I have read that Rudolf Steiner wanted his book, which we here are calling The Philosophy of Freedom (PoF), to actually be rendered in English as: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity (PoSA). Apparently the German word Freiheit, as in "Die Philosophie der Freiheit" does not translate easily into English. I recall someone saying a more accurate rendering would be "Freehood", not Freedom.
My own view is that each of us has a mind, and that if we practice the seeking after "some results of introspection following the methods of natural science", we will then learn through experience why Steiner wanted the English to be: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity. Many people pay a lot of attention to the book, which I have often described as a map, but not the territory. I once gave my own title, as: "The Philosophy of Free Becoming".
While I cannot find a quote for this, my recollection is that Steiner says somewhere that the use of the word "freedom" in his philosophical works does not refer to political or physical freedom, but rather to some kind of "inner" condition of spirit and soul. This fits with my own experience of the territory, as distinct from the map.
While practicing "introspection" (soul observation), I discovered certain "situations" within. We might call these "situations" limits or walls or difficulties, and in each case observe that my "I" or spirit begins its examination of it inner world "situation" in a condition of unfreedom. The early question in PoF, or rather PoSA, is whether we can want what we want. Are we bound up by our desires and in relationship to our fundamental psychological situation determined by inner constraints over which we have no control.
As an addict in recovery I have very specific direct experiences of the way in which certain "desires" can dominate ones consciousness and "chain" us to certain patterns of behavior. At the same time, we have many such inner compulsions, many of which are not as coarse or obvious as an addiction. Let us call these "bad habits".
In my own biography, a great deal was discovered by learning to understand in practice, not PoSA, but rather the Sermon on the Mount, particular the part which begins: "judge not lest ye be judged". While it can help to understand, in a kind of technical way, the difference between a mental picture, a generalized concept, a pure concept and an idea, it was those "boxes" in which I put people - i.e. when I "judged" them - that were the most formidable.
Suppose someone in my family likes to play word pranks on people, tricking them and for himself getting a kind of selfish joy from the pain and discomfort he causes. Inwardly I don't "like" this person. In fact, as I move through life there will be all manner of people I don't "like" for various reasons, such as perhaps a neighbor who is a member of the Tea Party and follows their ideological thinking about how bad "liberals" are as people.
Maybe I have a boss who is abusive or over-controlling. If I am introspective I will notice a whole world of such antipathetic and sympathetic "feeling"-judgments floating around in my mind. The "feelings" which drive these mental picture judgments will be semi-conscious; that is, I will not have intended them to arise in my mind. My reactive feelings will have caused them.
Am I free before these semiconscious feeling judgments?
I can also have favorite thoughts or concepts. Maybe my point of view about the meaning of sex in my relationship with my girlfriend unfolds within a whole "complex of concepts" (which Steiner in A Theory of Knowledge Implicit in Goethe's World Conception calls an "idea" - a complex of concepts is an "idea"). I like this "idea" I have about sex with my girlfriend, which "idea" arose in my consciousness over the course of my biography, mostly out of ignorance about women, paying too much attention to the thoughts of other boys growing up, and so forth. I did not create this "complex of concepts" intentionally - it just sort of grew there.
All the same I like it, in part finding the inner picture I have of myself as a good lover very pleasing.
Because of the accidental (not intentional) creation of this idea or complex of concepts, and its pleasing nature to my own ego, I am "attached" to this set of concepts.
Am I free before a complex of concepts to which I am "attached"?
The last sentence of the Preface to PoSA is: "One must be able to confront an idea and experience it, otherwise one will fall into its bondage".
Many years of empirical and scientific introspection of my own inwardness (soul, spirit, mind) have shown me that it is possible to consciously create the totality of concepts within the mind, to master the semiconscious "feeling" life that drives antipathy and sympathy, to find out how to not be in bondage to any idea, even those most personal to my own ego-ness.
Because the thinking that develops through such practices results in the awakening of the will-in-thinking, which can be called: the "intention" and the "attention", I have learned how to move in the world of pure concepts and ideas in much the same way one might travel in a geographical environment, like a system of mountains, valleys, forests and water courses.
This inner environment Steiner called in Occult Science the spiritual world experienced as a thought-world. It is this waking up that is to me the reason Steiner wanted his book to be called: The Philosophy of Spiritual Activity, because an awake thinking moves in the spiritual world, knowing it as a thought-world.
For details, see my: Living Thinking in Action http://ipwebdev.com/hermit/liveT.html