Published on www.philosophyoffreedom.com (http://philosophyoffreedom.org)

Chapter 12 Philosophy of Freedom Steiner

Revised 05/15/2009
Copyright © Tom Last 2009

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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 [0]   reactive thinking perception  Chapter 11 [0]   ethical naturalism
 Chapter 03 [0]   reflective thinking 
thought  Chapter 12   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 12
Moral Imagination
(Darwinism and Ethics)


Evolution of Ethics: Moral imagination and the faculty of having moral ideas can become objects of knowledge only after they have been produced by the individual. We deal with them as with a natural history of moral ideas. However true it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly developed out of those of his ancestors, it is equally true that the individual is morally barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.

Question: Should we measure our ethics by the standard of past traditions or the social norm?

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[0]12.0 [0] Selection Of Ethical Idea
A free spirit acts according to his impulses, that is, according to intuitions selected from the totality of his world of ideas by thinking. For an unfree spirit, the reason why he singles out a particular intuition from his world of ideas in order to make it the basis of an action, lies in the world of percepts given to him, that is, in his past experiences.

12.1 [0] Concrete Mental Picture
Whenever the impulse for an action is present in a general conceptual form (for example, Thou shalt do good to thy fellow men! Thou shalt live so that thou best promotest thy welfare!) then for each particular case the concrete mental picture of the action must first be found.

12.2 [0] Moral Imagination
The human being produces concrete mental pictures from the sum of his ideas chiefly by means of the imagination. Therefore what the free spirit needs in order to realize his ideas, in order to be effective, is moral imagination.

12.3 [0] Moral Technique
Moral action, in addition to the faculty of having moral ideas (moral intuition) and moral imagination, is the ability to transform the world of percepts without violating the natural laws by which these are connected. This ability is moral technique. It can be learnt in the same sense in which any kind of knowledge can be learnt.

12.4 [0] History Of Moral Ideas
Moral imagination can become objects of knowledge only after they have been produced by the individual. We therefore deal with them as with a natural history of moral ideas.

12.5 [0] Normative Moral Laws
Some people have wanted to maintain the standard-setting (normative) character of moral laws. As a moral being, I am an individual and have laws of my very own.

12.6 [0] Traditional Moral Doctrines
But can we not then make the old a measure for the new? Is not every man compelled to measure the products of his moral imagination by the standard of traditional moral doctrines?

12.7 [0] Ancestral Moral Ideas
However true it is that the moral ideas of the individual have perceptibly developed out of those of his ancestors, it is equally true that the individual is morally barren unless he has moral ideas of his own.

12.8 [0] Supernatural Influence
Monism cannot admit that the moral nature of will is completely accounted for by being traced back to a continuous supernatural influence upon moral life. What happens to man, and in man, through this, becomes a moral element only when, in human experience, it becomes an individual's own.

12.9 [0] Characterization Of Action
The characterizing of an action, whether it is a free one, he must leave to the immediate observation of the action.

12.10 [0] Action Feels Free
If a human being finds that an action is the image of such an ideal intuition, then he feels it to be free. In this characteristic of an action lies its freedom.

12.11 [0]
Freedom To Determine Motives
To be free means to be able of one's own accord to determine by moral imagination those mental pictures (motives) which underlie the action. A free being is one who can want what he himself considers right.

12.12 [0] Submission To Others Motives
Not until they would enslave my spirit, drive my motives out of my head, and put their own motives in the place of mine, do they really aim at making me unfree.



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