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that hollow coconut sound  Peter Staudenmaier
 Oct 19, 2006 13:05 PDT 

Here, for Frank's perusal, and to jog Joel's memory, is some of what I've
posted before about the many ways in which Steiner's 1894 book Philosophy of
Freedom differs from all of his post-1900 works.

Much of Steiner's early philosophical work explores epistemological issues
primarily through reviewing and commenting on the work of other
philosophers. His basic framework was the existing tradition of German
Idealism, within which he staked out a series of particular stances on
contested questions about knowledge and how it is attained.

In these early works Steiner divides cognition
into two basic functions, perception and thought, and emphasizes that
objects themselves do not determine how people perceive them. After pointing
to the necessary role of the will in all acts of knowing, he makes a
further distinction between perception and intuition, and says that objects
present themselves to our perception, whereas the concepts with which we
grasp those objects are the product of intuition. But we need both -- sense
impressions and concepts, perception and intuition -- to achieve the full
reality, to have actual knowledge. In the final analysis, says the early
Steiner, it is thinking that connects us to each other and to the universe
as a whole.

At no point does he say anything at all in these works about higher worlds
or esoteric training or the stages of initiation. Nothing remotely
resembling these ideas appears anywhere in the early works. The early
Steiner developed an approach to knowledge grounded in people's everyday
experience of the world around them and of their own internal perception of
that world. The point of his approach was to help us better understand how
our thinking processes relate to the external world. The early Steiner never
mentions, alludes to, assumes the existence of, or otherwise entertains the
notion of any "higher worlds", much less higher worlds that determine what
goes on in the mundane
world around us.

I also encourage Frank, Joel, and other anthroposophist readers of this
exchange who would like a fuller version of the argument presented here to
look at a previous discussion of these issues from several years ago:


Greetings to all,

Peter Staudenmaier

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