It addresses the questions whether and in what sense human beings can be said to be free. Steiner had how to find freedom in an unfree world pdf to write a philosophy of freedom since at least 1880. Steiner described the aim of the book: knowledge should become “organically alive”.
For them, human ideas were their artists’ materials and scientific method their artistic technique. Steiner believed had not focused sufficiently on the role of thinking in developing inner freedom. Are there Limits to Knowledge? This claim is important to freedom, because for Steiner freedom involves knowing the real basis of our actions. If this basis cannot be known, then freedom is not possible.
Steiner begins exploring the nature of human freedom by accepting “that an action, of which the agent does not know why he performs it, cannot be free,” but asking what happens when a person becomes conscious of his or her motives for acting. In Chapter 2, “The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge,” Steiner discusses how an awareness of the division between mind, or subject, and world, or object, gives rise to a desire to reestablish a unity between these poles. Steiner suggests that only by locating nature’s manifestations within our subjective nature can we overcome this division. In Chapter 3, “Thinking in the Service of Knowledge,” Steiner observes that when confronted with percepts, we feel obliged to think about and add concepts to these: to observation we add thinking. Steiner seeks to demonstrate that what he considers the primary antithesis between observation and thinking underlies all other related antitheses and philosophical distinctions, such as subject vs. Normally, however, for just that reason we do not pay attention to the process of thinking, only its results, the thoughts themselves: “The first observation which we make about thinking is therefore this: that it is the unobserved element in our ordinary mental and spiritual life”. Steiner connects this “first observation” to the fact that thinking is entirely due to our own activity.
It does not appear before us unless we ourselves produce it. Nevertheless, when I apprehend the content of thinking, a concept, this is self-justifying, in the sense that it can be asked why I feel this or that way about something, but not why it produces in me this or that concept. Such a question would be “simply meaningless”. Their contents justify the relations of concepts to one another. Furthermore, when observing my thinking, it is always a past instance of thinking that I observe, not a present one.