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The Philosophy of Freedom

The Basis for a Modern World Conception (CW 4)

Rudolf Steiner Translated by Michael Wilson

264 pp.  
5 1/2" x 8 1/2"

Rudolf Steiner Press


Published:  October 2011





Written work, 1894 (CW 4)

Are we free, whether we know it or not?
Is any notion of individual freedom merely an illusion?

Steiner tackles these age-old questions in a new and unique way. He shows that, by considering our own activity of thinking, we can realize the reasons for everything we do. And if these reasons are taken from the realm of our ideals, our actions are free, because only we determine them.

The question of freedom cannot be settled by philosophical argument. Nor is it simply granted to us. If we want to be free, we must work through our own inner activity to overcome unconscious urges and habitual thinking. To accomplish this, we must reach a point of view that recognizes no limits to knowledge, sees through all illusions, and opens the door to an experience of the reality of the spiritual world. Then we can achieve the highest level of evolution—we will recognize ourselves as free spirits.

Given his energetic involvement in practical initiatives and extensive lecturing, Steiner had little time to write books. Of those he did write, four titles form an indispensable introduction to his later teaching: The Philosophy of Freedom (CW 4); Theosophy (CW 9); Knowledge of the Higher Worlds (CW 10); and Occult Science: An Outline (CW 13).



Introduction by Michael Wilson
Author's Prefaces
Knowledge of Freedom
  1. Conscious Human Action
  2. The Fundamental Desire for Knowledge
  3. Thinking in the Service of Knowledge
  4. The World as Percept
  5. The Act of Knowing
  6. Human Individuality
  7. Are there Limits to Knowledge?
The Reality of Freedom
  1. The Factors of Life
  2. The Idea of freedom
  3. Freedom-Philosophy and Monism
  4. World Purpose and Life Purpose (The Ordering of Man's Destiny)
  5. Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Morality)
  6. The Value of Life (Optimism and Pessimism)
  7. Individuality and Genus
Ultimate Questions
  1. The Consequences of Monism

The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity is a translation from German of Die Philosophie der Freiheit (GA 4). First German edition, Berlin, 1894; second German edition, revised and enlarged by the author, Berlin, 1918; latest, 12th German edition, Dornach, 1962.

Related Titles

  • Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts : Anthroposophy as a Path of Knowledge: The Michael Mystery (CW 26)
  • The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity : (CW 4)
  • Truth and Knowledge : Introduction to the Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (CW 3)
  • Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom"
  • Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path : A Philosophy of Freedom (CW 4)
  • Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom : Anthroposophy and Its Method of Cognition
  • The Language of the Consciousness Soul : A Guide to Rudolf Steiner’s “Leading Thoughts”

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Anthroposophy ; Anthroposophy: Foundation Books by Rudolf Steiner and Anthroposophy: General