American Philosophy and Rudolf Steiner: Emerson, Thoreau, by Robert McDermott

By Robert McDermott

"Few thinkers from outdoors the U.S. have touched American tradition in as some ways as Rudolf Steiner. Agriculture, schooling, spirituality, and medicine-or extra accurately, substitute practices in those fields-all undergo transparent marks of his effect, for people with eyes to work out. but the very breadth of Steiner's effect has probably made him tougher, now not more straightforward, for observers of yankee tradition to note. The phrases Waldorf schooling and biodynamic agriculture are extra widely known than Rudolf Steiner himself or Anthroposophy. Anthroposophic projects are as a rule understood in terms of parallel projects with various religious roots, instead of in terms of the wealthy textile of Steiner's worldview. americans usually think biodynamic agriculture as a extra extreme kind of organics and Waldorf faculties as "like Montessori faculties basically extra so." whilst I describe the Camphill circulate, such a lot interlocutors reply with "Is that just like the L'arche movement?" And millions of consumers at health and wellbeing meals cooperatives and entire meals supermarkets buy Weleda epidermis lotion, diaper cream, or homeopathic treatments with little experience of connection to Steiner's imaginative and prescient of spirit energetic within the world." -Dan McKanan (from the foreword) American Philosophy and Rudolf Steiner aspires to elevate Steiner's profile through digging into only one box of inquiry: philosophy. sooner than he grew to become recognized to the realm as a transmitter of clairvoyant knowledge, Steiner was once an instructional thinker, editor of the medical writings of Goethe and writer of a foundational paintings in philosophy, The Philosophy of Freedom: the root for a latest Worldview, released in 1894. That booklet expressed in philosophical phrases some of the rules that will later end up essential to the religious technological know-how of Anthroposophy. notwithstanding the authors conceal a variety of subject matters, such a lot percentage an elegiac tone. They see nice power for discussion among Rudolf Steiner and the nice American philosophers of the 19th and early 20th centuries. American philosophy can have taken a improper flip within the mid-twentieth century, while pragmatism gave solution to a practice of analytical philosophy that eschewed metaphysics as inherently meaningless and excited by the coherence or incoherence of linguistic buildings. still, many new websites of capability discussion exist among Steiner and American philosophy. 5 of the articles during this quantity have been written as a part of a seminar on Rudolf Steiner and American proposal as a part of a undertaking for the Renewal of Philosophy, technological know-how, and schooling subsidized by way of Laurance S. Rockefeller. the various contributions have been initially released in ReVision: A magazine of attention and Transformation (spring and summer time 1991).

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Extra resources for American Philosophy and Rudolf Steiner: Emerson, Thoreau, Peirce, James, Royce, Dewey, Whitehead, Feminism

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We consider ourselves justified in proceeding from our intimate experiences, our immediate life, and ascending from there to apprehension of the whole universe. We strive for certainty in knowledge, each of us in our own way… Today, no one should be compelled to understand. 13 Practitioner Consciousness: From True to Valid The 1894 preface articulates Steiner's expectations by speaking of truth as a spiritual capacity that sparks a further capacity in those who are ready to respond.

Here I will mention a few. I invite the reader to explore these—and the publisher to consider devoting a second volume of essays to their elucidation. Most noteworthy is the rise of a significant “neopragmatist” philosophical tradition. 5 Another cluster of recent American philosophers, drawing on European philosophies of practice, have revitalized the ancient Greek understanding of philosophy as a form of spiritual practice intended to transform the self of the practitioner. 6 The sharp ethical and political differences between Butler and MacIntyre suggest that there may be room in this dialogue for Steiner's equally distinctive understanding of the transformative power of spiritual exercises, especially as these are outlined in How to Know Higher Worlds.

Richard Tarnas, Frances Vaughan, Roger Walsh. I also invited Georg Locher, a distinguished teacher of Waldorf teachers, to lead the group in artistic exercises each afternoon. I served as facilitator. All thirteen participants read several books by Steiner and by American philosophers. The group took time on several occasions during the seminar to discuss and regret the first American attack on Iraq that took place during our week together. J. Except for Patrick Hill, who died in 2008, all thirteen participants are still working on behalf of the topics that brought us to Rye, NY in 1991.

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