Truth and meaning: what is their relation? Shall ever the twain be one? This dissertation attempts to show how the ascendancy of a particular method of inquiry since the seventeenth century has forfeit meaning in the pursuit of truth. At the same time, the insights into meaning that postmodern philosophy has conferred have been won through the sacrifice of truth. Drawing on the work of J. W. von Goethe (1749–1832), Owen Barfield (1898–1997), and Rudolf Steiner (1861–1925), the following is my attempt to reconcile this disjunction between truth and meaning that has come to characterize the present age. Specifically, I hope to show that Goethe’s way of knowledge, as perfected by Steiner and as contextualized in the evolution of consciousness by Barfield, manages to integrate the two poles indicated above without sacrificing the objectivity of the former or the subjectivity of the latter.
This text was originally presented as a doctoral dissertation to the faculty of the California Institute of Integral Studies in San Francisco, CA. The defense took place on June 2, 2020. A video recording of the proceedings is available here.
Includes appendices and original translations of Dr Steiner’s 52 Calendar of the Soul verses.