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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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8 Anthroposophical spiritual science and natural scientific medicine

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271 8 Anthroposophical spiritual science and natural scientific medicine 8.1 The fourfold image of man as a basis for medical anthropology, nosology and therapy Although Steiner was asked for advice on personal matters including health by private individuals early on in his spiritual scientific work after the turn of the century, and also gave advice on medical matters from a spiritual scientific point of view to individual doctors and therapists, the beginning of anthropo- sophical medicine is rightly dated to 1920 (van Deventer, 1992; Zander, 2007, Vol. 2, 1455ff.) when, at the request of interested pharmacists and doctors, Steiner began to hold lecture cycles for experts on spiritual scientific aspects of medicine (Steiner, 1948). These lectures were continued up to 1924 (Steiner, 1991; Steiner, 1951b; Steiner, 1983b; Steiner, 1994b; Steiner, 2014; Steiner, 1987; Steiner, 1994a). Most were taken down in shorthand and are now available in the form of books as part of Steiner’s complete works. In 1921 the first therapeutic clinical institutes were set up in Arlesheim near Basel in Switzerland and in Stuttgart (van Deventer, 1992) and, as a direct result, the first laboratories for manufacturing medicines were established, forming the basis for the company Weleda (Kugler, 1997). At the turn of the year from 1923/24, the Medical Section was set up as part of the newly established Free School of Spiritual Science at the Goetheanum in Dornach (Switzerland) headed by Ita Wegman (1876–1943), the Dutch doctor trained in Switzerland who was the founder of the first...

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