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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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2 Epistemology: Knowledge and truth


25 2 Epistemology: Knowledge and truth 2.1 The theory of knowledge or epistemology: knowledge of knowing In his first epistemological book, the “Grundlinien einer Erkenntnistheorie der Goetheschen Weltanschauung” from 1886 (“The Science of Knowing, Outline of an Epistemology Implicit in the Goethean World View”), follow- ing on from Goethe Steiner characterises the task of every science as follows (Steiner, 1988a, 18): It is ultimately true for all science what Goethe so aptly expressed with the words: ‘In and for itself, theory is worth nothing, except insofar as it makes us believe in the interconnections of phenomena.’ Through science we are always bringing separate facts of our experience into a connection with each other. In inorganic nature we see causes and effects as separate from each other, and we seek their connection in the appropriate sciences. In the organic world we perceive species and genera of organisms and try to determine their mutual relationships. In history we are confronted with the individual cultural epochs of humanity; we try to recognize the inner dependency of one stage of develop- ment upon the other. Thus each science has to work within a particular domain of phenomena in the sense of the Goethean principle articulated above. Each science has its own area in which it seeks the interconnections of phenomena. This points to the fact that scientific knowledge always requires two elements: first, empirically given perceptual phenomena and second, the theory, i.e. thoughts, ideas, concepts which are used to explain the interconnection of the...

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