Leonard Nelson


In the 1920s the Kantian philosopher Leonard Nelson and his co-worker Minna Specht founded an experimental critical philosophy school in Germany. When the Nazis came to power at the end of the 1930s, the school fled to Denmark, then to Britain. The SFCP was established in 1940 to support the newly founded school based on Nelson’s Critical Philosophy. Over the years the society has expanded its aims of supporting Socratic methods in education and now organises philosophical conferences, holds Socratic Dialogues, and publishes books and its own journal.

Socratic Method

The Socratic method encourages participants to reflect and think independently and critically. Socratic Dialogue is practised in small groups with the help of a facilitator, so that self-confidence in one’s own thinking is enhanced and the search for answers to a philosophical question is undertaken in common. No prior philosophical training is needed, provided participants are motivated to try the method, are willing to contribute their thoughts sincerely, and to listen to those of others. The questions, drawn from ethics, politics, epistemology, and mathematics, are of a general and fundamental nature. The endeavour of the group is to reach consensus, which could also be used as a means to deepen the investigation.

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