8 lectures by Rudolf Steiner
In Anthroposophy and
Science, Rudolf Steiner examines the underlying precepts of
the modern scientific approach and its current tools of observation
of nature, experimentation, and the use of mathematics to establish
quantitative relationships which are then framed as laws. Nature is
understood in this way as a myriad of lifeless forces which somehow
give rise to the entire phenomenal universe including the human
being who is striving to understand the world and himself.
Steiner doesn't criticise
the validity of this method of scientific approach but only its
scope and realm of application. The examining consciousness of the
human being is the first refutation of the validity of this as an
all encompassing approach to knowledge. Its application certainly
shows validity in the realm of lifeless space and form - whether we
describe the world in terms of Newtonian mechanics, Einsteinian
relativism of flexible space and time, or the probability
mathematics of quantum mechanics. This type of thinking, which is
essentially static and quantitative, is appropriate to arriving at
accurate descriptions (not necessarily causes) of physical phenomena
in the purely mineral world - i.e. without consideration of living
To approach the study and
understanding of the living world - the plant, animal and human
realms, different cognitive processes are required. Here Steiner
brings us to view human consciousness itself, and the development
and use of faculties which contemporary science does not recognise
or dismisses out of
hand as being personal and subjective. He describes the development
faculties, which like our physical senses and conceptual thinking,
are part of our developing evolution as human beings - the 3 higher
cognitive states of Imagination, Inspiration and Intuition. These
are not to be confused with the usual understanding of these words
but as heightened perceptual and cognitive states which will
progressively develop in our struggle to understand who and what we
are as well as the world around us.
Introduction by Georg Unger
Lecture I, Stuttgart, March 16,1921
The three forms of science. Observation of nature, experiment and
mathematical penetration of nature. The nature of the experiment.
The certainty of mathematical knowledge. Psychology then and now.
Growth in boys and girls. The customary cognition of nature. The
philosophy of David Hume. Mathematical cognition as an inner
constructive activity. Spiritual cognition as an inner activity
Lecture II, March 17,1921
The membering of man into nerve-sense system, rhythmical system of
feeling and metabolic-will system as described in the book Riddles
of the Soul. The inner nature of vision, arm-movement and walking in
relation to the three dimensions of space.
Lecture III, March 18, 1921
The possibility of explaining nature out of itself and the
supersensible world. Normal and mathematical nature knowledge. The
application of mathematical cognition to the mineral, dead world;
attaining an apprehension of the plant world through imaginative
cognition. The two kinds of clairvoyance. The theory of the
subjectivity of sense perception. The duality of the eye as a
physical apparatus and an organ streamed through by life. The
discovery of the etheric body through imagination. The application
of this view to the whole human being. The longing for an expansion
and a deepening of our cognition.
Lecture IV, March 19,1921
Imagination as mode of cognition for the world of life. Gustav
Theodor Fechner. Acquiring the imaginative method. The nerve
organization as synthetic sense-organ. Concerning the intellect.
Memory and Imagination. Love as help in strengthening the capacity
to forget. Self-discipline as enhancement of cognitive powers. The
image character of mental representation. The flowing of reality
into the mental image through Inspiration.
Lecture V, March 21,1921
Modern sense-physiology and the twelve senses. The neurologist,
Meynert. Controversy in the Giordano Bruno Association concerning
mental imaging. Theodor Ziehen's psychology. Analytic and synthetic
(projective) geometry. Moriz Benedikt and mathematics. Inspirational
cognition of the rhythmic system. The Yoga system. The nature of
symbolism. The psychological origin of cultic action. The modem
intellect. Earlier cultic activity and modern scientific experiment.
Lecture VI, March 22,1921
The memory picture and its transformation in Imagination and
Inspiration. The intellect in modern natural science and in Goethe.
The phenomenon and the archetypal phenomenon. The enhanced activity
of forgetting as experience of inner freedom. From the nature of
memory to the cognition of the inner aspects of the human being:
liver, kidney. St. Theresa, Mechthild von Magdeburg. The formation of
the nervous system. Lectures about "Anthroposophy" in 1909 and the
book "Anthroposophy. A Fragment." The correspondence of one upper
and one lower organ in man. Spiritual psychology and therapy.
Lecture VII, March 23,1921
The nature of Intuition. Tumour formation and its healing. Intuition
as an inversion of sense-perception. Indefinite perception and dark
belief. Life before birth and after death, repeated earth lives.
Falling asleep and waking up. The method of writing history. Dante,
Luther, Constantine, Julian the Apostate. Concerning the experience
of the forces active in history which are not described. Verifying
supersensible facts. The experiment and its consequences for the
scientific experience of modern man. Spiritual scientific knowledge
as a fructification of the other sciences.
Lecture VIII, March 23,1921
The picture of anthroposophy as the light illuminating a space. The
scientific nature of anthroposophy and the social question. The
Waldorf School and other institutions originating out of
anthroposophy. The necessity of the uniformity of all knowledge. The
verification of anthroposophical knowledge. Concerning opponents.
Confidence in the academic youth. Admonition to the youth: "Open the
8 lectures, Stuttgart 16-23 March 1921, GA324
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