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
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
- Beiser F.C. After Hegel German Philosophy: 1840-1900. Princeton, 2014.
- Brooke J.H. Science and Secularization // The Cambridge Companion to Science and Religion. – Cambridge, 2010. P. 103-124.
- Buchner L. Fiziologicheskie kartiny (Physiological Etudes). Moscow, 1862.
- Chelpanov G. Psikhologiia i marksizm (Psychology and Marxism) . Moscow, 1924.
- Clark C., Kaiser W. (ed.) Culture Wars. Secular-Catholic Conflict in Nineteenth Century Europe. Cambridge, 2009.
- Coleman W. Biology in the Nineteenth Century: Problems of form, function and transformation. Cambridge, 1978.
- Funkenstein A. Theology and Scientific Imagination from the Middle Ages to the Seventeenth Century. Princeton, 1986.
- Galaty D.H. The Philosophical Basis of Mid-Nineteenth Century German Reductionism // Journal of the History of Medicine and Allied Sciences, 1974. Vol. 29. P. 295-31.
- Goodday G. 'Nature' in the Laboratory: Domestication and Discipline with the Microscope in Victorian Life Science // The British Journal for the History of Science. 1991. Vol. 24. P. 307-341.
- Gregory F. S. Scientific materialism in Nineteenth century Germany. Springer, 1977.
- Gregory F.S. Scientific versus Dialectical Materialism: a Clash of Ideologies in Nineteenth Century German Radicalism // Isis. 1977. №68. P. 206-23.
- Harrison P. Science and Secularization // Intellectual History Review. 2017. Vol.27. P. 47-70
- Harrison P. Territories of Science and Religion. Chicago, 2015.
- Holton G. Scientific Optimism and Societal Concerns // The Hastings Center Report. 1975. Vol. 5. pp. 39-47.
- Iushmanov N.Z. Kritika vul'garnogo materializma i ego sovremennoi interpretatsii. (Critics of vulgar materialism in its modern interpretation) Kiev, 1965.
- Lenoir T. Strategy of Life. Teleology and Mechanics in Nineteenth Century German Biology. – Dordrecht, London, 1982. P.5
- Lightman B. Victorian Popularizers of Science: Designing Nature for new Audiences. Chicago, 2007.
- Marx K., Engels F. Sochineniia (Works). Moscow, 1961.
- Materialy dlia razoblacheniia materialisticheskogo nigilizma (Materials for exposure of materialistic nihilism). Saint Petersburg, 1864.
- Meneghello L. Jacob Moleschott and the conception of science in the 19th century. Scientific materialism as “totalizing” worldview. Master Thesis. 2010.
- Mitchell I. Marxism and German Scientific materialism // Annals of Science. 1978. Vol. 35. P. 379-400.
- Olson R.G. Science and Scientism in Nineteenth-Century Europe. Chicago, 2008.
- Ostwald W. Nesostoiatel'nost' nauchnogo materializma (The Failure of Scientific Materialism). Riga, 1895.
- Rectenwald M. Nineteenth Century British Secularism: Science, Religion and Literature. New-York, 2016.
- Spencer G. Osnovnye nachala (First Principles). Saint Petersburg, 1897.
- Timiryazev K. Razvitie estestvoznaniia v Rossii v epokhu 60-kh godov (Development of Natural sciences in the 1860-s). Moscow, 1920.
- Turner F.M. Contesting Cultural Authority. Essays in Victorian Intellectual Life. Cambridge, 1993.
- Weir T.H. (ed.) Monism: Science, Philosophy and Religion, the History of a Worldview. Pallgrave MacMillan, 2012.
- Weir T. Secularism and Religion in Nineteenth-Century Germany. The Rise of the Forth Dimension. – Cambridge, 2016.
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
*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.