Unter den Linden 6, 10117 Berlin, Germany
The Humboldt University of Berlin where Paul Natorp studied.
Regina-Pacis-Weg 3, 53113 Bonn, Germany
The University of Bonn where Paul Natorp studied.
4 Rue Blaise Pascal, 67081 Strasbourg, France
The University of Strasbourg where Paul Natorp studied from 1874 to 1876.
Paul Natorp studied music, history, classical philology at the Humboldt University of Berlin. He also studied philology at G. Uzener at the University of Bonn. In 1874, Natorp entered the University of Strasbourg where in 1876 completed his dissertation on the history of the Peloponnesian war. In 1881, he completed his Habilitation under the neo-Kantian Hermann Cohen.
Paul Natorp started his career as an extraordinary professor at the University of Marburg in 1885. In 1893 he was appointed an ordinary professor and held this post until 1922. Natorp also was a composer in particular of chamber music and wrote 100 songs and two choral works.
Paul Natorp published his first work Descartes' Erkenntnistheorie in 1882. Later he wrote such books as Sozialpädagogik, Logik in Leitsätzen, Pestalozzi. Leben und Lehre and Beethoven und wir. In 1921, he wrote Platos Ideenlehre that later was translated in English as Plato's Theory of Ideas.
In his earlier works, Natorp followed Hermann Cohen's conception of philosophy, arguing that each philosophical discipline must be systematically grounded in actual science or practice. However, Natorp was more interested in pedagogical theory than in jurisprudence. Accordingly, he had a tendency to de-emphasize the formal rules of the moral law, and to emphasize the moral education of individuals.
Following Pestalozzi, he developed a socialist conception of education that was based on the premise that education is always social education. Education prepares human beings for life in their community. Natorp meant to develop a critique of pedagogical reason that would analyze the conditions of the possibility of education. This theory of education transformed Kantian individualism into a form of communitarianism in which the ‘organic’ community assumed a life of its own. In fact, the truly ‘concrete’ in his theory is not the individual but the community.
Natorp’s late philosophy constituted a move away from neo-Kantian philosophy and towards a metaphysical theory of the spirit. In moving away from Kant, he went ‘back to Hegel’, thus reversing the original neo-Kantian move.
Paul Natorp married Helene Natorp in 1887. The marriage produced five children.