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The Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception

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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


This volume is a translation of the treatise Grundlinien einer Erkenntnistheorie der Goetheschen Weltanschauung, published in 1886. This was originally prepared by Rudolf Steiner as a supplement to Goethes naturwissenschaftliche Schriften, as edited by him, with ample introductory and interpretive notes, for Kürschner's collective work Deutsche National-Literatur. The English version is rendered from the second edition, of 1924, and includes the prefatory and supplementary comments of that edition.


A few comments on the translator's usage may be called for.

Wissenschaft has been translated knowledge, scientific knowledge, or science according to the apparent requirement of the context. Erkennen has generally been translatedcognition, but in one or more passages the act of cognition, and, where it seemed necessary, knowledge. Erkenntnis has been translated knowledge, where this seemed adequate, but in one or more instances, for greater exactitude, item of knowledge.

Denken has seemed to the translator generally no more verbal in character than thought, when this appears in English without the definite or indefinite article. On the other hand, thinking seems at times to suggest rather the effort to apprehend than the achievement of apprehension — the search for right concepts rather than the attainment of right concepts. Hence Denken has most frequently been translated thought, though also rather frequently thinking.

Wahrnehmung is translated either perception or percept, according as the context seemed to require the sense the act of perceiving or the perceived.

Ideahas been printed with initial capital letter in a few instances where the context seemed to emphasize the sense of objective reality in its usage.

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