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The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity

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Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity

The Basis for a Modern World Conception

On-line since: 21st October, 2006

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity

Rudolf Steiner Archive Document

Lectures Section

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity demonstrates the fact of freedom - the ability to think and act independently - as a possibility for modern consciousness. Read properly, it leads the reader to the experience of presence or living thinking - new thinking - by which all human activity may be renewed.

By Rudolf Steiner

GA 4

This book, written in 1894, is a fundamental treatment of Steiner's philosophical outlook. Together with Truth and Science and The Riddles of Philosophy it might be considered as one third of a philosophical trilogy. The emphasis of the book is not on “freedom” as ordinarily understood, but is on “freiheit” or what might be termed freeness. This freeness is a self-starting, self-directing activity of a spiritual sort. Here, the term “spiritual” is used in a sense not incompatible with the use of the word in the tradition of the German idealistic school of philosophy.

The main divisions of the book are: Knowledge of Freedom, The Reality of Freedom, and Ultimate Questions.

This edition is translated from the 2nd German edition of 1918 by Rita Stebbing, and is bound together with Truth and Knowledge. It is presented here with the kind permission of the Rudolf Steiner Nachlassverwaltung, Dornach, Switzerland.

Copyright © 1963
This e.Text edition is provided through the wonderful work of:
The Rudolf Steiner Publications, Inc.
Blauvelt, New York
Book Cover Image

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 Portrait of Rudolf Steiner  
 Cover Sheet  
Bibliographical Note  
Introduction: Rudolf Steiner as a Philosopher  


Title Page of the First Edition of The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity  
Preface to the Revised Edition, 1918  

The Knowledge of Freedom

i. The Conscious Human Deed  
ii. The Fundamental Urge For Knowledge  
iii. Thinking in the Service of Understanding the World  
iv. The World as Perception  
v. The Act of Knowing the World  
vi. The Human Individuality  
vii. Are There Limits to Knowledge?  

The Reality of Freedom

viii. The Factors of Life  
ix. The Idea of Freedom  
x. Philosophy of Freedom and Monism  
xi. World Purpose and Life Purpose  
xii. Moral Imagination  
xiii. The Value of Life  
xiv. Individuality and Species  

Ultimate Questions

The Consequences of Monism  
Addition to the Revised Edition of 1918  
Revised Introduction to the Edition of 1894  


Editorial and Reference Notes  
Back Cover  
Inside Dust Jacket  

Last Modified: 02-Nov-2023
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