Leonard Nelson

Leonard Nelson * 11. July 1882 in Berlin; † 29. October 1927 in Goettingen, German philosopher with main points of work logic and ethics.

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Nelson originated from largecivil family; among its ancestors Moses Mendelssohn and Peter Lejeune Dirichlet ranked. It studied in Heidelberg, Berlin and Goettingen, where it could attain a doctorate also to 1904. Its Habilitation by Edmund Husserl first obstructed, finally knew itself Nelson in the second approach 1909 with support of David Hilbert habilitieren (to 1923 mathematician and scientists in Goettingen belonged to the philosophical faculty). 1919 supported Hilbert the appointment Nelsons as the extraordinary professor. A Ordinariat did not reach it up to its early death no more.


already justified activities beside its scientific work as a student in Berlin and then in Goettingen with friends philosophical discussion circles, which he called in the tradition of the critical philosophy of the Kantianers Jakob Friedrich Fries new Fries' school. It seized also a further tradition and began starting from 1904 with the mathematician Gerhard Hessen mountain and the physiologist Karl emperor a new consequence of the papers of the Fries' school to give change; they could be resumed after its death by Otto Meyerhof , Franz Oppenheimer and Minna woodpecker until 1937.

1913 transferred Nelson this circle into a Jakob Friedrich Fries society, in which he determined the active psychiatrist Arthur Kronfeld to the deputy chairman and secretary. The 1. World war got over it only weakened and did not meet after its last conference in the year 1921 about relativity theory and critical philosophy .

End of the First World War created Nelson following the Platonic academy a philosophical-political academy as Trägerin of the 1924 then opened boarding school milling mill with Kassel, as well as a society of the friends of the philosophical-political academy, then however above all an international youth federation, which it converted 1926 after incompatability resolutions of the SPD to the international socialist combat federation. Nelson saw itself antiklerikalen as ethical, not to Marxist, rather socialist oriented at Kant - therein he affected above all Willi Eichler, a main author of the Godesberger of program. Also it represented publicly a vegetarian way of life.


following Fries he understood his philosophy as theoretical and practical continuation at mathematical exactness and Stringenz oriented of the Kritizismus about Immanuel Kant, on its basis he about philosophical thinking radical scientificness and truthfulness demanded and the consistent conversion of won insights into own and political practice.

In its writing the impossibility of the theory of knowledge represented Nelson the position that a scientific theory of knowledge was not possible, since one cannot justify an objective validity of realization, without presupposing evenly this validity.

Begins its lectures on the bases of the ethics with a criticism of the practical reason (same title as with Kant).

Its lecture the sokratische method (1922) is available in English translation on-line:[1] Nelson recommended a modified sokratische method of teaching both for philosophy instruction as well as and to method for the revival of the philosophical research (also as “neosokratisch” designation, see Mäeutik and Sokrati discussion).


  • Nelson, Leonard (1929): The sokratische method: Lecture, held at the 11. December 1922 in the educational society in Goettingen. In: Papers of the Fries' schen school. New consequence. Hrsg. v. Otto Meyerhof, Franz Oppenheimer and. Minna woodpecker. 5. Bd. (1929), H. 1. Goettingen: Publishing house „public life “, 21-78.
  • Collected writings. Given change by Paul Bernays, Willi Eichler, Arnold Gysin, Gustav tail man, Grete Henry Hermann, Fritz von Hippel, Stephan grains, Werner Kroebel, Gerhard of white. Felix my publishing house, Hamburg 1970-1977


  • Grete Henry Hermann: The overcoming of the coincidence: critical views to Leonard Nelsons reason of the ethics as science. Hamburg: My 1985 ISBN 3-7873-0658-7
  • Rainer Loska: Theories without instruction: Leonard Nelsons neosokratische method of the discussion guidance. Bath Heilbrunn: Klinkhardt 1995 ISBN 3-7815-0790-4
  • Udo Vorholt: The political theory Leonard Nelsons: a case study to the relationship of philosophical-political theory and concrete-political practice. Baden-Baden: Nomos publishing house society 1998 ISBN 3-7890-5550-6
  • Gisela Raupach Strey: Sokrati didactics: the didactical meaning of the Sokrati method in the tradition of Leonard Nelson and Gustav tail man. Münster; Hamburg; London: Lit 2002. (“Sokrati Philosophieren”; Bd. 10) ISBN 3-8258-6322-0

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