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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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1 Introduction ..................................................................................... 17 1.1 Summary ...................................................................................24 2 Epistemology: Knowledge and truth .................................................. 25 2.1 The theory of knowledge or epistemology: knowledge of knowing ..............................................................25 2.2 Experience ................................................................................30 2.3 Thinking as a fact of experience ................................................36 2.4 Objective empirical knowledge .................................................41 2.5 Science and reality .....................................................................52 2.6 Objective ontological idealism .................................................56 2.7 Summary ...................................................................................60 3 Science and ontological idealism in physics and chemistry ................. 61 3.1 Empirical ontological idealism instead of reductionism .............61 3.2 Spirit in matter ..........................................................................78 3.3 Emergence, self-organisation and causality in physics, chemistry and biochemistry .......................................................80 3.4 Summary ...................................................................................96 4 Ontological idealism in biology ......................................................... 99 4.1 Chemical explanation of life? Genes, genetic information and proteins ..........................................................99 4.2 Gene regulation. From a static to a dynamic concept of the gene .................................................................105 4.3 Self-organisation and causality in biology and Goethe’s archetype ..................................................................109 4.4 Organism or mechanism? ........................................................115 4.5 Typus and morphogenesis .......................................................119 14 4.6 Organic versus inorganic cognition .........................................122 4.7 Morphogenetic fields or morphogenetic substances? ...............129 4.8 Causality and systems biology .................................................141 4.9 Biology beyond vitalism and mechanism ................................147 4.10 Reflections on the thermodynamics of organic processes .........150 4.11 Life versus death: physical and etheric organisation ................153 4.12 Summary .................................................................................161 5 Neurobiology, psychology and philosophy of mind: the reality of the soul and spirit ....................................................... 163 5.1 Neurobiology and the emergence of consciousness. Is the soul real? .......................................................................163 5.2 The problem of ontological monism and psychophysical causation ........................................................169 5.3 Consciousness versus life: organic and psychological activity ..............................................................172 5.4 The soul as a formative principle. The “astral” organisation .....177 5.5 Spirit versus soul: the...

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