Blonskii, Pavel

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Blonskii, Pavel Petrovich


Born May 14 (26), 1884, in Kiev; died Feb. 15, 1941, in Moscow. Soviet teacher, psychologist, and historian of philosophy. Doctor of pedagogical sciences (1935). Graduated from the department of history and philology of the University of Kiev in 1907. Member of the Socialist Revolutionary Party from 1903 to 1917.

In 1913, Blonskii became assistant professor of education and psychology at Moscow University, Shaniavskii University, and the Advanced Education Courses for Women. In 1919 he established the Academy of Social Education in Moscow and became its first chairman and professor (until 1931). From 1930 to 1940 he managed a memory laboratory, and then a laboratory of thought and speech in the Institute of Experimental Psychology.

From 1907 to 1914, Blonskii wrote a series of works on the history of philosophy based on idealistic beliefs. Dealing with problems of education, in 1915–16 he formulated principles of the class character of upbringing and proposed the theory of the people’s labor school (The Labor School, 1919). According to Blonskii, the learning process is not simply the mastering of externally given knowledge and methods of action but instead is the development of new qualities based on inborn abilities of a child. This consideration defined his movement to pedology. Having stated the correct theory that a satisfactory pedagogy cannot be built without knowing the age peculiarities of children, he nevertheless reached the mechanistic conclusions, among others, that changes in the behavior of a child are conditioned by the influence of environment and heredity, and that the development of his intellect should coincide with the development of the human species. Blonskii proposed a genetic theory of memory (Memory and Thought, 1935), which is still significant and confirms, in particular, that in the learning process, the major role is played by thought rather than memory.


Filosofiia Plotina. Moscow, 1918.
Sovremennaia filosofiia, parts 1–2. Moscow, 1918–22.
Pedologiia. Moscow, 1934.
Ocherki detskoi seksual’nosti. Moscow, 1935.
Izbr. pedagogicheskie proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1961.
Izbr. psikhologicheskie proizvedeniia. Moscow, 1964.


Petrovskii, A. V. Istoriia sovetskoi psikhologii. Moscow, 1967.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.