Mechanists


Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Related to Mechanists: mechanistic theory
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

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

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
It seems then that prominent mechanists challenge the usefulness of some traditional meta-theoretical notions, in particular in fields where mechanisms are the rule such as molecular biology, biochemistry and neuroscience.
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.
We do not think of Jacques Derrida as an SF author, but he was concerned with the consequences for human evolution that would ensue from following a strict devotion to and increasing dependency on programming, much as the Mechanists do in Sterling's future.
Descartes's aggressively reductive form of mechanism did not go uncriticized, even by his fellow mechanists. Gassendi, for instance, challenged Descartes's claim to have distinctly perceived the wax itself through the mind:
(16) Mechanists may find in evolution a warrant for exploitative emulousness, but monotheism finds in the same biological fact a history of struggle and triumph, symbiosis, hardship, and creative emergence, whose imperatives are empathy, celebration, intellectual wonderment, and moral regard.
This "post-literary" critical momentum has had an especially powerful impact on the romantic period, partly as a corrective to the highly restrictive nature of canonical versions--a legacy which, in turn, reflects romantic poets' insistence on the equation of literature with poetry rather than with "the Biographer and Historian" or "the Man of Science" (for Wordsworth in the Preface) or with "reasoners and mechanists" (for Shelley in the Defence).
It is time perhaps from the skilled workers such as mechanists, architectures, electricians, etc.
We now know that eighteenth-century mechanists were mistaken in supposing the world to be made of clockwork, and a twentieth-century repetition of their overconfidence does not seem likely to prove any more lasting.
One thing leads to another and our master thief stumbles into new corruption and betrayal involving the Keepers; a technological sect known as the Mechanists and the Pagans.
Shepard called Nature and Madness his most important book, and it is indeed a brilliant distillation of his ideas on the virtues of hunting tribes and the degradation of agricultural states, though here he continues his historical examination to include the "Desert Fathers" (early Mediterranean cultures), the "Puritans" (Greeks and early Christians) and the "Mechanists" (urban industrial society).
Where the mechanists saw structures and systems, the romantics saw processes and change.
Similar doubts had been expressed earlier in the discussion about what the enzymes "really are." These exchanges were part of the tug of war between mechanists and chemists that recurs on numerous occasions.

Full browser ?