uality O "leasure #critical e-amination o eelin'$
0f we stri.e out feelin)s from the pleasure side of the balance on the )round that they are attached to
ob*ects which turn out to ha!e been illusory+ we ma.e the !alue of life dependent not on the /uantity
but on the /uality of pleasure+ and this+ in turn+ on the !alue of the ob*ects which cause the pleasure.
14.. "ursuit O "leasure #hopelessness o e'otism$
0f the /uantity of pain in a person1s life became at any time so )reat that no hope of future pleasure
credit" could help him to )et o!er the pain+ then the ban.ruptcy of life1s business would ine!itably
follow.
14./ 0alue O "leasure #satisaction o needs$
The ma)nitude of pleasure is related to the de)ree of my need. 0f 0 am hun)ry enou)h for two pieces
of bread and can only )et one+ the pleasure 0 deri!e from it had only half the !alue it would ha!e had
if the eatin) of it has satisfied my hun)er.
14.1 Will 2or "leasure #intensity o desire$
The /uestion is not at all whether there is a surplus of pleasure or of pain+ but whether the will is
stron) enou)h to o!ercome the pain.
14.10 Ma'nitude O "leasure #amusement$
0f it is only a /uestion whether+ after the day1s wor.+ 0 am to amuse myself by a )ame or by li)ht
con!ersation+ and if 0 am totally indifferent to what 0 do as lon) as it ser!es the purpose+ then 0 simply
as. myself: 8hat )i!es me the )reatest surplus of pleasure9
14.11 3i'hest "leasure #reali4ation o moral ideals$
;oral ideals sprin) from the moral ima)ination of man. They are his intuitions+ the dri!in) forces which
his spirit harnesses4 he wants them+ because their reali3ation is his hi)hest pleasure.
14.1% 5oy O 6chievement #measure achievement a'ainst aims$
He acts as he wants to act+ that is+ in accordance with the standard of his ethical intuitions4 and he
finds in the achie!ement of what he wants the true en*oyment of life. He determines the !alue of life
by measurin) achie!ements a)ainst aims.
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14.0 Good World Miserable Lie
<1= , >O?@T5RP,RT of the /uestion concernin) the
purpose and function of life cp. p. 111" is the /uestion
concernin) its !alue. 8e meet here with two mutually
opposed !iews+ and between them with all concei!able
attempts at compromise. One !iew says that this world is
the best concei!able which could e-ist at all+ and that to
li!e and act in it is a )ood of inestimable !alue. 5!erythin)
that e-ists displays harmonious and purposi!e co6operation
and is worthy of admiration. 5!en what is apparently bad
and e!il may+ from a hi)her point of !iew+ be seen to be a
)ood+ for it represents an a)reeable contrast with the
)ood. 8e are the more able to appreciate the )ood when it
is clearly contrasted with e!il. ;oreo!er+ e!il is not
)enuinely real4 it is only that we percei!e as e!il a lesser
de)ree of )ood. 5!il is the absence of )ood+ it has no
positi!e import of its own.
<'= The other !iew maintains that life is full of misery and a)ony. 5!erywhere pain outwei)hs pleasure+
sorrow outwei)hs *oy. 5-istence is a burden+ and non6e-istence would+ from e!ery point of !iew+ be
preferable to e-istence.
<A= The chief representati!es of the former !iew+ i.e.+ Optimism+ are Shaftesbury and Beibni34 the chief
representati!es of the second+ i.e.+ Pessimism+ are Schopenhauer and 5duard !on Hartmann.
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14.1 !est "ossible World #cooperative participation$
<$= Beibni3 says the world is the
best of all possible worlds. , better
one is impossible. For 7od is )ood
and wise. , )ood 7od wills to
create the best possible world+ a
wise 7od .nows which is the best
possible. He is able to distin)uish
the best from all other and worse
possibilities. Only an e!il or an
unwise 7od would be able to
create a world worse than the best possible.
<&= 8hoe!er starts from this point of !iew will find it easy
to lay down the direction which human action must follow+
in order to ma.e its contribution to the )reatest )ood of
the uni!erse. ,ll that man need do will be to find out the
counsels of 7od and to act in
accordance with them. 0f he
.nows what 7od1s purposes are
concernin) the world and the
human race he will be able+ for
his part+ to do what is ri)ht. ,nd he will be happy in the
feelin) that he is addin) his share to all the other )ood in
the world. From this optimistic standpoint+ then+ life is
worth li!in). 0t is such as to stimulate us to cooperate
with+ and enter into+ it.
Pessimism and Optimism
,ccordin) to Beibnit3+ 7od1s people are
happy and wantin) to cooperate with each
other.
Gottfried Leibniz
all that we need do is
to find out the
counsels of od and
act according to them
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14.% "ain O &trivin' #universal idleness$
<6= Cuite different is the picture
Schopenhauer paints. He thin.s of
ultimate reality not as an all6wise and
all6beneficent bein)+ but as blind
stri!in) or will. 5ternal stri!in)+
ceaseless cra!in) for satisfaction
which yet is e!er beyond reach+ these
are the fundamental characteristics of
all will. For as soon as we ha!e
attained what we want a fresh need
sprin)s up+ and so on. Satisfaction+ when it occurs+
endures always only for an infinitesimal time. The whole
rest of our li!es is unsatisfied cra!in)+ i.e.+ discontent and
sufferin). 8hen at last blind cra!in) is dulled+ e!ery
definite content is )one from our li!es. 5-istence is filled
with nothin) but an endless ennui. Hence the best we can
do is to throttle all desires and needs within us and e-terminate the will. Schopenhauer1s Pessimism
leads to complete inacti!ity4 its moral aim is uni!ersal idleness.
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14.( "ain Out)ei'hs "leasure #unselish service$
<D= 2y a !ery different ar)ument Eon Hartmann attempts to establish Pessimism
and to ma.e use of it for 5thics. He attempts+ in .eepin) with the fashion of our
a)e+ to base his world6!iew on e-perience. 2y obser!ation of life he hopes to
disco!er whether there is more pain or more pleasure in the world. He passes in
re!iew before the tribunal of reason whate!er men consider to be happiness and a
)ood+ in order to show that all apparent satisfaction turns out+ on closer inspection+
to be nothin) but illusion. 0t is illusion when we
belie!e that in health+ youth+ freedom+ sufficient
income+ lo!e se-ual satisfaction"+ pity+ friendship
and family life+ honour+ reputation+ )lory+ power+
reli)ious edification+ pursuit of science and of art+ hope of a life after
death+ participation in the ad!ancement of ci!ili3ation+ that in all these we ha!e sources of happiness
and satisfaction. Soberly considered+ e!ery en*oyment brin)s much more e!il and misery than pleasure
into the world. The disa)reeableness of Fthe mornin) afterF is always )reater than the a)reeableness of
into-ication. Pain far outwei)hs pleasure in the world. @o man+ e!en thou)h relati!ely the happiest+
would+ if as.ed+ wish to li!e throu)h this miserable life a second time.
@ow since Hartmann does not deny the presence of an ideal factor wisdom" in the world+ but+ on the
contrary+ )rants to it e/ual ri)hts with blind stri!in) will"+ he can attribute the creation of the world to
his ,bsolute 2ein) only on condition that He ma.es the pain in the world subser!e a world6purpose
that is wise. 2ut the pain of created bein)s is nothin) but 7od1s pain itself+ for the life of @ature as a
whole is identical with the life of 7od. ,n ,ll6wise 2ein) can aim only at release from pain+ and since
alle-istence is pain+ at release from e-istence. Hence the purpose of the creation of the world is to
transform e-istence into the non6e-istence which is so much better. The world6process is nothin) but a
continuous battle a)ainst 7od1s pain+ a battle which ends with the annihilation of all e-istence. The
moral life for men+ therefore+ will consist in ta.in) part in the annihilation of e-istence.
The reason why 7od has created the world is that throu)h the world he may free himself from his
infinite pain. The world must be re)arded+ Fas it were+ as an itchin) eruption on the ,bsolute+F by
means of which the unconscious healin) power of the ,bsolute rids itself of an inward disease4 or it
may be re)arded Fas a painful drawin)6plaster which the ,ll6one applies to itself in order first to di!ert
the inner pain outwards+ and then to )et rid of it alto)ether.F Human bein)s are members of the world.
0n their sufferin)s 7od suffers. He has created them in order to split up in them his infinite pain. The
pain which each one of us suffers is but a drop in the infinite ocean of 7od1s pain Hartmann+
Schopenhauer
Von Hartmann
The best we can do is to throttle all
desires and needs within us and
e-terminate the will+ says Schopenhauer.
soberly considered, every
en!oyment brings much
more evil and misery than
pleasure into the world
Phanomenolo)ie des Sittlichen 2ewusstseins+ pp. G66 ff.".
<G= 0t is man1s duty to permeate his whole bein) with the
reco)nition that the pursuit of indi!idual satisfaction 5)oism" is
a folly+ and that he ou)ht to be )uided solely by the tas. of
assistin) in the redemption of 7od by unselfish ser!ice of the
world6process. Thus+ in contrast with the Pessimism of
Schopenhauer+ that of Eon Hartmann leads us to de!oted
acti!ity in a sublime cause.
<9= 2ut what of the claim that this !iew is based on e-perience9
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14.4 "leasure O &trivin' #uture 'oal$
<1#= To stri!e after satisfaction means that our acti!ity reaches out beyond the actual content of our li!es.
, creature is hun)ry+ i.e.+ it desires satiety+ when its or)anic functions demand for their continuation the
supply of fresh life6materials in the form of nourishment. The pursuit of honour consists in that a man
does not re)ard what he personally does or lea!es undone as !aluable unless it is endorsed by the
appro!al of others from without. The stri!in) for .nowled)e arises when a man is not content with the
world which he sees+ hears+ etc.+ so lon) as he has not understood it. The fulfilment of the stri!in) causes
pleasure in the indi!idual who stri!es+ failure causes pain. 0t is important here to obser!e that pleasure
and pain are attached only to the fulfilment or non6fulfilment of my stri!in). The stri!in) itself is by no
means to be re)arded as a pain. Hence+ if we find that+ in the !ery moment in which a stri!in) is fulfilled+
at once a new stri!in) arises+ this is no )round for sayin) that pleasure has )i!en birth to pain+ because
en*oyment in e!ery case )i!es rise to a desire for its repetition+ or for a fresh pleasure. 0 can spea. of
pain only when desire runs up a)ainst the impossibility of fulfilment.
5!en when an en*oyment that 0 ha!e had causes in me the desire for the e-perience of a )reater+ more
subtle+ and more e-otic pleasure+ 0 ha!e no ri)ht to spea. of this desire as a pain caused by the pre!ious
pleasure until the means fail me to )ain the )reater and more subtle pleasure. 0 ha!e no ri)ht to re)ard
pleasure as the cause of pain unless pain follows on pleasure as its conse/uence by natural law+ e.).+
when a woman1s se-ual pleasure is followed by the sufferin) of child6birth and the cares of nursin). 0f
stri!in) caused pain+ then the remo!al of stri!in) ou)ht to be accompanied by pleasure. 2ut the !ery
re!erse is true. To ha!e no stri!in) in one1s
life causes boredom+ and boredom is always
accompanied by displeasure. @ow+ since it
may be a lon) time before a stri!in) meets
with fulfilment+ and since+ in the inter!al+ it is
content with the hope of fulfilment+ we must
ac.nowled)e that there is no connection in
principle between pain and stri!in)+ but that
pain depends solely on the non6fulfilment of
the stri!in). Schopenhauer+ then+ is wron) in
any case in re)ardin) desire or stri!in) will"
as bein) in principle the source of pain.
<11= 0n truth the !ery re!erse of this is
correct. Stri!in) desire" is in itself
pleasurable. 8ho does not .now the pleasure
which is caused by the hope of a remote but
intensely desired en*oyment9 This pleasure is
the companion of all labour+ the results of
which will be en*oyed by us only in the
future. 0t is a pleasure which is wholly
To ha!e no stri!in) in one1s life causes boredom+ and
boredom is always accompanied by displeasure. Stri!in)
desire" is in itself pleasurable.
,ccordin) to Eon Hartmann+ the
pursuit of pleasure 5)oism" is folly.
8e ou)ht to be )uided by unselfish
ser!ice to a noble cause.
independent of the attainment of the end. For when the aim has been attained+ the pleasure of
satisfaction is added as a fresh thrill to the pleasure of stri!in). 0f anyone were to ar)ue that the pain
caused by the non6attainment of an aim is increased by the pain of disappointed hope+ and that thus+ in
the end+ the pain of non6fulfilment will still always outwei)h the utmost possible pleasure of fulfilment+ we
shall ha!e to reply that the re!erse may be the case+ and that the recollection of past pleasure at a time
of unsatisfied desire will as often miti)ate the displeasure of non6satisfaction. 8hoe!er at the moment
when his hopes suffer shipwrec. e-claims+ F0 ha!e done my part+F pro!es thereby my assertion. The
blessed feelin) of ha!in) willed the best within one1s powers is i)nored by all who ma.e e!ery unsatisfied
desire an occasion for assertin) that+ not only has the pleasure of fulfilment been lost+ but that the
en*oyment of the stri!in) itself has been destroyed.
top
14.* +uantity O "leasure #rational estimation o eelin'$
<1'= The satisfaction of a desire causes pleasure and its non6satisfaction causes pain. 2ut we ha!e no
ri)ht to infer from this fact that pleasure is nothin) but the satisfaction of a desire+ and pain nothin)
but its non6satisfaction. 2oth pleasure and pain may be e-perienced without bein) the conse/uence of
desire. ,ll illness is pain not preceded by any desire. 0f anyone were to maintain that illness is
unsatisfied desire for health he would commit the error of re)ardin) the ine!itable and unconscious
wish not to fall ill as a positi!e desire. 8hen some one recei!es a le)acy from a rich relati!e of whose
e-istence he had not the faintest idea+ he e-periences a pleasure without ha!in) felt any precedin)
desire.
<1A= Hence+ if we set out to in/uire whether the balance is
on the side of pleasure or of pain+ we must allow in our
calculation for the pleasure of stri!in)+ the pleasure of the
satisfaction of stri!in)+ and the pleasure which comes to us
without any stri!in) whate!er. On the debit side we shall
ha!e to enter the displeasure of boredom+ the displeasure
of unfulfilled stri!in)+ and+ lastly+ the displeasure which
comes to us without any stri!in) on our part. ?nder this
last headin) we shall ha!e to put also the displeasure
caused by wor. that has been forced upon us+ not chosen
by oursel!es.
<1$= This leads us to the /uestion+ 8hat is the ri)ht method for stri.in) the balance between the credit
and the debit columns9 5duard !on Hartmann asserts that reason holds the scales. 0t is true that he
says Philosophie des ?nbewussten+ Dth edition+ !ol. ii.
p. '9#": FPain and pleasure e-ist only in so far as they
are actually bein) felt.F 0t follows that there can be no
standard for pleasure other than the sub*ecti!e
standard of feelin). 0 must feel whether the sum of my
disa)reeable feelin)s+ contrasted with my a)reeable
feelin)s+ results in me in a balance of pleasure or of
pain. 2ut+ notwithstandin) this+ !an Hartmann
maintains that
Fthou)h the !alue of the life of e!ery bein) can be set
down only accordin) to its own sub*ecti!e measure+
yet it follows by no means that e!ery bein) is able to
compute the correct al)ebraic sum of all the feelin)s
of its life Hor+ in other words+ that its total estimate of
its own life+ with re)ard to its sub*ecti!e feelin)s+
should be correct.F 2ut this means that rational
estimation of feelin)s is reinstated as the standard of
!alue.
For Hartmann we calculate the I/uantity of
pleasureJ by means of a rational estimation of
feelin)s to establish the !alue of life.
top
14., +uality O "leasure #critical e-amination o eelin'$
<1&= 0t is because Eon Hartmann holds this !iew that he thin.s it necessary+ in order to arri!e at a correct
!aluation of life+ to clear out of the way those factors which falsify our *ud)ment about the balance of
pleasure and of pain. He tries to do this in two ways: first+ by
showin) that our desire instinct+ will" operates as a disturbin)
factor in the sober estimation of feelin)6!alues4 e.).+ whereas
we ou)ht to *ud)e that se-ual en*oyment is a source of e!il+ we
are be)uiled by the fact that the se-ual instinct is !ery stron)
in us+ into pretendin) to e-perience a pleasure which does not
occur in the alle)ed intensity at all. 8e are bent on indul)in)
oursel!es+ hence we do not ac.nowled)e to oursel!es that the
indul)ence ma.es us suffer. Secondly+ Eon Hartmann sub*ects
feelin)s to a criticism desi)ned to show+ that the ob*ects to
which our feelin)s attach themsel!es re!eal themsel!es as
illusions when e-amined by reason+ and that our feelin)s are
destroyed from the moment that our constantly )rowin)
insi)ht sees throu)h the illusions.
<16= Eon Hartmann+ then+ concei!es the matter as follows. Suppose an ambitious man wants to determine
clearly whether+ up to the moment of his in/uiry+ there has been a surplus of pleasure or of pain in his life.
He has to eliminate two sources of error that may affect his *ud)ment. 2ein) ambitious+ this fundamental
feature of his character will ma.e him see all the pleasures of the public reco)nition of his achie!ements
lar)er than they are+ and all the insults suffered throu)h rebuffs
smaller than they are. ,t the time when he suffered the rebuffs
he felt the insults *ust because he is ambitious+ but in
recollection they appear to him in a milder li)ht+ whereas the
pleasures of reco)nition to which he is so much more
susceptible lea!e a far deeper impression. ?ndeniably+ it is a
real benefit to an ambitious man that it should be so+ for the
deception diminishes his pain in the moment of self6analysis.
2ut+ none the less+ it falsifies his *ud)ments. The sufferin)s
which he now re!iews as throu)h a !eil were actually
e-perienced by him in all their intensity. Hence he enters them
at a wron) !aluation on the debit side of his account. 0n order
to arri!e at a correct estimate an ambitious man would ha!e to
lay aside his ambition for the time of his in/uiry. He would ha!e to re!iew his past life without any
distortin) )lasses before his mind1s eye+ else he will resemble a merchant who+ in ma.in) up his boo.s+
enters amon) the items on the credit side his own 3eal in business.
<1D= 2ut Eon Hartmann )oes e!en further. He says the ambitious man must ma.e clear to himself that the
public reco)nition which he cra!es is not worth ha!in). 2y himself+ or with the )uidance of others+ he
must attain the insi)ht that rational bein)s cannot attach any !alue to reco)nition by others+ seein) that
Fin all matters which are not !ital /uestions of de!elopment+ or which ha!e not been definitely settled by
science+F it is always as certain as anythin) can be Fthat the ma*ority is wron) and the minority ri)ht.F
F8hoe!er ma.es ambition the lode6star of his life puts the happiness of his life at the mercy of so fallible
a *ud)mentF Philosophie des ?nbewussten+ !ol. ii+ p. AA'". 0f the ambitious man ac.nowled)es all this to
himself+ he is bound to re)ard all the achie!ements of his ambition as illusions+ includin) e!en the feelin)s
which attach themsel!es to the satisfaction of his
ambitious desires. This is the reason why Eon
Hartmann says that we must also stri.e out of the
balance6sheet of our life6!alues whate!er is seen
to be illusory in our feelin)s of pleasure. 8hat
remains after that represents the sum6total of
pleasure in life+ and this sum is so small
compared with the sum6total of pain that life is no
en*oyment and non6e-istence preferable to
e-istence.
8e are misled by instinctual desires that
con*ure up the prospect of a pleasure
that does not occur in the e-pected
intensity at all.
,n ambitious person sees all the
pleasures of public reco)nition as lar)er
than they actually are.
<1G= 2ut whilst it is immediately e!ident that the interference of the instinct of ambition produces self6
deception in stri.in) the balance of pleasures and thus leads to a false result+ we must none the less
challen)e what Eon Hartmann says concernin) the illusory character of the ob*ects to which pleasure is
attached. For the elimination+ from the credit6side of life+ of all pleasurable feelin)s which accompany
actual or supposed illusions would positi!ely falsify the balance of pleasure and of pain. ,n ambitious man
has )enuinely en*oyed the acclamations of the multitude+ irrespecti!e of whether subse/uently he himself+
or some other person+ reco)ni3es that this acclamation is an illusion.
The pleasure+ once en*oyed+ is not one whit diminished by such
reco)nition. >onse/uently the elimination of all these FillusoryF feelin)s
from life1s balance+ so far from ma.in) our
*ud)ment about our feelin)s more correct+
actually cancels out of life feelin)s which
were )enuinely there.
<19= ,nd why are these feelin)s to be eliminated9 2ecause they are connected
with ob*ects which turn out to ha!e been illusions. 2ut this means that the
!alue of life is made dependent+ not on the /uantity of pleasure+ but on the
/uality of pleasure+ and this /uality is made dependent on the !alue of the
ob*ects which cause the pleasure. 2ut if 0 am to determine the !alue of life
only by the /uantity of pleasure or pain which it brin)s+ 0 ha!e no ri)ht to
presuppose somethin) else by which first to determine the positi!e or ne)ati!e
!alue of pleasure. 0f 0 say 0 want to compare /uantity of pleasure and /uantity
of pain+ in order to see which is )reater+ 0 am bound to brin) into my account
all pleasures and pains in their actual intensities+ re)ardless of whether they
are based on illusions or not. 0f 0 credit a pleasure which rests on an illusion
with a lesser !alue for life than one which can *ustify itself before the tribunal
of reason+ 0 ma.e the !alue of life dependent on factors other than mere
/uantity of pleasure.
<'#= 8hoe!er+ li.e 5duard !on Hartmann+ puts down pleasure as less !aluable when it is attached to a
worthless ob*ect+ is li.e a merchant who enters the considerable profits of a toy6factory at only one6
/uarter of their real !alue on the )round that the factory produces nothin) but playthin)s for children.
<'1= 0f the point is simply to wei)h /uantity of pleasure a)ainst /uantity of pain+ we ou)ht to lea!e the
illusory character of the ob*ects of some pleasures entirely out of account.
top
14.. "ursuit O "leasure #hopelessness o e'otism$
<''= The method+ then+ which Ean Hartmann recommends+ !i3.+ rational criticism of the /uantities of
pleasure and pain produced by life+ has tau)ht us so far how we are to )et the data for our calculation+
i.e.+ what we are to put down on the one side of our account and what on the other. 2ut how are we to
ma.e the actual calculation9 0s reason able also to stri.e the balance9
<'A= , merchant ma.es a miscalculation when the )ain calculated by him does not balance with the
profits which he has demonstrably en*oyed from his business or is still e-pectin) to en*oy. Similarly+ the
philosopher will undoubtedly ha!e made a mista.e in his estimate+ if he cannot demonstrate in actual
feelin) the surplus of pleasure or+ as the case may be+ of pain which his manipulation of the account may
ha!e yielded.
<'$= For the present 0 shall not critici3e the calculations of those Pessimists who support their estimate of
the !alue of the world by an appeal to reason. 2ut if we are to decide whether to carry on the business of
life or not+ we shall demand first to be shown where the alle)ed balance of pain is to be found.
<'&= Here we touch the point where reason is not in a position by itself to determine the surplus of
pleasure or of pain+ but where it must e-hibit this surplus in life as somethin) actually felt. For man
reaches reality not throu)h concepts by themsel!es+ but throu)h the interpenetration of concepts and
percepts and feelin)s are percepts" which thin.in) brin)s about cp. p. &6". , merchant will )i!e up his
business only when the loss of )oods+ as calculated by his accountant+ is actually confirmed by the facts.
The I/ualityJ of pleasure
depends on the !alue of
the ob*ects that cause
the pleasure.
the elimination of all
"illusory" feelings from life's
balance actually cancels out
life feelings that were
genuinely there
0f the facts do not bear out the calculation+ he as.s his accountant to chec.
the account once more. That is e-actly what a man will do in the business of
life. 0f a philosopher wants to pro!e to him that the pain is far )reater than
the pleasure+ but that he does not feel it so+ then he will reply: FKou ha!e
made a mista.e in your theori3in)s4 repeat your analysis once more.F 2ut if
there comes a time in a business when the losses are really so )reat that the
firm1s credit no lon)er suffices to satisfy the creditors+ ban.ruptcy results+
e!en thou)h the merchant may a!oid .eepin) himself informed by careful
accounts about the state of his affairs. Similarly+ supposin) the /uantity of
pain in a man1s life became at any time so )reat that no hope credit" of
future pleasure could help him to )et o!er the pain+ the ban.ruptcy of life1s
business would ine!itably follow.
<'6= @ow the number of those who commit suicide is relati!ely small
compared with the number of those who li!e bra!ely on. Only !ery few men
)i!e up the business of life because of the pain in!ol!ed. 8hat follows9 5ither
that it is untrue to say that the /uantity of pain is )reater than the /uantity
of pleasure+ or that we do not ma.e the continuation of life dependent on the
/uantity of felt pleasure or pain.
<'D= 0n a !ery curious way+ 5duard !on Hartmann1s Pessimism+ ha!in) concluded that
life is !alueless because it contains a surplus of pain+ yet affirms the necessity of )oin)
on with life. This necessity lies in the fact that the world6purpose mentioned abo!e p.
1'D" can be achie!ed only by the ceaseless+ de!oted labour of human bein)s. 2ut so
lon) as men still pursue their e)oistical appetites they are unfit for this de!oted labour.
0t is not until e-perience and reason ha!e con!inced them that the pleasures which
5)oism pursues are incapable of attainment that they )i!e themsel!es up to their proper
tas.. 0n this way the pessimistic con!iction is offered as the fountain of unselfishness.
,n education based on Pessimism is to e-terminate 5)oism by con!incin) it of the
hopelessness of achie!in) its aims.
<'G= ,ccordin) to this !iew+ then+ the stri!in) for pleasure is fundamentally inherent in
human nature. 0t is only throu)h the insi)ht into the impossibility of satisfaction that
this stri!in) abdicates in fa!our of the hi)her tas.s of humanity.
<'9= 0t is+ howe!er+ impossible to say of this ethical theory+ which e-pects from the
establishment of Pessimism a de!otion to unselfish ends in life+ that it really o!ercomes
5)oism in the proper sense of the word. The moral ideas are said not to be stron)
enou)h to dominate the will until man has learnt that the selfish stri!in) after pleasure
cannot lead to any satisfaction. ;an+ whose selfishness desires the )rapes of pleasure+
finds them sour because he cannot attain them+ and so he turns his bac. on them and
de!otes himself to an unselfish life. ;oral ideals+ then+ accordin) to the opinion of
Pessimists+ are too wea. to o!ercome 5)oism+ but
they establish their .in)dom on the territory which
pre!ious reco)nition of the hopelessness of
5)oism has cleared for them.
<A#= 0f men by nature stri!e after pleasure but are unable to attain it+ it follows that
annihilation of e-istence and sal!ation throu)h non6e-istence are the only rational ends.
,nd if we accept the !iew that the real bearer of the pain of the world is 7od+ it follows
that the tas. of men consists in helpin) to brin) about the sal!ation of 7od. To commit
suicide does not ad!ance+ but hinders+ the reali3ation of this aim. 7od must rationally be
concei!ed as ha!in) created men for the sole purpose of brin)in) about his sal!ation
throu)h their action+ else would creation be purposeless. 5!ery one of us has to perform
his own definite tas. in the )eneral wor. of sal!ation. 0f he withdraws from the tas. by suicide+ another
has to do the wor. which was intended for him. Somebody else must bear in his stead the a)ony of
e-istence. ,nd since in e!ery bein) it is+ at bottom+ 7od who is the ultimate bearer of all pain+ it follows
that to commit suicide does not in the least diminish the /uantity of 7od1s pain+ but rather imposes upon
7od the additional difficulty of pro!idin) a substitute.
,n education
based on
Pessimism is
to e-terminate
5)oism by
con!incin) it
of the
hopelessness
of achie!in)
its aims+ only
then do they
de!ote
themsel!es to
the hi)her
tas.s of
humanity.
moral ideals, according to the
opinion of #essimists, are too
weak to overcome $goism
0f there is no hope of
future pleasure to help )et
o!er the pain+ the
ban.ruptcy of life will
follow.
top
14./ 0alue O "leasure #satisaction o needs$
<A1= This whole theory presupposes that pleasure is the standard of !alue for life. @ow life manifests itself
throu)h a number of instincts needs". 0f the !alue of life depended on its producin) more pleasure than
pain+ an instinct would ha!e to be called !alueless which brou)ht to its owner a balance of pain. Bet us+ if
you please+ inspect instinct and pleasure+ in order to see whether the former can be measured by the
latter. ,nd lest we )i!e rise to the suspicion that life does not be)in for us below the sphere of the
Faristocrats of the intellectsF we shall be)in our e-amination with a Fpurely animalF need+ !i3.+ hun)er.
<A'= Hun)er arises when our or)ans are unable to continue functionin) without a fresh supply of food.
8hat a hun)ry man desires+ in the first instance+ is to ha!e his hun)er stilled. ,s soon as the supply of
nourishment has reached the point where hun)er ceases+ e!erythin) has been attained that the food6
instinct cra!es. The pleasure which is connected with satiety consists+
to be)in with+ in the remo!al of the pain which is caused by hun)er.
2ut to the mere food6instinct there is added a further need. For man
does not merely desire to restore+ by the consumption of food+ the
disturbance in the functionin) of his or)ans+ or to )et rid of the pain
of hun)er+ but he see.s to effect this to the accompaniment of
pleasurable sensations of taste. 8hen he feels hun)ry+ and is within
half an hour of a meal to which he loo.s forward with pleasure+ he
a!oids spoilin) his en*oyment of the better food by ta.in) inferior
food which mi)ht satisfy his hun)er sooner. He needs hun)er in order
to )et the full en*oyment out of his meal. Thus hun)er becomes for
him at the same time a cause of pleasure. Supposin) all the hun)er
in the world could be satisfied+ we should )et the total /uantity of
pleasure which we owe to the e-istence of the desire for
nourishment. 2ut we should still ha!e to add the additional pleasure
which )ourmets )ain by culti!atin) the sensibility of their taste6
ner!es beyond the common measure.
<AA= The )reatest concei!able !alue of this /uantity of pleasure would be reached+ if no need remained
unsatisfied which was in any way connected with this .ind of pleasure+ and if with the smooth of
pleasure we had not at the same time to ta.e a certain amount of the rou)h of pain.
<A$= ;odern Science holds the !iew that @ature produces more life than it can maintain+ i.e.+ that
@ature also produces more hun)er than it is able to satisfy. The surplus of life thus produced is
condemned to a painful death in the stru))le for e-istence. 7ranted that the needs of life are+ at e!ery
moment of the world6process+ )reater than the a!ailable means of satisfaction+ and that the
en*oyment of life is correspondin)ly diminished+ yet such en*oyment as actually occurs is not one whit
reduced thereby. 8here!er a desire is satisfied+ there the correspondin) /uantity of pleasure e-ists+
e!en thou)h in the creature itself which desires+ or in its fellow6creatures+ there are a lar)e number of
unsatisfied instincts. 8hat is diminished is not the /uantity but the F!alueF of the en*oyment of life. 0f
only a part of the needs of a li!in) creature find satisfaction+ it e-periences still a correspondin)
pleasure. This pleasure is inferior in !alue in
proportion as it is inade/uate to the total demand of
life within a )i!en )roup of desires.
8e mi)ht represent this !alue as a fraction+ the
numerator of which is the actually e-perienced
pleasure+ whilst the denominator is the sum6total of
needs. This fraction has the !alue 1 when the
numerator and the denominator are e/ual+ i.e.+
when all needs are also satisfied. The fraction
becomes )reater than 1 when a creature
e-periences more pleasure than its desires demand.
0t becomes smaller than 1 when the /uantity of
pleasure falls short of the sum total of desires. 2ut
7ourmets culti!ate the
pleasurable sensations of taste
to increase the /uantity of
pleasure.
the fraction can ne!er ha!e the !alue # so lon) as the numerator has any !alue at all+ howe!er small.
0f a man were to ma.e up the account before his death and to distribute in ima)ination o!er the whole
of life the /uantity belon)in) to a particular instinct e.).+ hun)er"+ as well as the demands of this
instinct+ then the total pleasure which he has e-perienced mi)ht ha!e only a !ery small !alue+ but this
!alue would ne!er become alto)ether nil. 0f the /uantity of pleasure remains constant+ then with e!ery
increase in the needs of the creature the !alue of the pleasure diminishes. The same is true for the
totality of life in nature. The )reater the number of creatures in proportion to those which are able
fully to satisfy their instincts+ the smaller is the a!era)e pleasure6!alue of life.
The che/ues on life1s pleasure which are drawn in our fa!our in the form of our instincts+ become
increasin)ly less !aluable in proportion as we cannot e-pect to cash them at their full face !alue.
Suppose 0 )et enou)h to eat on three days and am then compelled to )o hun)ry for another three
days+ the actual pleasure on the three days of eatin) is not thereby diminished. 2ut 0 ha!e now to
thin. of it as distributed o!er si- days+ and this reduces its F!alueF for my food6instinct by half. The
same applies to the /uantity of pleasure as measured by the de)ree of my need. Suppose 0 ha!e
hun)er enou)h for two sandwiches and can only )et one+ the pleasure which this one )i!es me has
only half the !alue it would ha!e had if the eatin) of it had stilled my hun)er. This is the way in which
we determine the !alue of a pleasure in life. 8e determine it by the needs of life. Our desires supply
the measure4 pleasure is what is measured. The pleasure of stillin) hun)er has !alue only because
hun)er e-ists+ and it has determinate !alue throu)h the proportion which it bears to the intensity of
the hun)er.
<A&= ?nfulfilled demands of our life throw their shadow e!en upon fulfilled desires+ and thus detract
from the !alue of pleasurable hours. 2ut we may spea. also of the present !alue of a feelin) of
pleasure. This !alue is the smaller+ the more insi)nificant the pleasure is in proportion to the duration
and intensity of our desire.
<A6= , /uantity of pleasure has its full !alue for
us when its duration and de)ree e-actly coincide
with our desire. , /uantity of pleasure which is
smaller than our desire diminishes the !alue of
the pleasure. , /uantity which is )reater
produces a surplus which has not been
demanded and which is felt as pleasure only so
lon) as+ whilst en*oyin) the pleasure+ we can correspondin)ly increase the intensity of our desire. 0f
we are not able to .eep pace in the increase of our desire with the increase in pleasure+ then pleasure
turns into displeasure. The ob*ect which would otherwise satisfy us+ when it assails us unbidden ma.es
us suffer. This pro!es that pleasure has !alue for us only so lon) as we ha!e desires by which to
measure it. ,n e-cess of pleasurable feelin) turns into pain. This may be obser!ed especially in those
men whose desire for a )i!en .ind of pleasure is !ery small. 0n people whose desire for food is dulled+
eatin) easily produces nausea. This a)ain shows that desire is the measure of !alue for pleasure.
<AD= @ow Pessimism mi)ht reply that an unsatisfied desire for food produces not only the pain of a lost
en*oyment+ but also positi!e ills+ a)ony+ and misery in the world. 0t appeals for confirmation to the untold
misery of all who are harassed by an-ieties about food+ and to the !ast amount of pain which for these
unfortunates results indirectly from their lac. of food. ,nd if it wants to e-tend its assertion also to non6
human nature+ it can point to the a)onies of animals which+ in certain seasons+ die from lac. of food.
>oncernin) all these e!ils the Pessimist maintains that they far outwei)h the /uantity of pleasure which
the food6instinct brin)s into the world.
<AG= There is no doubt that it is possible to compare pleasure and pain one with another+ and determine
the surplus of the one or the other as we determine commercial )ain or loss. 2ut if Pessimists thin. that a
surplus on the side of pain is a )round for inferrin) that life is !alueless+ they fall into the mista.e of
ma.in) a calculation which in actual life is ne!er made.
top
14.1 Will 2or "leasure #intensity o desire$
<A9= Our desire+ in any )i!en case+ is directed to a particular ob*ect. The !alue of the pleasure of
satisfaction+ as we ha!e seen+ will be the )reater in proportion as the /uantity of the pleasure is )reater
relati!ely to the intensity of our desire. 0t depends+ further+ on this intensity how lar)e a /uantity of pain
we are willin) to bear in order to )ain the pleasure. 8e compare the /uantity of pain+ not with the
/uantity of pleasure+ but with the intensity of our desire. He who finds )reat pleasure in eatin) will+ by
reason of his pleasure in better times+ be more easily able to bear a period of hun)er than one who does
not deri!e pleasure from the satisfaction of the instinct for food. , woman who wants a child compares
the pleasures resultin) from the possession of a child+ not with the /uantities of pain due to pre)nancy+
birth+ nursin)+ etc.+ but with her desire for the possession of the child.
<$#= 8e ne!er aim at a certain /uantity of pleasure in the abstract+ but at concrete satisfaction of a
perfectly determinate .ind. 8hen we are aimin) at a definite ob*ect or a definite sensation+ it will not
satisfy us to be offered some other ob*ect or some other sensation+ e!en thou)h they )i!e the same
amount of pleasure. 0f we desire satisfaction of hun)er+ we cannot substitute for the pleasure which this
satisfaction would brin) a pleasure e/ually )reat but produced by a wal.. Only if our desire were+ /uite
)enerally+ for a certain /uantity of pleasure+ would it ha!e to die away at once if this pleasure were
unattainable e-cept at the price of an e!en )reater /uantity of pain. 2ut because we desire a determinate
.ind of satisfaction+ we e-perience the pleasure of reali3ation e!en when+ alon) with it+ we ha!e to bear
an e!en )reater pain.
The instincts of li!in) bein)s tend in a determinate direction and aim at concrete ob*ects+ and it is *ust for
this reason that it is impossible+ in our calculations+ to set down as an e/ui!alent factor the /uantities of
pain which we ha!e to bear in the pursuit of our ob*ect. Pro!ided the desire is sufficiently intense to be
still to some de)ree in e-istence e!en after ha!in) o!ercome the pain Hhowe!er )reat that pain+ ta.en in
the abstract+ may beH the pleasure of satisfaction may still be en*oyed to its full e-tent. The desire+
therefore+ does not measure the pain directly a)ainst the pleasure which we attain+ but indirectly by
measurin) the pain proportionately" a)ainst its own intensity. The /uestion is not whether the pleasure
to be )ained is )reater than the pain+ but whether the desire for the ob*ect at which we aim is )reater
than the inhibitory effect of the pain which we ha!e to face. 0f the inhibition is )reater than the desire+ the
latter yields to the ine!itable+ slac.ens+ and ceases to stri!e. 2ut inasmuch as we stri!e after a
determinate land of satisfaction+ the pleasure we )ain thereby ac/uires an importance which ma.es it
possible+ once satisfaction has been attained+ to allow in our calculation for the ine!itable pain only in so
far as it has diminished the intensity of our desire.
0f 0 am passionately fond of beautiful !iews+ 0 ne!er
calculate the amount of pleasure which the !iew
from the mountain6top )i!es me as compared
directly with the pain of the toilsome ascent and
descent4 but 0 reflect whether+ after ha!in)
o!ercome all difficulties+ my desire for the !iew will
still be sufficiently intense.
Thus pleasure and pain can be made commensurate
only mediately throu)h the intensity of the desire.
Hence the /uestion is not at all whether there is a
surplus of pleasure or of pain+ but whether the
desire for pleasure is sufficiently intense to
o!ercome the pain.
The /uestion is not whether there is a surplus
of pleasure or of pain+ but whether the desire
for pleasure is sufficiently intense
to o!ercome the pain.
<$1= , proof for the accuracy of this !iew is to be found in
the fact+ that we put a hi)her !alue on pleasure when it has
to be purchased at the price of )reat pain than when it
simply falls into our lap li.e a )ift from hea!en. 8hen
sufferin)s and a)onies ha!e toned down our desire and yet
after all our aim is attained+ then the pleasure is all the
)reater in proportion to the intensity of the desire that has
sur!i!ed. @ow it is *ust this proportion which+ as 0 ha!e
shown p. 1AD"+ represents the !alue of the pleasure. ,
further proof is to be found in the fact that all li!in)
creatures includin) men" de!elop their instincts as lon) as
they are able to bear the inhibitin) pains and a)onies. The
stru))le for e-istence is but a conse/uence of this fact. ,ll
li!in) creatures stri!e to e-pand+ and only those abandon
the stru))le whose desires are throttled by the
o!erwhelmin) ma)nitude of the difficulties with which they
meet. 5!ery li!in) creature see.s food until sheer lac. of
food destroys its life. ;an+ too+ does not turn his hand
a)ainst himself until ri)htly or wron)ly+ he belie!es that he
cannot attain those aims in life which alone seem to him
worth stri!in) for. So lon) as he still belie!es in the
possibility of attainin) what he thin.s worth stri!in) for he
will battle a)ainst all pains and miseries. Philosophy would
ha!e to con!ince man that stri!in) is rational only when
pleasure outwei)hs pain+ for it is his nature to stri!e for the
attainment of the ob*ects which he desires+ so lon) as he
can bear the ine!itable incidental pain+ howe!er )reat that
may be. Such a philosophy+ howe!er+ would be mista.en+
because it would ma.e the human will dependent on a
factor the surplus of pleasure o!er pain" which+ at first+ is wholly forei)n to man1s point of !iew. The
ori)inal measure of his will is his desire+ and desire asserts itself as lon) as it can.
0f 0 am compelled+ in purchasin) a certain /uantity of apples+ to ta.e
twice as many rotten ones as sound ones Hbecause the seller wishes to
clear out his stoc.H 0 shall not hesitate a moment to ta.e the bad apples
as well+ if 0 put so hi)h a !alue on the smaller /uantity of )ood apples
that 0 am prepared+ in addition to the purchase price+ to bear also the
e-pense for the transportation of the rotten )oods. This e-ample
illustrates the relation between the /uantities of pleasure and of pain
which are caused by a )i!en instinct. 0 determine the !alue of the )ood
apples+ not by subtractin) the sum of the )ood from that of the bad ones+
but by the fact that+ in spite of the presence of the bad ones+ 0 still attach
a !alue to the )ood ones.
<$'= (ust as 0 lea!e out of account the bad apples in the en*oyment of the )ood ones+ so 0 surrender
myself to the satisfaction of a desire after ha!in) sha.en off the ine!itable pains.
<$A= Supposin) e!en Pessimism were in the ri)ht with its
assertion that the world contains more pain than pleasure+ it
would ne!ertheless ha!e no influence upon the will+ for li!in)
bein)s would still stri!e after such pleasure as remains. The
empirical proof that pain o!erbalances pleasure is indeed
effecti!e for showin) up the futility of that school of philosophy which loo.s for the !alue of life in a
surplus of pleasure 5udaemonism"+ but not for e-hibitin) the will+ as such+ as irrational. For the will is not
set upon a surplus of pleasure+ but on whate!er /uantity of pleasure remains after subtractin) the pain.
This remainin) pleasure still appears always as an ob*ect worth pursuin).
the will is not set upon a surplus of
pleasure, but on whatever %uantity
of pleasure remains after
subtracting the pain
0t is his nature to stri!e for the attainment
of the ob*ects that he desires+ so lon) as
he can bear the ine!itable pain.
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14.10 Ma'nitude O "leasure #amusement$
<$$= ,n attempt has been made to refute Pessimism by
assertin) that it is impossible to determine by calculation
the surplus of pleasure or of pain in the world. The
possibility of e!ery calculation depends on our bein) able
to compare the thin)s to be calculated in respect of their
ma)nitudes. 5!ery pain and e!ery pleasure has a definite
ma)nitude intensity and duration". Further+ we can
compare pleasurable feelin)s of different .inds one with
another+ at least appro-imately+ with re)ard to their
ma)nitudes. 8e .now whether we deri!e more pleasure
from a )ood ci)ar or from a )ood *o.e. @o ob*ection can
be raised a)ainst the comparability of different pleasures
and pains in respect of their ma)nitudes. The thin.er who
sets himself the tas. of determinin) the surplus of
pleasure or pain in the world+ starts from presuppositions
which are undeniably le)itimate. 0t is possible to maintain
that the Pessimistic results are false+ but it is not possible
to doubt that /uantities of pleasure and pain can be
scientifically estimated+ and that the surplus of the one or the other can thereby be determined. 0t is
incorrect+ howe!er+ to assert that from this calculation any conclusions can be drawn for the human
will. The cases in which we really ma.e the !alue of our acti!ity dependent on whether pleasure or pain
shows a surplus+ are those in which the ob*ects towards which our acti!ity is directed are indifferent to
us. 0f it is a /uestion whether+ after the day1s wor.+ 0 am to
amuse myself by a )ame or by li)ht con!ersation+ and if 0
am totally indifferent what 0 do so lon) as it amuses me+
then 0 simply as. myself+ 8hat )i!es me the )reatest
surplus of pleasure9 ,nd 0 abandon the acti!ity alto)ether if
the scales incline towards the side of displeasure. 0f we are buyin) a toy for a child we consider+ in
selectin)+ what will )i!e him the )reatest pleasure+ but in all other cases we are not determined
e-clusi!ely by considerations of the balance of pleasure.
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14.11 3i'hest "leasure #reali4ation o moral ideals$
<$&= Hence+ if Pessimistic thin.ers belie!e that they are preparin) the )round for an unselfish de!otion to
the wor. of ci!ili3ation+ by demonstratin) that there is a )reater /uantity of pain than of pleasure in life+
they for)et alto)ether that the human will is so constituted that it cannot be influenced by this .nowled)e.
The whole stri!in) of men is directed towards the )reatest possible satisfaction that is attainable after
o!ercomin) all difficulties. The hope of this satisfaction is the basis of all human acti!ity. The wor. of
e!ery sin)le indi!idual and the whole achie!ement of ci!ili3ation ha!e their roots in this hope. The
Pessimistic theory of 5thics thin.s it necessary to represent the pursuit of pleasure as impossible+ in order
that man may de!ote himself to his proper moral tas.s. 2ut these moral tas.s are nothin) but the
concrete natural and spiritual instincts4 and he stri!es to satisfy these notwithstandin) all incidental pain.
The pursuit of pleasure+ then+ which the Pessimist sets himself to eradicate is nowhere to be found. 2ut
the tas.s which man has to fulfil are fulfilled by him because from his !ery nature he wills to fulfil them.
The Pessimistic system of 5thics maintains that a man cannot de!ote himself to what he reco)ni3es as his
tas. in life until he has first )i!en up the desire for pleasure. 2ut no system of 5thics can e!er in!ent
other tas.s than the reali3ation of those satisfactions which human desires demand+ and the fulfilment of
man1s moral ideas. @o 5thical theory can depri!e him of the pleasure which he e-periences in the
reali3ation of what he desires. 8hen the Pessimist says+ FLo not stri!e after pleasure+ for pleasure is
unattainable4 stri!e instead after what you reco)ni3e to be your tas.+F we must reply that it is human
nature to stri!e to do one1s tas.s+ and that philosophy has )one astray in in!entin) the principle that man
stri!es for nothin) but pleasure. He aims at the satisfaction of what his nature demands+ and the
attainment of this satisfaction is to him a pleasure.
If I am to amuse myself after the
day's work, then I simply ask myself,
&hat gives me the greatest surplus
of pleasure'
5!ery pain and e!ery pleasure has a definite
ma)nitude intensity and duration".
Pessimistic 5thics+ in demandin) that we should stri!e+ not after pleasure+ but after the reali3ation of what
we reco)ni3e as our tas.+ lays its fin)er on the !ery thin) which man wills in !irtue of his own nature.
There is no need for man to be turned inside out by philosophy+ there is no need for him to discard his
nature+ in order to be moral. ;orality means stri!in) for an
end so lon) as the pain connected with this stri!in) does
not inhibit the desire for the end alto)ether4 and this is the
essence of all )enuine will. 5thics is not founded on the
eradication of all desire for pleasure+ in order that+ in its
place+ bloodless moral ideas may set up their rule where no
stron) desire for pleasure stands in their way+ but it is
based on the stron) will which attains its end e!en when
the path to it is full of thorns.
<$6= ;oral ideals ha!e their root in the moral ima)ination
of man. Their reali3ation depends on the desire for them
bein) sufficiently intense to o!ercome pains and a)onies.
They are man1s own intuitions. 0n them his spirit braces
itself to action. They are what he wills+ because their
reali3ation is his hi)hest pleasure. He needs no 5thical
theory first to forbid him to stri!e for pleasure and then to
prescribe to him what he shall stri!e for. He will+ of himself+ stri!e for moral ideals pro!ided his moral
ima)ination is sufficiently acti!e to inspire him with the intuitions+ which )i!e stren)th to his will to
o!ercome all resistance.
<$D= 0f a man stri!es towards sublimely )reat ideals+ it is
because they are the content of his will+ and because their
reali3ation will brin) him an en*oyment compared with which
the pleasure which inferior spirits draw from the satisfaction of
their commonplace needs is a mere nothin). 0dealists deli)ht in
translatin) their ideals into reality.
<$G= ,nyone who wants to eradicate the pleasure which the
fulfillment of human desires brin)s+ will ha!e first to de)rade
man to the position of a sla!e who does not act because he
wills+ but because he must. For the attainment of the ob*ect of
will )i!es pleasure. 8hat we call the )ood is not what a man
must do+ but what he wills to do when he unfolds the fullness
of his nature. ,nyone who does not ac.nowled)e this must
depri!e man of all the ob*ects of his will+ and then prescribe to
him from without what he is to ma.e the content of his will.
<$9= ;an !alues the satisfaction of a desire because the desire
sprin)s from his own nature. 8hat he attains is !aluable
because it is the ob*ect of his will. 0f we deny any !alue to the
ends which men do will+ then we shall ha!e to loo. for the ends
that are !aluable amon) ob*ects which men do not will.
<&#= , system of 5thics+ then+ which is built up on Pessimism has its root in the contempt of man1s moral
ima)ination. Only he who does not consider the indi!idual human mind capable of determinin) for itself
the content of its stri!in) can loo. for the sum and substance of will in the cra!in) for pleasure. , man
without ima)ination does not create moral ideas4 they must be imparted to him. Physical nature sees to it
that he see.s the satisfaction of his lower desires4 but for the de!elopment of the whole man the desires
which ha!e their ori)in in the spirit are fully as necessary. Only
those who belie!e that man has no such spiritual desires at all can
maintain that they must be imparted to him from without. On that
!iew it will also be correct to say that it is man1s duty to do what he
does not will to do. 5!ery 5thical system which demands of man
that he should suppress his will in order to fulfil tas.s which he does
;oral ideals are his own intuitions and their
reali3ation is his hi)hest pleasure.
He will stri!e for moral ideals pro!ided
his moral ima)ination is acti!e enou)h
to inspire him with intuitions that
)i!e his will the stren)th to
o!ercome all resistance.
moral action consists, not in the
eradication of one's individual
will, but in the fullest
development of human nature
not will+ wor.s+ not with the whole man+ but with a stunted bein) who lac.s the faculty of spiritual
desires. For a man who has been harmoniously de!eloped+ the so6called ideas of the 7ood lie+ not
without+ but within the ran)e of his will. ;oral action consists+ not in the eradication of one1s indi!idual
will+ but in the fullest de!elopment of human nature. To re)ard moral ideals as attainable only on
condition that man destroys his indi!idual will+ is to i)nore the fact that these ideals are as much rooted in
man1s will as the satisfaction of the so6called animal instincts.
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14.1% 5oy O 6chievement #measure achievement a'ainst aims$
<&1= 0t cannot be denied that the !iews here outlined may easily be misunderstood. 0mmature youths
without any moral ima)ination li.e to loo. upon the instincts of their half de!eloped natures as the full
substance of humanity+ and re*ect all moral ideas which they ha!e not themsel!es ori)inated+ in order
that they may Fli!e themsel!es outF without restriction. 2ut it )oes without sayin) that a theory which
holds for a fully de!eloped man does not hold for half6de!eloped boys. ,nyone who still re/uires to be
brou)ht by education to the point where his moral nature brea.s throu)h the shell of his lower
passions+ cannot e-pect to be measured by the same standard as a mature man. 2ut it was not my
intention to set down what a half6fled)ed youth re/uires to be tau)ht+ but the essential nature of a
mature man.
<&'= 5!ery mature man is the ma.er of his own
!alue. He does not aim at pleasure+ which comes to
him as a )ift of )race on the part of nature or of
the >reator4 nor does he li!e for the sa.e of what
he reco)ni3es as
duty+ after he
has put away
from him the
desire for
pleasure. He acts as he wills+ that is+ in accordance
with his moral intuitions4 and he finds in the
attainment of what he wills the true en*oyment of
life. He determines the !alue of his life by
measurin) his achie!ements a)ainst his aims. ,n
5thical system which puts Fou)htF in the place of
Fwill+F duty in the place of inclination+ is consistent
in determinin) the !alue of man by the ratio
between the demands of duty and his actual
achie!ements. 0t applies to man a measure that is
e-ternal to his own nature. The !iew which 0 ha!e
here de!eloped points man bac. to himself. 0t
reco)ni3es as the true !alue of life nothin) e-cept what each indi!idual re)ards as such by the measure
of his own will. , !alue of life which the indi!idual does not reco)ni3e is as little ac.nowled)ed by my
!iews as a purpose of life which does not sprin) from the !alue thus reco)ni3ed. ;y !iew loo.s upon
the indi!idual as his own master and the assessor of his own !alue.
He determines the !alue of life by measurin) his
achie!ements a)ainst his aims.
he does not aim at pleasure,
which comes to him as a gift
of grace, nor does he live
for the sake of duty
CHAPTER
15
THE
INDIVIDUAL
AND THE
GENUS
www.philosophyoffreedom.com
The Philosophy Of Freedom by Rudolf Steiner
Hoernle translation 1916 with a few minor re!isions for clarity"
#$%#&%'#1'
XV
THE INDIVIDUAL AND THE GENUS
(ournal
What is this chapter about? In this last chapter of the Philosophy of Freedom, Steiner takes up the
issue of individuality and genus in the human being, and explains the degree to which humans are
truly individual, or else embedded in their generic identities.

What is its value? It is the task of each individual to break through the boundaries of their defining
groups, and attain the intuition that enables them to become truly free, and truly unique. In turn, we
must learn to understand the individuality of others, and not assess them according to their generic
qualities.
Breaking Through The Limitations Of Genus Identity
)y *enus+ Steiner is referrin* to race+ *ender+ family linea*e+ ,fol-+, reli*ion+ and nationality. Steiner
maintains that people bear ,the *eneral characteristics, of the !arious *roups to which they belon*+
and that *enus identity can answer the .uestion of why people ,appear in the forms, in which they
appear. The collecti!e .ualities of *enus function as a ,medium, throu*h which people e/press their
particular bein*.
On the .uestion of indi!iduality+ Steiner ar*ues that the culti!ation of intuition allows a person to brea-
free of the limitations of *enus identity and to define him or herself as a true indi!idual.
Study Topics
ethics of free indi!iduality
1!" Group #ember
0 person bears the *eneral characteristics of the *roups to which he belon*s.
1!1 Group $haracteristics
1f we as- why some particular thin* about a person is li-e this or li-e that+ we are referred bac- from
the indi!idual to the *enus.
1!% Generic #edium &or Individual '(pression
0 man de!elops .ualities and acti!ities of his own+ and the basis for these we can see- only in the man
himself. 2hat is *eneric in him ser!es only as a medium in which to e/press his own indi!idual bein*.
1!) Individual $apacities *nd Inclinations
0 man3s acti!ity in life is *o!erned by his indi!idual capacities and inclinations+ whereas a woman3s is
supposed to be determined solely by the mere fact that she is a woman.
1!+ Individual ,ocial -ecision
2hat a woman+ within her natural limitations+ wants to become had better be left to the woman
herself to decide.
1! .ni/ue $haracteristics
4eterminin* the indi!idual accordin* to the laws of his *enus ceases where the sphere of freedom in
thin-in* and actin*" be*ins.
1!0 Intuitive $onceptual $ontent
The conceptual content which man has to connect with the percept by an act of thin-in* in order to
ha!e the full reality cannot be fi/ed once and for all and be.ueathed ready5made to man-ind. The
indi!idual must *et his concepts throu*h his own intuition.
1!1 Individual $oncrete *ims
1t is not possible to determine from the *eneral characteristics of man what concrete aims the
indi!idual may choose to set himself.
1!2 Individual 3ie4s *nd *ctions
0nd e!ery -ind of study that deals with abstract thou*hts and *eneric concepts is but a preparation for
the -nowled*e we *et when a human indi!iduality tells us his way of !iewin* the world+ and for the
-nowled*e we *et from the content of his acts of will.
1!5 'mancipation Of 6no4ing
1f we are to understand a free indi!iduality we must ta-e o!er into our own spirit those concepts by
which he determines himself+ in their pure form without mi/in* our own conceptual content with
them".
1!1" 'mancipation Of Being
Only to the e/tent that a man has emancipated himself in this way from all that is *eneric+ does he
count as a free spirit within a human community.
1!11 Intuitive $onduct
Only that part of his conduct that sprin*s from his intuitions can ha!e ethical !alue in the true sense.
1!1% #oral Life Of 7umanity
The moral life of humanity is the sum5total of the products of the moral ima*ination of free human
indi!iduals.
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1!" Group #ember
617 TH8 !iew that man is a wholly self5contained+ free indi!iduality stands in apparent conflict with the
facts+ that he appears as a member of a natural whole race+ tribe+ nation+ family+ *ender+ and that he
acts within a whole state+ church+ etc.". He e/hibits the *eneral characteristics of the community to which
he belon*s+ and *i!es to his actions a content which is defined by the place which he occupies within a
social whole.
6'7 This bein* so+ is any indi!iduality left at all9 :an we re*ard man as a whole in himself+ in !iew of the
fact that he *rows out of a whole and fits as a member into a whole9
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1!1 Group $haracteristics
6;7 The character and function of a member of a whole are
defined by the whole. 0 tribe is a whole+ and all members of
the tribe e/hibit the peculiar characteristics which are
conditioned by the nature of the tribe. The character and
acti!ity of the indi!idual member are determined by the
character of the tribe. Hence the physio*nomy and the
conduct of the indi!idual ha!e somethin* *eneric about them.
2hen we as- why this or that is so or so+ we are referred
from the indi!idual to the *enus. The *enus e/plains why
somethin* in the indi!idual appears in the forms obser!ed by
us.
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1!% Generic #edium &or Individual '(pression
6$7 )ut man emancipates himself from these *eneric characteristics.
He de!elops .ualities and acti!ities the reason for which we can see-
only in himself. The *eneric factors ser!e him only as a means to
de!elop his own indi!idual nature. He uses the peculiarities with which
nature has endowed him as material+ and *i!es them a form which
e/presses his own indi!iduality. 2e see- in !ain for the reason of such
an e/pression of a man3s indi!iduality in the laws of the *enus.
2e are dealin* here with an indi!idual who can be e/plained only
throu*h himself. 1f a man has reached the point of emancipation from
what is *eneric in him+ and we still attempt to e/plain all his .ualities
by reference to the character of the *enus+ then we lac- the or*an for
apprehendin* what is indi!idual.
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1!) Individual $apacities *nd Inclinations
6<7 1t is impossible to understand a human bein* completely if
one ma-es the concept of the *enus the basis of one3s =ud*ment.
The tendency to =ud*e accordin* to the *enus is most persistent
where differences of se/ are in!ol!ed. >an sees in woman+
woman in man+ almost always too much of the *eneric
characteristics of the other3s se/+ and too little of what is
indi!idual in the other. 1n practical life this does less harm to men than to women.
0ll members of the tribe e/hibit the
peculiar characteristics which are
conditioned by the nature of the tribe.
>an emancipates himself from
*eneric characteristics.
(ud*ment accordin* to *ender.
The social position of women is+ in most instances+ so low because it is not determined by the indi!idual
characteristics of each woman herself+ but by the *eneral ideas which are current concernin* the natural
function and needs of woman. 0 man3s acti!ity in life is determined by his indi!idual capacity and
inclination+ whereas a woman3s acti!ity is supposed to be determined solely by the fact that she is =ust a
woman. 2oman is to be the sla!e of the *eneric+ of the *eneral idea of womanhood.
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1!+ Individual ,ocial -ecision
So lon* as men debate whether woman+ from her ,natural disposition+, is fitted
for this+ that+ or the other profession+ the so5called 2oman3s ?uestion will ne!er
ad!ance beyond the most elementary sta*e. 2hat it lies in woman3s nature to
stri!e for had better be left to woman herself to decide. 1f it is true that women
are fitted only for that profession which is theirs at present+ then they will hardly
ha!e it in them to attain any other. )ut they must be allowed to decide for
themsel!es what is in accordance with their nature. To all who fear an uphea!al
of our social structure+ should women be treated as
indi!iduals and not as specimens of their se/+ we
need only reply that a social structure in which the
status of one5half of humanity is unworthy of a
human bein* stands itself in *reat need of
impro!ement.
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1! .ni/ue $haracteristics
667 0nyone who =ud*es human bein*s accordin* to their *eneric character
stops short at the !ery point beyond which they be*in to be indi!iduals whose
acti!ity rests on free self5determination. 2hate!er lies short of this point may
naturally become matter for scientific study. Thus the characteristics of race+
tribe+ nation+ and se/ are the sub=ect5matter of special sciences. Only men
who wish to li!e as nothin* more than e/amples of the *enus could possibly
conform to the *eneric picture which the methods of these sciences produce.
)ut all these sciences are unable to *et as far as the uni.ue character of the
sin*le indi!idual. 2here the sphere of freedom thin-in* and actin*" be*ins+
there the possibility of determinin* the indi!idual accordin* to the laws of his
*enus ceases.
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1!0 Intuitive $onceptual $ontent
The conceptual content which man+ by an act of thou*ht+ has to connect with
percepts+ in order to possess himself fully of reality cp. pp. <& ff."+ cannot
be fi/ed by anyone once and for all+ and handed down to humanity ready5
made. The indi!idual must *ain his concepts throu*h his own intuition. 1t is
impossible to deduce from any concept of the *enus how the indi!idual ou*ht
to thin-@ that depends sin*ly and solely on the indi!idual himself.
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1!1 Individual $oncrete *ims
So+ a*ain+ it is =ust as impossible to determine+ on the basis of the uni!ersal characteristics of human
nature+ what concrete ends the indi!idual will set before himself. 0nyone who wants to understand the
sin*le indi!idual must penetrate to the innermost core of his bein*+ and not stop short at those .ualities
which he shares with others. 1n this sense e!ery sin*le human bein* is a problem.
Ani.ue character of
the sin*le indi!idual.
they must be allowed to
decide for themselves
what is in accordance
with their nature
:onceptual content
cannot be fi/ed.
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1!2 Individual 3ie4s *nd *ctions
0nd e!ery science which deals only with abstract thou*hts and *eneric
concepts is but a preparation for the -ind of -nowled*e which we *ain
when a human indi!idual communicates to us his way of !iewin* the
world+ and for that other -ind of -nowled*e which each of us *ains
from the content of his own will.
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1!5 'mancipation Of 6no4ing
2here!er we feel that here we are dealin* with a man who has
emancipated his thin-in* from all that is *eneric+ and his will from the
*roo!es typical of his -ind+ there we must cease to call in any concepts of
our own ma-in* if we would understand his nature. Bnowled*e consists in
the combination by thou*ht of a concept and a percept. 2ith all other
ob=ects the obser!er has to *ain his concepts throu*h his intuition.
)ut if the problem is to understand a free indi!iduality+ we need only to ta-e
o!er into our own minds those concepts by which the indi!idual determines
himself in their pure form without admi/ture". Those who always mi/ their
own ideas into their =ud*ment on another person can ne!er attain to the
understandin* of an indi!iduality. (ust as the free indi!idual emancipates
himself from the characteristics of the *enus+ so our -nowled*e of the
indi!idual must emancipate itself from the methods by which we understand
what is *eneric.
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1!1" 'mancipation Of Being
6&7 0 man counts as a free spirit in a human
community only to the de*ree in which he has
emancipated himself+ in the way we ha!e
indicated+ from all that is *eneric.
Co man is all *enus+ none is all indi!iduality@
but e!ery man *radually emancipates a *reater
or lesser sphere of his bein*+ both from the
*eneric characteristics of animal life and from
the laws of human authorities which rule him
despotically.
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1!11 Intuitive $onduct
6D7 1n respect of that part of his nature for which man is not able to win this freedom for himself+ he forms
a member within the or*anism of nature and of spirit. He li!es+ in this respect+ by the imitation of others+
or in obedience to their command.
)ut ethical !alue belon*s only to that part of his conduct which sprin*s from his intuitions.
How to -nowin* an
indi!idual.
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1!1% #oral Life Of 7umanity
This is his contribution to the already e/istin* total of moral ideas. 1n such ethical intuitions all moral
acti!ity of men has its root. To put this differentlyE the moral life of humanity is the sum5total of the
products of the moral ima*ination of free human indi!iduals. This is >onism3s confession of faith. >onism
loo-s upon the history of the moral life+ not as the education of the human race by a transcendent Fod+
but as the *radual li!in* out in practice of all concepts and ideas which sprin* from the moral ima*ination.