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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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6 From anthropology to anthroposophy

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6  From anthropology to anthroposophy

6.1  The question of the reality and cognition of the spiritual

In Chapter 2 it was shown that the purely spiritual realm is known not only to philosophy and the other humanities but is something also familiar to science, i.e. in the laws of nature brought to light by thinking. And empirical reasons were given for claiming that this spirit is objective, both for inner intellectual contemplation and also due to the fact that outer nature objectively complies with the relevant natural laws. The natural law was not viewed merely as something abstract in the subject’s mind but as an actual component of reality itself. Further, it was argued that this reality must be an active one, otherwise the phenomena could not in fact be subject to its lawfulness. With reference to this and following classical and modern universal realism – and in particular, Goethe’s and Steiner’s view of cognition and reality – a case was made for empirical ontological idealism.

This view, however, is associated with a major problem. For science initially does not recognise an “active” spirit, but only the pure though abstract spirit of human thoughts. And because a nominalist interpretation leads to the general belief that this is merely subjective or even a product of the material brain which has nothing to do with the objective world, science usually makes no attempt to look for or recognise a “spiritual” element in nature, the...

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