Mechanists


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Mechanists

 

a group of Soviet philosophers of the mid-1920’s and early 1930’s.

The mechanists equated dialectics with modern mechanics and created a distinctive “mechanist” conception of epistemology, logic, and historical materialism. The group included I. I. Skvortsov-Stepanov, A. K. Timiriazev, L. I. Aksel’rod-Ortodoks, V. M. Sarab’ianov, and V. A. Petrov. N. I. Bukharin, who laid claim to the leadership of the sociological school, allied himself with the mechanists. The ideas, of the mechanists were based on the introduction of positivist ideas into Marxist philosophy. The mechanists denied the independent role of philosophy, substituted the theory of equilibrium for dialectics, and denied the objective nature of contingency.

The views of the mechanists were criticized at several scholarly conferences and in public debates. In 1929, the All-Union Conference of Marxist-Leninist Scientific Institutions declared that mechanism was a distinctive revision of dialectical materialism (see Estestvoznanie i marksizm, 1929, no. 3, p. 211). The resolution of the Central Committee of the ACP(B) of Jan. 25, 1931, On the Journal Pod znamenem marksizma, defined mechanism as the most dangerous influence on the philosophical theory of those years.

In the early 1930’s, the principal representatives of the mechanist group renounced and criticized their erroneous views.

REFERENCES

“O zhurnale Pod znamenen marksizma: Iz postanovleniia TsK VKP(B)” In O partiinoi i sovetskoi pechati. Moscow, 1954.
Narskii, I. S., and L. N. Suvorov. Pozitivizm i mekhanisticheskaia reviziia marksizma. Moscow, 1962.

L. N. SUVOROV

References in periodicals archive ?
But apart from the fact that Simon has set up the terms in such a narrow way, from the standpoint achievable through the Logic we can positively assert an alternative not entertained by Simon nor by reductive mechanists (or "physicalists") in general: that life is neither reducible to physical principles nor is it a non-physical structure, as if it were opposed to physics.
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These exchanges were part of the tug of war between mechanists and chemists that recurs on numerous occasions.
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In the modern period mechanists from Hobbes to Skinner found free will incompatible with the clockwork world, and therefore challenged free choice in principle.

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