Ertov, Ivan Danilovich
(according to other data, Davidovich). Born 1777; died 1828. Russian self-educated philosopher, deist; amateur astronomer.
In his Nachertanie estestvennykh zakonov proiskhozhdeniia vselennoi (Tracing the Natural Laws of the Origin of the Universe; vols. 1–2, 1798–99), Ertov set forth his cosmogonic hypothesis and criticized Buffon’s hypothesis. He contended that nature originated ‘‘according to the solemn pronouncement of the All-Powerful Wisdom” and from “matter” (book 2, part f, St. Petersburg, 1799, pp. 6–7). Ertov considered that worlds originated from “primitive elements,” and he suggested the possibility of life on other planets. In his historical works (The Universal History of Ancient Enlightened Peoples, parts 1–5, 1824–25) he proceeded from a belief in providence.
WORKSMysli o proiskhozhdenii i obrazovanii mirov, 3rd ed., parts 1–3. St. Petersburg, 1820.
Melkie sochineniia, otvety na kritiki i sokrashchenie myslei o proiskhozhdenii i obrazovanii mirov. St. Petersburg, 1829.
Russkii Kandid, ili Prostodushnyi. St. Petersburg, 1833. (Published anonymously.)
REFERENCESShakhnovich, M. I. “Pervyi russkii kosmogonist I. D. Ertov.” Priroda, 1951, vol. 40, no. 4.
Perel’, lu. G. “I. D. Ertov v otsenke sovremennikov.”Astronomic he skii zhurnal, 1954, vol. 31, no. 1.
Z. A. KAMENSKII