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Peter Staudenmaier

The following is a collection of my favorite quotes from Peter Staudenmaier. All are from public email lists, and most are from the Anthropsophy Tomorrow Yahoo Group.

On Objectivity

"I am very critical of the academic realm and the stultifying conception of objectivity that is so often associated with it."
February 22nd, 2004

"If you're saying that objectivity is the opposite of bias and that bias is a bad thing for a historian to have, then I disagree with you. Bias is often a very good thing for a historian to have."
March 6th, 2004

"There is nothing wrong with having a bias..."
March 4th, 2004

"There is nothing wrong with biases."
March 6th, 2004

"Why are you looking for a comprehensive picture of anything in articles written for a popular audience?"
March 7th, 2004

"My articles on anthroposophy are indeed polemical"
May 2001

"Much of what I write on anthroposophy is a mixture of scholarship and polemic, addressed to a non-specialist audience. It is not a neutral reflection on the pros and cons of Steiner's various doctrines."
February 22nd, 2004

"My published work on anthroposophy is not objective in the sense I think you mean, and no competent reader could mistake it for such..."
February 22nd, 2004

"It is often a good idea to *attempt* a more objective understanding of a given phenomenon; that is one of the senses of objectivity that I endorse, as sort of heuristic device. But I think that people who believe they have *achieved* a purely objective conception of what Steiner "really meant" are fooling themselves. "
March 6th, 2004

"I think this argument [understanding the Anthroposophical worldview on it's own terms] depends on an indefensible notion of proper 'understanding'."
March 4th, 2004

On His Relationship to Rudolf Steiner

"Steiner was not a war criminal, a Nazi ideologue, or an Ariosophist."
February 23rd, 2004

"I do not think that I have anything close to a perfect view of anthroposophy."
March 4th, 2004

Asked to consider describing the content of a Steiner lecture cycle in such a way that nobody, not even Steiner himself, could accuse him of not fully understanding it as the author intended, while at the same time not taking any position about the contents, Peter Staudenmaier replied:
"That would be an abdication of responsibility"
March 4th, 2004

"Unless you have personal access to an author, it is frequently a mistake to think that you know what their intended meaning was."
February 25th, 2004

"Our job is to examine what [Steiner] wrote and said, not speculate about what he intended."
March 6th, 2004

"Since Steiner is dead, his intentions are no longer accessible to us."
March 6th, 2004

"I think this argument [understanding the Anthroposophical worldview on it's own terms] depends on an indefensible notion of proper 'understanding'."
March 4th, 2004

"I do not ignore the stuff in Steiner that I don't like..."
March 4th, 2004

"Yes, I wish to claim that I am striving for an honest understanding of Steiner and Anthroposophy. I'm also striving for an accurate and meaningful understanding of Steiner and anthroposophy. I'm also striving for a critical understanding of Steiner and anthroposophy. And so forth."
March 6th, 2004

"...what seems important to me is not whether Steiner was racist as a person, but whether his teachings contain important racist elements. But I do, as it happens, think it legitimate to describe Steiner as a racist."
February 22nd, 2004

"It is entirely backwards, in my view, to first decide what you think 'Steiner's main points' were, and then slot his specific statements about race into that pre-fabricated construct. "
March 6th, 2004

"Rudolf Steiner was certainly not a Nazi..."
February 22nd, 2004

On Selective Quotation

"Selective quotation is only a bad idea when others do not have access to the original."
March 4th, 2004

"Once again: the distorting kind of selectivity is only a problem when others do not have access to the original."
March 6th, 2004

"Misquoting somebody generally means to quote them inaccurately, that is, to attribute to them words that they did not say or write."
March 6th, 2004

"I didn't misquote you."
March 5th, 2004

"I don't work by implication."
March 6th, 2004

On Anti-Semitism

"I do not know of any anthroposophists who actively took part in the genocide of European Jewry. Steiner's own views on Jews were very different from those of the architects of the holocaust."
March 2nd, 2004

"The label "anti-Semite" can indeed be stigmatizing when it is accurate. When it is inaccurate, no, I don't think it has a stigmatizing effect."
March 6th, 2004

"I do not believe that antisemitism is the consequence of pro-assimilationism."
February 23rd, 2004

Other Topics

"I think what you and I really disagree about on this score is what counts as comprehensive and thorough."
March 10th, 2004

"I think perhaps we disagree about what counts as respectful discourse."
March 5th, 2004

"I do not think that I have anything close to a perfect view of anthroposophy."
March 4th, 2004

Accused of projecting a posture of neutrality in his articles:
"That's ridiculous. All of my articles make abundantly clear that I am a critic of anthroposophy."
March 7th, 2004

"I don't think it's possible to read a text without making at least some assumptions about it."
February 25th, 2004

"...there is no doubt that any interpretation of a complex body of ideas is bound to be affected by the life experience of the interpreter."
February 22nd, 2004

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