Steiner’s Philosophy and Its Educational Relevance

  • Bo Dahlin
Part of the SpringerBriefs in Education book series (BRIEFSEDUCAT)


Apart from Steiner’s explicit talks and texts on education, his philosophical works are also relevant, since they deal with epistemology, ethics, and philosophical anthropology. Steiner’s views in each of these fields are described and related to other philosophical perspectives. For instance, Steiner’s epistemology has a phenomenological character, and results in a participatory view of knowledge, anticipating the present critique of representationalism. Genuine knowledge, based on living thinking, is constituted in an active relation between the self and the world. The potential freedom inherent in human thinking is the link between knowledge and action; i.e. ethics. Steiner’s ethical individualism is based on love and freedom, expecting each person to live according to the moral ideals that they intuit in their thinking and strives to realise in their lives. Steiner’s ‘philosophy of the human being’ (Philosophie der Menschheit) proposes a synthesis—or at least a collaboration—between empirical studies of human nature (physiology, psychology etc.) and the spiritual insights gained through contemplative methods of research. The knowledge produced by these two approaches is not contradictory; it is like a developed photograph and its negative. The educational significance of these different fields of knowledge is pointed out.


Knowledge as non-representational Ethical individualism Freedom Living thinking 


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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Karlstad UniversityKarlstadSweden

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