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The Rudolf Steiner Archive

a project of Steiner Online Library, a public charity

A Theory of Knowledge
GA 2

This book first appeared in 1886. In it, Steiner approaches the epistemological question, “How Does One Know?” His point of departure is the more-or-less unexpressed epistemology of Goethe in his scientific writings and elsewhere. This is a good introduction to Goethe's methodology.

This First English Edition was designed by Peter Döblin, and translated by Olin D. Wannamaker.

A. Preliminary Questions

  1. The Point of Departure
  2. Goethe's Science Considered According to the Method of Schiller
  3. The Function of This Branch of Science

B. Experience

  1. Definition of the Concept of Experience
  2. Examination of the Content of Experience
  3. Correction of an Erroneous Conception of Experience As a Totality
  4. Reference to the Experience of the Individual Reader

C. Thought

  1. Thinking as a Higher Experience within Experience
  2. Thought and Consciousness
  3. The Inner Nature of Thought

D. Knowledge

  1. Thought and Perception
  2. Intellect and Reason
  3. The Act of Cognition
  4. Cognition and the Ultimate Foundation of Things

E. The Science of Nature

  1. Inorganic Nature
  2. Organic Nature

F. The Spiritual, or Cultural, Sciences

  1. Introduction: Spirit and Nature
  2. Psychological Cognition
  3. Human Freedom
  4. Optimism and Pessimism

G. Conclusion

  1. Scientific Knowledge and Artistic Creation