Nozhin, Nikolai

Nozhin, Nikolai Dmitrievich


Born Dec. 8 (20), 1841, in St. Petersburg; died there Apr. 3 (15), 1866. Russian public figure and biologist.

A descendant of the nobility of Chernigov province, Nozhin graduated from the Alexander Lycée in 1860. From 1861 to 1864 he studied natural sciences abroad and had contact with émigré members of the Land and Liberty society. After returning to St. Petersburg in late 1864, he was close to the St. Petersburg branch of the Ishutin circle. In late 1865 he began to contribute to the journal Knizhnyi vestnik.

In his biological work, Nozhin was a follower of C. Darwin and opposed Malthusianism and racism. He proclaimed the leading role of scientific knowledge in the social reorganization of society. In the series of articles entitled “Our Science and Scientists: Scholarly Books and Publications” (Knizhnyi vestnik, 1866, nos. 1–3 and 7), Nozhin attempted to develop a sociological theory that was based on general biological principles and that would guide the human race to harmonious social organization. He considered mutual assistance and the collaboration of “integrated personalities” to be the source of progress and social harmony. He proposed solidarity and collective organization as alternatives to the bourgeois principle of competition. Nozhin’s sociological theory influenced the views of N. K. Mikhailovskii.


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