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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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4 Ontological idealism in biology


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4  Ontological idealism in biology

4.1  Chemical explanation of life? Genes, genetic information and proteins

The objective ontological idealism put forward here does not lead to different facts – except when scientific attention is led to other aspects than primarily molecular ones, which is the case for the simplest morphological investigation – but to a different understanding of the same facts compared to conventional medical anthropology.

This applies particularly to genetics, which plays a central part in modern biology inasmuch as leading biologists and authors of textbooks still support the view established by Francis Crick (Crick, 1966) that the genes must contain all the information necessary for the life of a cell or organism, a view which, with the progressive decoding of genetic dependencies, has been extended to psychological, behavioural and social susceptibilities (Robinson et al., 2008). And because the bearer of this information, the DNA, is a chemical substance, Crick hoped for a “chemical explanation of life” (cited in: Commoner, 1968). But during the 20th century the focus of attention has gradually shifted from the genes to gene regulation. For its part, this has revealed that the genes are not simply the central controlling entity which it was hoped at the time, but that they are also subject to control which is dependent on information from outside the DNA, some of it from the environment. This has become evident especially through the rapidly evolving field of epigenetics since the 1990s (Holliday...

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