Razdyakonov Vladislav

Physiologists against Theology: Science as a source of Secularization in ideology of scientific materialism in the 19th century

Razdyakonov Vladislav (2017) "Physiologists against Theology: Science as a source of Secularization in ideology of scientific materialism in the 19th century ", Vestnik Pravoslavnogo Sviato-Tikhonovskogo gumanitarnogo universiteta. Seriia I : Bogoslovie. Filosofiia. Religiovedenie, 2017, vol. 74, pp. 27-43 (in Russian).

DOI of the paper: 10.15382/sturI201774.27-43


Jacob Moleschott (1822–1893), Karl Vogt (1817–1895) and Ludwig Buchner (1824–1899) are known as most notorious German spokesmen on behalf of “Science” in the mid —19th century. They are labelled in Russian historiography as “vulgar materialists” and are contrasted with dialectical materialists in their attitude to philosophy and science. This article shows how they used scientifi c conceptions of human physiology for the validation of their socio-political views, in particular on the role of religion in society and on the gradual secularisation of society. The article proposes critical reassessment of the category “vulgar materialists”, typical of current Russian historiography. It also aims to demonstrate their attitude to theology, philosophy, science and religion as main categories of their discourse. Finally, the article analyses scientifi c arguments in favour of the evolutionary development of society as well as reasons for the rejection of revolutionary practice. Although both “scientifi c materialism” and “scientifi c naturalism” do not meet the criteria of scientifi c ideology, scientifi c activity promotes secularisation by means of the extrapolation of its results to the social and political spheres.


materialism, science, religion, theology, secularisation, 19th century


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Information about the author

Razdyakonov Vladislav

Academic Degree: Candidate of Sciences* in History;
Place of work: Учебно-научный Центр изучения религий;
ORCID: 0000-0003-3073-6476;
Email: razdyakonov.vladislav@gmail.com.

*According to the International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) 2011, the degree of Candidate of Sciences (Cand.Sc.) belongs to ISCED level 8 — "doctoral or equivalent", together with PhD, DPhil, D.Lit, D.Sc, LL.D, Doctorate or similar.


This research was conducted with financial support of Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.