Keep Posted!

Subscribe to our newsletters to find out about new books, special offers, events & more!

Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path

A Philosophy of Freedom (CW 4)

Rudolf Steiner Translated by Michael Lipson Introduction by Gertrude Reif Hughes

304 pp.  
5 1/4" x 8"



Published:  April 1995


Written work, 1894 (CW 4)

  • "Rudolf Steiner designed all his books to discourage passive collecting of information and to encourage instead conscious pondering and questioning, particularly of hitherto unexamined notions. Like Steiner’s other writings, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path offers a mode of inquiry rather than a set of creeds, pieties, or doctrines. His style makes us practice a more active thinking so that we can become aware of its power, vitality, and essentially spiritual nature. His work stimulates our soul’s own activity, stirring our latent powers and strengthening them so that we may eventually become able to think his insights ourselves." —Gertrude Reif Hughes

Of all his works, Intuitive Thinking as a Spiritual Path is the one that Steiner himself believed would have the longest life and the greatest spiritual and cultural consequences. It was written as a phenomenological account of the “results of observing the human soul according to the methods of natural science.

This seminal work asserts that free spiritual activity—understood as the human ability to think and act independently of physical nature—is the suitable path for human beings today to gain true knowledge of themselves and of the universe. This is not merely a philosophical volume, but rather a warm, heart-oriented guide to the practice and experience of living thinking.

Readers will not find abstract philosophy here, but a step-by-step account of how a person may come to experience living, intuitive thinking—“the conscious experience of a purely spiritual content.”

During the past hundred years since it was written, many have tried to discover this “new thinking” that could help us understand the various spiritual, ecological, social, political, and philosophical issues facing us. But only Rudolf Steiner laid out a path that leads from ordinary thinking to the level of pure spiritual activity—intuitive thinking—in which we become co-creators and co-redeemers of the world.

  • “When, with the help of Steiner’s book, we recognize that thinking is an essentially spiritual activity, we discover that it can school us. In that sense—Steiner’s sense—thinking is a spiritual path” (Gertrude Reif Hughes).

This volume is arguably the most essential of Steiner’s works. The thoughts in this book establish the foundation for all of Anthroposophy.

  • Contents:

  • Translator’s Introduction
  • Introduction by Gertrude Reif Hughes
  • Preface to the Revised Edition, 1918
  • Part 1: Theory: The Knowledge of Freedom
  • Conscious Human Action
  • The Fundamental Urge for Knowledge
  • Thinking in the Service of Understanding the World
  • The World as Percept
  • Knowing the World
  • Human Individuality
  • Are There Limits to Cognition?
  • Part 2: Practice: The Reality of Freedom
  • The Factors of Life
  • The Idea of Freedom
  • Freedom—Philosophy and Monism
  • World Purpose and Life Purpose (Human Destiny)
  • Moral Imagination (Darwinism and Ethics)
  • The Value of Life (Pessimism and Optimism)
  • Individuality and Genus
  • Final Questions: The Consequences of Monism
  • Appendixes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

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. Other translations: The Philosophy of Freedom and The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. German edition: Die Philosophie der Freiheit

Related Titles

  • Anthroposophical Leading Thoughts : Anthroposophy as a Path of Knowledge: The Michael Mystery (CW 26)
  • The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity : (CW 4)
  • Rudolf Steiner on His Book "The Philosophy of Freedom"
  • How to Know Higher Worlds : A Modern Path of Initiation (CW 10)
  • The Ultimate Communion of Mankind : A Celebration of Rudolf Steiner's Book “The Philosophy of Freedom”
  • Anthroposophy (A Fragment) : A New Foundation for the Study of Human Nature (CW 45)
  • Anthroposophy and the Philosophy of Freedom : Anthroposophy and Its Method of Cognition
  • The Guardian of the Threshold and The Philosophy of Freedom : On the Relationship of The Philosophy of Freedom to The Fifth Gospel
  • The Language of the Consciousness Soul : A Guide to Rudolf Steiner’s “Leading Thoughts”
  • Freedom through Love : The Search for Meaning in Life: Rudolf Steiner's "Philosophy of Freedom"

    Related Titles by Subject:

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