Evgenii Valentinovich Roberti

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Roberti, Evgenii Valentinovich


(more properly, Eugenio de Roberty de Castro de la Cerda). Born Dec. 25, 1843, in the village of Kazatskoe, Podol’sk Province; died May 8, 1915, in Valentinovka, Tver’ Province. Russian sociologist and positivist philosopher.

Roberti studied at the Aleksandrovskii Lycée in St. Petersburg and at the universities of Heidelberg and Jena. In the late 1860’s he began contributing to Russian liberal newspapers and journals and to the Revue de la philosophie positive, published in Paris by E. Littré and G. N. Vyrubov. He took part in the zemstvo movement, which sought expanded rights for bodies of local self-government, and was a constitutionalist. In 1887 he went abroad, where he lived for an extended period. He was a professor at the Free University of Brussels from 1894 to 1907. Roberti was active in international sociology congresses. From 1908 to 1915 he was a professor of sociology at the Psychoneurological Institute in St. Petersburg. In 1914 he and M. M. Ko-valevskii began publication of a collection entitled New Ideas in Sociology. He belonged to the Constitutional Democratic Party.

Drawing on A. Comte, although he considered him insufficiently positivist, Roberti developed a doctrine that came to be known variously as hyperpositivism, neopositivism, or Robertism. In his view, gnoseology formed a part of sociology, the basic study of reason; ethics, which based itself on this sociological theory of cognition, should become the applied sociology of action; and scientific philosophy differed from science in its object of research and methodology. Roberti rejected Comte’s phenomenalism and agnosticism, reducing the unknowable to the unknown. His “biosocial hypothesis” emphasized the importance of collective concepts in the analysis of social actions. He advanced the idea of four basic factors in “su-perorganic” social evolution: science, philosophy, art, and work. In the early 20th century, Roberti supported W. Ost-wald’s explanation of social progress based on energy. Robert’s ideas were reflected in 20th-century French sociology.


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“Nauka i metafizika.” Znanie, 1875, NO. 5.
Sotsiologiia. St. Petersburg, 1880.
Proshedshee filosofii: Opyt sotsiologicheskogo issledovaniia obshchikh zakonov razvitiia filosofskoi mysli, vols. 1–2. Moscow, 1886.
Novaia postanovka osnovnykh voprosov sotsiologii. Moscow, 1909.
Poniatiia razuma i zakony vselennoi. St. Petersburg, 1914.
L’Inconnaisable, sa métaphysique, sa psychologic Paris, 1889.
Agnosticisme. Paris, 1892.
La Philosophie du siècle. Paris, 1891.
L’Ethique, vols. 1–4. Paris, 1896–1900.
Sociologie de action. Paris, 1908.


Istoriiafilosofii ν SSSR, vols. 3–4. Moscow, 1968–71.
Verrier, R. Roberty: Le Positivisme russe et la fondation de la sociologie. Paris, 1934.
Walicki, A. Rosyjska filozofia i myśl społeczna od oświecenia do marksizmu. Warsaw, 1973.


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