Article ID: CBB288987402

The Trials of Arnošt K.: The Dark Angel of Dialectical Materialism (2017)


The Prague-born philosopher and historian of science Arnošt Kolman (1892–1979)—who often published under his Russian name Ernest Kol’man—has fallen into obscurity, much like dialectical materialism, the philosophy of science he represented. From modest Czech-Jewish origins, Kolman seized opportunities posed by the advent of the Bolshevik Revolution to advance to the highest levels of polemical Stalinist philosophy, returned to Prague as an activist laying the groundwork for the Communist coup in Czechoslovakia in February 1948, was arrested and held for three years by the Soviet secret police, returned to work in Moscow and Prague as a historian of science, played vastly contrasting roles in the Luzin Affair of the 1930s and the rehabilitation of cybernetics in the 1950s, and defected—after 58 years in the Communist Party of the Soviet Union—to Sweden in 1976. This article argues that Kolman’s biography represents his gradual separation of dialectical materialism from other aspects of Soviet authority, a disentanglement enabled by the perspective gained from repeated returns to Prague and the diversity of dialectical-materialist thought developed in the Eastern Bloc. This essay is part of a special issue entitled THE BONDS OF HISTORY edited by Anita Guerrini.

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Article Anita Guerrini (2017) Introduction to Special Issue: The Bonds of History. Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences (pp. 263-267). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Yılmaz, Yunus Anıl
Kvicalova, Anna
Oswald, Nicola M. R.
Wolfe, Charles T.
Spunarová, Tat'jána
Seebacher, Felicitas
Journal of the History of the Neurosciences
Victorian Literature and Culture
Journal of the History of Collections
History of the Human Sciences
Springer International Publishing
Verlag der Österreichischen Akademie der Wissenschaften
Sentinel Open Press
Monthly Review Press
National histories
Science and religion
Scientific communities; interprofessional relations
Mach, Ernst
Wallace, Alfred Russel
Wald, Franz
Purkinje, Jan Evangelista
Péguy, Charles
Ostwald, Friedrich Wilhelm
Time Periods
19th century
20th century
18th century
20th century, early
17th century
Prague (Czechia)
Great Britain
Cracow (Poland)
Univerzita Karlova
University of Prague
Universität Wien
Universität Innsbruck
Universität Graz
Uniwersytet Jagielloński (Cracow)

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