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The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception

Rudolf Steiner Archive & e.Lib Document

Sketch of Rudolf Steiner lecturing at the East-West Conference in Vienna.

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The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception

On-line since: 30th November, 2012


  1. Cf. Jessen: Botanik, der Gegenwart und Vorzeit, p. 459.

  2. Ibid., p. 343.

  3. Ibid., p. 332.

  4. Johannes Volkelt: Immanuel Kants Erkenntnistheorie. Leipzig, 1879.

  5. Johannes Volkelt: Erfahrung und Denken. Kritische Grundlegung der Erkenntnistheorie. Hamburg and Leipzig, 1886.

  6. Kants Erkenntnistheorie, p. 168 f.

  7. Cf. Volkelt: Erfahrung und Denken, p. 4.

  8. Cf. Goethe: Dichtung und Wahrheit. XXII. 24 f.

  9. J. H. von Kirchmann says, indeed, in his Lehre vom Wissen that cognition is the flowing of the external world into our consciousness.

  10. Conceived as a spiritual capacity of man.

  11. It is interesting that Goethe wrote a second paper in which he pursued further the thoughts of that one in regard to the experiment. We can reconstruct the paper from Schiller's letter of January 19, 1798. Goethe there divided the methods of science into general empiricism, which limits itself to the external phenomena, that which is given to the senses; rationalism, which constructs systems of thought on the bases of insufficient observation, and which, therefore, instead of grouping facts according to their essential nature, first cleverly devises the interconnections artificially and then out of this connection introduces something fantastic into the factual world; and finally rational empiricism, which does not limit itself to general experience, but creates conditions under which experience discloses its essential nature.

  12. “Haeckel: Die Naturanschauung von Darwin, Lamark, und Haeckel. 1882, p. 53.

  13. Omitted from the new edition.

  14. (See Notes to the New Edition, 1924, page 119)

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