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The Observation of Thinking

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Documentation | Documentatie | Documentation

Flyer: Deutsch | Nederlands | English

Booklet (German): Forschungsvorhaben zur Beobachtung des Denkens.

Paper (German): Wie demonstriert man die Veranlagung zum Schauen? Steiners Wunsch nach einem psychologischen Labor im Kontext der zeitgenössischen introspektiven Psychologie. (21.11.2016)


Earlier Works (Merijn Fagard):

Hartmut Traubs Kritik an Steiners Spinozainterpretation. (Rudolf Steiner und Baruch de Spinoza. Teil 1.) 2012. (German)

Praktische Einführung in die Beobachtung des Denkens. 2010. (German)

Das Denken als Quelle der menschlichen Freiheit. Eine empirische Studie des intuitiven Denkens. 2009. (German)

Van de goede wil naar de vrije wil. Het verband tussen kennis en vrijheid in de filosofie van Rudolf Steiner. 2007. (Dutch)



The Observation of Thinking as a research area of introspective science.
Help us to investigate thinking processes by means of the introspective method

Keywords: anthroposophy, psychology, self-observation, observation of thinking, introspection

By means of the method of self-observation (introspection) we want to investigate concrete thinking processes and everything what is connected to those, the whole area in our consciousness which revolves around thinking.

What is this project all about?

By means of the method of self-observation we want to investigate concrete thinking processes and everything what is connected to those, the whole area in our consciousness which revolves around thinking. This method of self-observation (introspection) was used by Steiner in his early writings and by psychologists who were working in his time, and is used again by contemporary psychologists (for example dialogical introspection and Claire Petitmengin) to investigate thinking and other inner phenomena. The goal is to research human consciousness with psychological means. This way of investigating human consciousness, like Michael Muschalle shows in his publications, is exactly what Steiner envisaged, however during his life it was not possible for Steiner to investigate this field in a detailed way by means of the introspective method. In the contemporary anthroposophic research community, this project has not been sufficiently addressed. We are dealing here with the foundations of anthroposophy and therefore this project is crucially important to ensure strong foundations for this young science, and to ensure that anthroposophy gains sufficient self-understanding. But it is also important for the science of psychology to renew its investigation of psychological phenomena by means of an empiric, qualitative method, which is exactly what the introspective method provides. By means of this project we want to make sure and steady progress. Investigating the whole area of thinking – and we have a very broad conception of this area – in a single project is definitely not manageable. We have formulated a set of very concrete questions, in line with where and how contemporary psychology and anthroposophy are positioned in terms of research nowadays. Proceeding in this way, we want to make a concrete beginning and show other researchers that such a project is highly useful and necessary. We are dealing here with an area that has been barely researched, a new ‘continent’: the reality of inner, psychological phenomena which is ready and waiting to be investigated with empirical means.

As a basis for this kind of research, the following scientists and authors are especially relevant: Franz Brentano, Johannes Volkelt, Rudolf Steiner, Johannes Walter Stein, Oswald Külpe, Karl Bühler, Wilhelm Dilthey, August Messer, Narziß Ach, Paul Ziche, Werner Moser, Jost Schieren, Renatus Ziegler, Gerhard Kleining, Thomas Burkard, Claire Petitmengin and others.

What is the project goal and who is the project for?


Intended Audience

  • If you are interested in theory of knowledge and philosophy of freedom, and in methodological questions about Steiner’s work and anthroposophy, will find interesting research possibilities and results here.
  • In order to gain a better understanding of thinking, as a concrete process, something we all know and execute on a daily basis; a better understanding of our own consciousness in general.

Why would you support this project?

  • In order to gain a better understanding of the foundations of anthroposophy. The whole field which is positioned between psychology of thinking and anthroposophically orientated spiritual science is embarked upon here (see: GA 21, About the Riddles of the Human Soul).
  • In order to gain a better understanding of the anthroposophic path of spiritual schooling, which builds on the foundation of the scientific, modern thinking we are all familiar with nowadays.
  • Steiner’s theory of knowledge and philosophy of freedom presents itself as the foundation of anthroposophy. In retrospect, Steiner often stated that his work was left unfinished (letter to Rosa Meyreder, remarks in About the Riddles of the Human Soul). We want to contribute to the further completion of this work.
  • In order to understand how Rudolf Steiner achieved his research results by means of spiritual science. The prior condition for understanding how Steiner made his discoveries, is to become aware of the methods he employed and the difficulties linked to these. The methods were: approaching fundamental texts on a solid scientific basis, the method of self-observation (introspection) and the anthroposophical path of spiritual schooling.
  • By proceeding in this manner, to gain additional grounds for justifying further research paths taken by anthroposophy. Generally speaking: knowledge theory, as a special development of scientific theory, presents itself as the means to justify all other branches of science, because findings in all other branches of science are made by means of knowledge. If the foundations of the knowledge process are unclear, then individual scientists are totally ignorant about their own, most basic methods.

How will we use the money if the project is successfully funded? 

In our case, the proceeds from crowdfunding will be used to release Merijn Fagard from the need to provide an income for the period of one year, so he can dedicate himself to investigating questions about the observation of thinking and, practically, can set up a range of psychological experiments with test subjects. Another part of the proceeds – the smaller amount – will go to creating ‘thank-you-packages’ for supporters of the project, insofar that books need to be bought and shipping costs arise.

Who are the people behind the project?

  • Merijn Fagard, philosopher, carpenter, interior decorator

    Abbildung: Merijn Fagard

    Merijn Fagard (°1982) studied philosophy and history, and obtained his Master Degree with a thesis entitled “From the Good Will to the Free Will. The Connection between Knowledge and Freedom in the Philosophy of Rudolf Steiner”. He elaborated on this thesis with further research projects. He lives in Sint-Pieters-Rode, near Leuven (Belgium) and works freelance as a carpenter for interior decorating.

  • Wilhelm Humerez, remedial therapist

    Abbildung: Wilhelm Humérez

    In live to the south of Stuttgart and work as a remedial therapist in an institution for adult people with disabilities. I’m interested in psychology, theory of knowledge, theory of science, philosophy and technology.

  • The ‘thank-you-packages’ (pictures, postcards) are sponsored in part by Sophia Humérez.

  • The English translations were done by Stijn Van Tongerloo.

Further information and a short biography can be found here.


This project has been supported by:

Startnext Donations
Fonds Piantro
en other people & organisations.


You can support us through:

IBAN: DE38430609674011019101, BIC: GENODEM1GLS, Account holder: Wilhelm Humérez, Message: Denkbeobachtung + your email address or telephone number.




Vielen Dank!

Thank You!