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Philosophy course — 2016

a historical overview and reflections on the True, the Good, and the Beautiful

Term 4

Study: R. Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom

No previous study required - resumes on 7th of October

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download Term 4 brochure

Philosophy addresses some of the most important questions raised by humanity. Questions around knowledge, ethics, and aesthetics characterise this perennial quest. The course will focus on first providing an historical overview of the development of philosophy from the earliest of ancient Greek days through to our current times, through the work of one of the most important living philosopher: John Deely. His Four Ages of Understanding divides this period of development over four distinct phases.

Having grounded our work in an overview of this development, we’ll look at key philosophical figures through Rudolf Steiner’s Riddles of Philosophy, who similarly characterises philosophical historical development in a four-fold manner.

We will by then be in a better position to address, through Schiller’s Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man and Steiner’s Philosophy of Freedom, that eternal triune braid pertaining to the True, the Good, and the Beautiful: i.e., to questions relating to knowledge, to ethics, and to freedom.


The following texts will form the backbone materials from which the course shall unfold. Please note that participants do not need to have their own copies (except for R. Steiner's Philosophy of Freedom), though these are all highly recommended.

Terms 1 & 2: Overview of the historical development of philosophy.

    John Deely Four Ages of Understanding isbn 1442613017


Term 3: Key figures in philosophy’s development.

    Rudolf Steiner Riddles of Philosophy isbn 0880107111
    also available on Kindle
    and from the Steiner e.Lib (GA18)


Term 4: The True, the Good and the Beautiful.

    Friedrich von Schiller Letters on the Aesthetic Education of Man
    also available on Kindle
    and readily freely available in various pdf editions online

    Rudolf Steiner Philosophy of Freedom
    available in various editions and titles
    e.g.: Philosophy of Spiritual Activity
    and from the Steiner e.Lib (GA4)


Term Dates

Term 1

Friday 5th February
Friday 12th February
Friday 19th February
Friday 26th February

Friday 4th March
Friday 18th March

Term 2

Friday 15th April
Friday 29th April

Friday 6th May
Friday 13th May

Friday 3rd June
Friday 10th June

Term 3

Friday 22nd July
Friday 29th July

Friday 5th August
Friday 19th August
Friday 26th August

Friday 2nd September

Term 4

Friday 7th October
Friday 14th October
Friday 21st October

Friday 4th November
Friday 11th November
Friday 25th November

Friday 2nd December


Philosophy Online Course
⇑ Download a pdf flyer ⇑


Michael Centre
37A Wellington Park Drive

Dates and time

Fridays 7:00 pm - 9:30 pm
term dates as listed (subject to change)

please note that some sessions may need to be cancelled or rescheduled due to unforeseen circumstances. In most months during term time, the 4th Friday is left free. Please note the dates as listed to the left.


per term: $220 (conc. $78)
annual: $800
  (conc. $300 / couples $1100)

> payment options


Six sessions per term are scheduled, with an additional final session at the end of the course.

7:00—8:00 : presentation & discussion
8:00—8:30 : break & supper
8:30—9:30 : reflections & discussion

Handouts / Documents

> Term dates
> Introduction - Week 1

Philosophy of Freedom

Sessions 1-3:
Part A - Knowledge & Freedom

Sessions 4-5:
Part B - Reality of Freedom

Session 6:
Part C - Ultimate Questions

Session 7:
Schiller's Letters on Aesthetic Ed'n

About the course

What we will be thinking through and beholding are some of the major philosophical developments through the course of history. John Deely divides this historical development into four distinct phases, roughly coinciding with Steiner's own divisions. For Deely, these periods are reflected by the dominant form of language used: the Greek period; the Latin; that of national languages; arriving more recently at what transcends each of these through an awakening to semiotic consciousness.

There is no doubt that philosophy requires penetrating sustained effort in the activity of thinking. The course will therefore be unlikely to be considered 'easy' - though I would also suggest well within the scope and capacity of anyone able to read this paragraph. When we encounter new or different ways of thinking or of seeing the world, our very 'horizon' shifts, taking us beyond our temporary settled and secure framework. There is likely to be various times in which such a shift may feel uncomfortable, or at the very least somewhat baffling, as well as requiring a special effort on our part.

Neither Deely's nor Steiner's (nor Schiller's, for that matter) philosophical works are for the faint-hearted, yet they each provide solid substance upon which to sharpen our thinking whilst at the same time infusing it with warmth of heart.