Kapterev, Petr Fedorovich

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 It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Kapterev, Petr Fedorovich


Born July 7 (19), 1849, in the village of Klenovo, in present-day Podol’sk Raion, Moscow Oblast; died Sept. 7, 1922, in Voronezh. Russian educator and psychologist.

Kapterev graduated from the Moscow Divinity School in 1872. He taught education and psychology in high schools and higher educational institutions in St. Petersburg, and he was an active member of the St. Petersburg Committee for Literacy and various pedagogical societies. He was one of the organizers of the first Congress on Family Upbringing and the first All-Russian Congress on Educational Psychology (1906). Kapterev demanded the creation of a single school system accessible to all levels of the population. He believed the first step in this direction to be the conversion of the elementary school to a six-year program with courses equivalent to the courses given in city schools. After the revolution he worked in the city of Ostrogozhsk, Voronezh Oblast, and became a professor of education at the University of Voronezh.

Kapterev wrote works on the theory and history of education, including The New Russian Pedagogy: Its Main Ideas, Trends, and Proponents (1897) and A History of Russian Pedagogy (1910). His principal contribution was the attempt to create a psychologically sound didactics. In Essays on Didactics (1885) and The Process of Education (1905) he worked out such problems of education as the goal and tasks of instruction, the choice of subjects of a course and their distribution, and the methods of teaching.

Kapterev’s Tasks and Principles of Family Upbringing (1898; 2nd ed., 1913), On the Nature of Children (1899), On Children’s Games (1898), and Encyclopedia of Family Upbringing and Instruction, of which he became editor in 1898, made valuable contributions to the development of the science of family up bringing.

Kapterev was a prominent representative of empirical psychology in Russia. He wrote a number of works on child psychology and educational psychology, which, he believed, consist of three elements: general psychological data, developmental psychology, and a theory of emotional types (Educational Psychology, 1877). In elaborating his theory of the types of emotional life (From the History of the Psyche: Essays on the History of the Mind, 1890), Kapterev reexamined and developed the typological concepts of P. F. Lesgaft, A. S. Virenius, and T. Ribot.


Kuz’min, P. M. “K voprosu o pedagogicheskikh ideiakh P. F. Kaptereva.” Sovetskaia pedagogika, 1940, nos. 4–5.
Korolev, F. F. Ocherkipo istorii sovetskoi shkoly ipedagogiki, 1917–1920 Moscow, 1956. Pages 476–78.
Tkachenko, V. G. “Pytanyia psikholohii v pratsiakh P. F. Kaptereva.” In Narysy z istorii vitchyznianoipsykholohii kintsia XIX ipochatku XX stolittia. (Collection of articles edited by G. S. Kostiuk.) Kiev, 1959.
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.