A debate on the tasks of science was held in Petrograd – Science – Kommersant

by time news

A group of red professors, recently formed in Petrograd, has arranged a debate about the tasks of science in our day. Professor Gredeskul, a member of the Scientific Society of Marxists at Petrograd University, made a report “Red Science, Red Truth, Red Professors”.

This report expresses the views not only of Professor Gredeskul, but of the entire Petrograd group of the red professors on science and on their tasks.

Professor Gredeskul posed the question: is there a single, non-class science, or, on the contrary, there is a red science, proletarian, and science of other colors.

“We see,” he says, that science goes along with life. Science is becoming a servant of the existing order.

The speaker illustrates his theses with examples of how bourgeois scientists, having reached the brink of social truth, having risen to the height of its recognition, nevertheless try to close the beam of light that involuntarily escaped from the pen with a number of unexpected conclusions.

Science has always served life. The only question is who and what to serve: emancipation or enslavement, toilers or idlers, revolution or reaction? There have always been two sciences and two morals. Science will become one only when classes disappear.

The speaker was followed by Sergey Alekseev, professor of philosophy at the Petrograd Polytechnic Institute. But after several not entirely successful forays, mixed with philistine complaints about a meager ration, Professor Alekseev left the podium.

The most fighting moment of the dispute was the speech of the worker, Comrade Kuzmin. Until I was 15, he said, I did not know the alphabet. Science was a bourgeois dish for me, and not for me alone. In Russia there were 15 percent literate, 85 percent illiterate. Only now knowledge and school are available to us proletarians. I and many of us welcome such professors who will help us. I am not a communist, but I firmly know that under our proletarian rule we can comprehend science. Our hammer will not fall!

Then Professor Engel, Professor Derzhavin, and a representative of the group of artists, Comrade Andreev, spoke. Comrade Blinkova greeted the red professorship on behalf of the revolutionary student body. Comrade Lemke also spoke.

After the debate, the audience sang “International”.

An article about the dispute was published in the Izvestia newspaper on June 4, 1921.

The publication was prepared by Alexey Alekseev

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