FEELING a moral responsibility to convey, as far as possible
in any translation, the original meaning intended by the author, the
translator has used the word
wherever “Vorstellung” had
appeared. Thus it is distinguished from “Idee” even though
both these different words are frequently rendered as “idea”
in English. As Dr. H. Poppelbaum noted in his preface to the revised 1939
The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity,
“representation,” however clumsy it may seem at first glance,
“is justified, because the mental picture indeed stands for the
concept and represents it.”
The difficulty in translating the word “Vorstellung,” however,
is acknowledged and further emphasized by a more recent translator, Michael
Wilson. He, in his introduction to his translation of the same work re-titled,
The Philosophy of Freedom (1966), explains his use of the term
as being more accurate for English usage. Interested readers are referred
to these two translators for a full exposition of the problem.
Rudolf Steiner's original paragraphing, undoubtedly regarded at first as a
stumbling block by some readers, also has been retained in this translation.
This is because, carefully and deliberately arrived at by the author, it is
an essential part of the whole work, helping to express what was meant.