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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article, through the example of confrontation between two scientists, the founders of Russian soil science (V. Dokuchaev and P. Kostychev), shows how scientists, being actors of social action, are not limited to personal relationships. The author shows that the scientific confrontation has a deep philosophical basis and is reflected in specific technologies in the sphere of human-nature relations. The difference between Dokuchaev’s and Kostychev’s approaches lies in the fact that while one scientist was interested not in separate facts, but in the relationships between them, the second focused on the practical benefits for those living today, leaving the problems of the future state of the soil to the next generations. As a subject of social action Dokuchaev was not fully understood by the Russian scientific community of that time, which was reflected in his contemporaries’ attitude to his worldview. He was unable to make soil science be officially recognized as a fundamental natural science by the Russian Academy of Sciences. A different situation arose when the dispute turned into practice. In 1892 Dokuchaev accepted the proposal to reorganize the Novoaleksandriyskiy Institute of Agriculture and Forestry. As a result of the titanic work, he revised the curricula and created new ones, which later became exemplary for the entire education system in our country. Experts were trained, whose outlook was based on new scientific notations, and the focus of professional and public activity was on the preservation of nature. An essential prerequisite to create a network of environmental institutions in Russia emerged. At the same time, the scientist’s life shows that he was able to overcome the rigidity of the scientific environment, but not that of the social and administrative system. In the 20th century, most of Dokuchaev’s ideas remained unclaimed, despite their obvious importance in our day. The scientist actually spoke about sustainable development, about the preservation of the biosphere. After all, soil degradation is a direct evidence of the nature degradation. After a hundred years, the “technological” point of view is surreptitiously in conflict with the Dokuchaev approach, preventing the latter to prevail.
Socio-Natural History, modern natural sciences, soil science, the subject of social action, scientific community, bureaucracy, traditional stereotypes of behavior
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