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Chapter 4 Philosophy of Freedom Steiner

Revised 07/01/2010
Copyright © Tom Last 2009-10

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Chapter 07 [0]   reality-based thinking
self  Chapter 08 [0]   ethics of self-knowledge  
 Chapter 06 [0]   independent thinking  
 mental picture 
 Chapter 09 [0]   ethical individualism
 Chapter 05 [0]   critical thinking concept  Chapter 10 [0]   ethics of authority
 Chapter 04   reactive thinking perception  Chapter 11 [0]   ethical naturalism
 Chapter 03 [0]   reflective thinking 
thought  Chapter 12 [0]   ethical norms
 Chapter 02 [0]   one-sided thinking desire  Chapter 13 [0]   ethics of self-gratification 
 Chapter 01 [0]   compelled thinking will  Chapter 14 [0]   group ethics

The Philosophy of Freedom

Chapter 4
The World As Perception

Reflective Thinking: When we see a tree, our thinking reacts to our observation; a conceptual element comes to the object, and we consider the object and the conceptual counterpart as belonging together. When the object disappears from our field of observation, there remains behind only its conceptual counterpart. This is the concept of the object. (4.0)

Question: Is the whole perceived world only a picture called up in my mind?

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Perception Process

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[0]4.0 [0] Reactive Thinking
When we see a tree, our thinking reacts to our observation; a conceptual element comes to the object, and we consider the object and the conceptual counterpart as belonging together. Concepts are added to observation.

4.1 [0] Conceptual Search
I first search for the concept that fits my observation. Someone who does not reflect further, observes, and is content to leave it at that. I can never gain the concept by mere observation, no matter how many cases I may observe.

4.2 [0] Conceptual Reference
When I as thinking subject, refer a concept to an object, we must not regard this reference as something purely subjective. It is not the subject that makes the reference, but thinking.

4.3 [0] Conceptual Relationship
Thinking is able to draw threads from one element of observation to another. It connects specific concepts with these elements and in this way brings them into a relationship with each other.

4.4 [0] Correction Of My Picture Of World
Every broadening of the circle of my perceptions compels me to correct the picture I have of the world. We see this in everyday life, as well as in the intellectual development of humankind.

4.5 [0] Mathematical And Qualitative Picture
I should like to call the dependence of my perception-picture on my place of observation, "mathematical", and its dependence on my organization, "qualitative." The first determines the proportions of size and mutual distances of my perceptions, the second their quality. That I see a red surface as red --this qualitative determination-- depends on the organization of my eye. 
4.6 [0] Subjective Perception-Picture
The recognition of the subjective character of our perceptions can easily lead to doubt whether anything objective underlies them at all. From this point of view, nothing is left of the perception when we take away the act of perceiving.

4.7 [0] Mental Picture: After-effect Of Observation
When the tree disappears from my field of vision, an after-effect of this process remains in my consciousness: a picture of the tree. This element I call my mental picture, my representation of the tree.

4.8 [0] Mental Picture: My Representation Of The World
The Kantian view limits our knowledge of the world to our mental pictures, not because it is convinced that nothing can exist beyond these mental pictures, but rather it believes us to be so organized that we can only experience the change in our own Self, not the thing-in-itself that causes this change. We do not have direct experience of an independent reality, but only our world of mental pictures

4.9 [0] Mental Picture: What My Organization Transmits
Physics, Physiology, and Psychology seem to teach that our organization is necessary for our perceptions, and that, consequently, we can know nothing except what our organization transmits to us from the things.

4.10 [0] Perceived World Is A Projection Of Soul Qualities
All of the qualities that we perceive in the world are the product of the soul and transferred to the external world. The color is only produced in the soul by means of the brain process. But here I am still not conscious of it; the soul must first transfer the color outward onto a body in the external world. There, on this body, I finally believe I perceive it.

4.11 [0]
External Perception Is Mental Picture
Can I say that the perception acts on my soul? I must from now on treat the table, --which I used to believe had an effect on me and produced a mental picture of itself in me-- as being itself a mental picture. The perception does not have an objective continued existence. It is only a modified representation of my own psychological condition. If everything is a mental picture then they could have no effect on each other.

4.12 [0] Objective Existence Of Organism
One's own organism has objective existence. Only my real eye and my real hand could have the mental pictures "sun" and "earth" as their modifications; my mental pictures "eye" and "hand" could not have these mental pictures as modifications.

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