Capacity for Moral Intuition

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Philosophy of Freedom
Chapter 9 The Idea Of Freedom


[24] Among the levels of characterological disposition, we have singled out as the highest the one that works as pure thinking or practical reason. Among the motives, we have just singled out conceptual intuition as the highest. On closer inspection it will at once be seen that at this level of morality driving force and motive coincide; that is, neither a predetermined characterological disposition nor the external authority of an accepted moral principle influences our conduct. The action is therefore neither a stereotyped one which merely follows certain rules, nor is it one which we automatically perform in response to an external impulse, but it is an action determined purely and simply by its own ideal content.
[25] Such an action presupposes the capacity for moral intuitions. Whoever lacks the capacity to experience for himself the particular moral principle for each single situation, will never achieve truly individual willing.
[26] Kant's principle of morality -- Act so that the basis of your action may be valid for all men -- is the exact opposite of ours. His principle means death to all individual impulses of action. For me, the standard can never be the way all men would act, but rather what, for me, is to be done in each individual case.