Rudolf Steiner (February 25, 1861 - March 30, 1925) was an Austrian philosopher, literary scholar, architect, playwright, educator, social thinker and esotericist. He was born in Kraljevica, Croatia, then part of the Austrian Empire. He is the founder of anthroposophy, a movement based on the notion that there is a spiritual world accessible to pure thought through a path of self-development, and many of its practical applications, including Waldorf education, biodynamic agriculture, anthroposophical medicine, and new artistic impulses, especially eurythmy.
Steiner advocated a form of ethical individualism, to which he later brought a more explicitly spiritual component. In his epistemological works, he advocated the Goethean view that thinking itself is a perceptive instrument for ideas, just as the eye is a perceptive instrument for light.