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Anthroposophy and Science

An Introduction

Peter Heusser

This book is the first thorough introduction into the scientific basis of anthroposophy and anthroposophical medicine in the context of academic science. On a sound epistemological basis and in the context of current debates it analyses basic concepts of physics, chemistry, genetics, morphogenesis, biology, neurobiology, psychology, and philosophy of mind, with an emphasis on the problems of life, mind-body interactions, and free will. The result is a non-reductionistic anthropology acknowledging the emergent properties of body, life, soul, and spirit as equally real entities. This concurs with the basic concepts of anthroposophy and anthroposophical medicine, the justification of which is discussed in relation to the history and methodology of science as well as evidence based medicine.

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Translator’s Note

Extract

German and English, like any pair of languages, do not have exact equiva- lents for a range of words, so in translation a solution has to be found to try to convey the author’s meaning. Sometimes this is because the two terms do not have the same scope, one being a broader term while its pos- sible translations are more specific and narrow. In this book, this applies particularly to the German words “Seele” and “Geist”. While the English “soul” and “spirit” may seem obvious equivalents, this is not quite true and is certainly not the case for all instances of their use. In addition, the adjectives “seelisch” and “geistig” cannot be rendered into English by any simple single term. In general, the German “Seele” has a much broader meaning than the Eng- lish “soul” and is used far more frequently, including in technical contexts. In translating it here, I have sometimes used simply “soul” as for the comparison “Leib-Seele-Verhältnis = relationship between the body and soul”, but refer- ences to “Seelenleben” have sometimes been rendered as “the emotional life” while for the “denkende Seele des Menschen” I have opted for the “thinking human mind” which sounds more acceptable than the “thinking soul”. In yet other instances “Seele” is better translated by “psyche”. The adjective “seelisch” designates the whole array of soul or conscious- ness functions, not merely emotions, and different solutions have been used in different contexts. While “Geist” has been translated as “spirit” in the majority of instances,...

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