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Mazilov V.A., Kostrigin A.A. (2017). The work of V.A. Snegirev: An historical and psychological study. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(1), 198-210.


In the history of psychology there are many scientists whose names and contributions have been forgotten. One poorly studied area in the history of psychology is the psychological views of theologians. Among these is Veniamin Alekseevich Snegirev, a psychologist and theologian at Kazan Theological Academy, whose contributions are not fully appreciated today. The authors identify V.A. Snegirev’s contribution to several fields of psychological science at the end of the 19th century: methodology, theory, general psychology, and the psychology of dreams. The research is based on archival materials, encyclopedia articles, reviews of the activity of Kazan Theological Academy in the 19th century, works of Snegirev and other researchers who have studied his contributions. The authors describe the scientist’s childhood, his student period, and work as a professor. his work at the Kazan Theological Academy and the University of Kazan is discussed in detail: he taught courses on psychology, logic, and metaphysics, was a member of the Academy Council, took part in the functioning of the library, was recognized with several awards and honors. Snegirev’s teaching activity is described by the recollections of his student, the famous philosopher Viktor I. Nesmelov. Snegirev considered psychology to be based in philosophy, because philosophical problems represent the content of human consciousness. A bibliography of Snegirev’s scientific works is provided. The psychological and philosophical views of the Russian scientist are signifi- cant: his main points are to recognize the object of science – the human being – as a “living person”, thinking, feeling, and exercising his will; and the rejection of the idea that a person can be reduced to a sum of mental phenomena. There are several common concepts in the works of Snegirev and European and American philosophers, such as Wilhelm Dilthey and William James. Snegirev participated in the international philosophical and scientific discus- sion, which underlines the importance of studying his work. 

ThemesTheories and approaches


Pages:  198-210

DOI:  10.11621/pir.2017.0114

Keywords:  history of psychology, biography, V.A. Snegirev, religious and philosophical psy- chology, Theological Academy of Kazan, V.I. Nesmelov, psychology of the living personality

Downloads: 299


Recent studies of the history of Russian psychology are recovering the names of scientists who were previously almost unknown or forgotten. This is a wel­come development. There are many reasons for such oblivion in our country: it is enough for some of an author’s ideas to be deemed not timely or not in harmony with the mainstream of the moment. The recovery of these names is one of the objectives of the history of psychology, if its intention is to reflect the develop­ment of psychological science in the country throughout its history (Mazilov, 1996, 1998). We have previously written that the different layers of psychological knowledge are complementary, that only the study of their interaction and po­tential unity at a particular point in time gives a complete picture of the historical understanding of psyche (Mazilov, 2014, 2015). For example, philosophical psy­chology strives to return scientific psychology to its genuine object. S.N. Trubet­skoy warned against the temptation to accept the results of psychophysical stud­ies as the whole of psychology (Mazilov, 2007). Identification of the relationship between the declared object and the real object, to prevent undue reductionism, can be called “objective.”

Philosophical psychology also has an important heuristic function, raising new questions. Scientific psychology generates research that proves or disproves the validity of the assumptions of philosophical psychology. In general, the gen­eration of new ideas is the most important function of philosophical psychology. By comparing different meanings, “playing” with them, philosophical psychology creates opportunities for the development of scientific psychology. From the his­tory of psychology, it is easy to see that an expressed idea can “expect” to be further developed for many years.

Today there are vigorous discussions ongoing about the relationship of psy­chology and religion. Russian psychologist M.Yu. Kondratiev suggests that these are parallel domains, and that “the penetration and influence of a ‘foreign’ subject in either of these two fields are destructive and unacceptable, because nonprofes­sional activity within each of these subject areas, which are valuable in themselves, will inevitably be destructive, not creative” (Kondratiev, 2007, p. 66).

however, the intellectual atmosphere in the second half of the 19th century was of a different kind: psychology was becoming an independent science and people from different areas — philosophy, theology, culture, physiology, mathematics, and, of course, psychology — were involved in its formation. The problem of non­concurrence of different discourses of scientists was not as urgent as it is today. however, because of general interest and through collaborative efforts, the science of psychology started to refine the object of its own research.

An example of such an unusual position for modern science, but common for the 19th century, was Veniamin Alekseevich Snegirev, who combined the religious and scientific spheres in his work. With extensive theological training (theological school, seminary, and academy), Snegirev engaged in solving problems of philo­sophical metaphysics, theology, history, and general psychological issues.

Theological academies once assembled an abundance of educated people, deep thinkers, and philosophers. I.V. Tsvyk (2002) notes that the academies provided qualified teaching of philosophical disciplines, including modern philosophy. It is not surprising that Snegirev had sufficient knowledge to start his own research ac­tivities.

The study of the history of psychology is important to identify the continuity of ideas and to understand the methodology of science, as is emphasized in the sci­entific papers of V.A. Koltsova (1997), V.A. Mazilov (2015), Yu.N. Oleinik (2008), and others.

We have published several papers about Snegirev (Kostrigin, 2013; Stoyukhina & Kostrigin, 2013, 2015). The objectives of the present paper are to present the currently known details of the Russian psychologist’s biography, as obtained from the study of encyclopedia articles, reviews by his disciples, and archival materials; to outline his main ideas; and to define Snegirev’s contribution to the psychologi­cal science of the 19th century. We use the following historical and psychological methods: analysis of the products of activity, source analysis, and the biographical method.

Childhood and student period (1841–64)

Veniamin Alekseevich Snegirev (1841–89) was a psychologist, philosopher, and pro­fessor at the Kazan Theological Academy. he was born in the village of Tymonkino, in Nizhny Novgorod province, in the family of the priest Alexei Mikhailovich Sne­girev. his father taught him “The Lives of the Saints” as a child and was preparing his son for entering the seminary.

In 1854 Snegirev entered the Pechersk district school, near Nizhny Novgorod.

After attending Pechersk Theological School, Snegirev entered the Theological Seminary of Nizhny Novgorod in 1858, where he studied “philosophical sciences”, german, and French.

In 1864, having graduated from the seminary, Snegirev was sent at public ex­pense to study at the Kazan Theological Academy, where he studied English and tried to write a scientific article of his own.

Work at Kazan Theological Academy and Kazan University

On June 8, 1868, upon graduating from the Kazan Academy, Snegirev remained there, in the Department of Psychology and Logic, to earn his master’s degree, and was also assigned to teach logic and psychology (National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan; Ternovsky, 1892, p. 454). On this occasion he wrote to his parents: “and so a cherished hope has been realized, a golden dream has come true – I am called to serve my beloved science!” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 10).

On June 30, 1870 he was awarded the degree of Master of Theology for his the­sis, “The doctrine of the person of our Lord Jesus Christ in the first three centuries of Christianity” (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 454). By decision of the rector of the Acad­emy, this thesis was published as an appendix in the journal Pravoslavny Sobesednik (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 454). On Aug. 15 of the same year, he became an assistant professor (Zagoskin, 1900, p. 51).

From Dec. 3, 1871 until Aug. 15, 1885, he was invited to lecture on psychol­ogy and logic at Kazan University (National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan). his brother wrote about this period: “If we take into account that Veniamin Alek­seevich’s lectures on psychology and logic, with the unity of their general nature, were different at the Academy and at the University; that he did not like to repeat the same thing at both places from year to year, but always enlivened his lectures with new, modern data from both sciences, which sometimes required re-editing all his material; and referring to the late Professor’s other classes, it is easy to under­stand how much and with what stress he had to work” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 11).

By the assignment of the Council of the Academy, Snegirev twice taught a course in metaphysics, from Feb. 5, 1884 until the end of the academic year and from Nov. 15, 1886 until the end of the 1877–78 academic year (Ternovsky, 1892,

p. 455).

Like any teacher, he engaged in the methodological and administrative activi­ties identified by the Kazan Theological Academy: the review and evaluation of the­ses, discussion of issues related to the subjects he taught, introduction of mentors for promotion at work, review of teachers’ scientific trips abroad, etc.

Snegirev was on the university’s Administrative Commission. In 1874 he de­signed the manual for Assistant Professor P.A. Miloslavsky’s training in the busi­ness trips (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 455). In 1876 he, Professor M.Ya. Krasin, and As­sistant Professor A.K. Volkov were elected to the theological censorship committee for three years by the Council of the Academy (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 55).

Snegirev was elected a member of the Council of the Academy from the Theo­logical Department for the period from 1874 to 1882. Each year, the Council held an assembly at which the Secretary of the Academy read a report on the past aca­demic year and a professor gave a scientific lecture. In 1874 Snegirev gave the lec­ture, “About sleep and dreams” (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 74). At the Council’s public meetings there were defenses of doctoral theses, and on Sept. 16, 1873, Snegirev was an official opponent (with D.V. gusev) for M.Yu. Krasin’s defense of his thesis, “Augustine’s creation ‘De civitate Dei’ as an apology for Christianity in the struggle against Roman paganism” (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 76).

The Council of the Academy was tasked with overseeing the library. In 1871 Snegirev, Professor P.V. Znamenskiy, A.A. Nekrasov, and E.A. Budrin were com­missioned to design a systematic catalog for the library of the Theological Academy (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 39), and in 1877 Snegirev, F.A. Kurganov, and Assistant Profes­sor N.F. Krasnoseltsev were assigned as members of the commission to design the first update of the catalog (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 155); in 1881 and 1885 Snegirev was assigned to commissions for inspecting the academic library (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 454).

Finally, the professor managed the activities of students who remained after their studies at the academy as professional scholars. In the 1887–88 school year professorial fellow V.I. Nesmelov was taught classes on metaphysics by Snegirev (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 258), who later became a philosopher and theologian and who identified himself as a disciple of Snegirev and wrote an obituary for him (Nes­melov, 1889).

Snegirev received the following awards:

  • In 1873, the third degree Order of St. Anne (National Archive of the Re­public of Tatarstan; Ternovsky, 1892, p. 456);
  • On Aug. 23,1875, the third degree Order of St.Stanislav (National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan; Ternovsky, 1892, p. 456);
  • On Oct.24,1880,the seniority rank of StateCouncilor (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 456);
  • On Oct. 9, 1887, award of Moscow Metropolitan Macarius by the assign­ment of the Council of the Kazan Theological Academy (National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan).

Teaching activity

S.A. Ternovsky, in studying the activities of the Kazan Theological Academy in the last quarter of the 19th century, noted that the classes there consisted of the teach­ing and development of science, and the testing and evaluation of students’ semes­ter, candidate, and master’s theses (Ternovsky, 1892, p. 32).

Snegirev taught logic, psychology, and metaphysics. his disciple V.I. Nesmelov wrote that his teacher “belonged to the range of the few truly profound philoso­phers, thinkers, who in their selfless pursuit of knowledge think about what they do not know rather than what they know” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 97).

Nesmelov recalled his first impression of Snegirev: “In the autumn semester of 1883 there was a new course for the academic audience in the class of Veniamin Alekseevich. The lecture on psychology was held on just the second day of the an­nouncement of activities and, as far as I remember, it was the first lecture that new students were required to attend.... Veniamin Alekseevich just entered the class, of course, guessed the mood of his listeners at first glance, and, being lively by nature, brightened still more upon seeing the aspiring eyes looking at him from all sides. he quickly ran to his chair, and with live passion began to make his first introduc­tory lecture on the concept of ‘psychology’ “ (Nesmelov, 1889, pp. 100–101).

Lecturing on the history of psychology, Snegirev showed the students his erudi­tion: “These lectures were fairly dry and seemed boring – especially since none of the new students knew the three new languages; and yet there were enough people who were sitting and listening with undoubted interest when the professor gave the students sometimes rather long lists of the names of authors and titles of their works in English, german, and French, defining their significance in the history of science for whole groups. In this case, most of the students only admired their professor’s extensive knowledge, but did not get much additional information from the lectures; nevertheless, the professor’s authority rose” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 105). Snegirev maintained the audience’s interest because he was fascinated by the sub­ject of the science he taught.

Regarding the content of lectures on psychology, we can say that Snegirev gave a critical assessment of modern trends in psychology (spiritualistic, materialistic, physiological, and introspective), the history of psychology, the subject and objec­tives of psychology, mental processes (types, physiological mechanisms), feelings, and others. he gave a comprehensive analysis of mental processes: for example, while teaching about sensations, the professor showed their value in “the life of the soul” and the associated physiological processes.

Finally, expressing the general opinion of the students, Nesmelov (1889) wrote: “Veniamin Alekseevich was valued by students not only from the traditional point of view, but because he really belonged to a select number of outstanding professors and researchers who have an almost unique ability and power not only to maintain a steady high opinion, but always to re-create it “ (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 106).

Psychological views

Snegirev definitely belongs to the religious and philosophical tendency in psychol­ogy. V.A. Koltsova (1997) identified the key characteristics of this trend: considera­tion of the soul as a sphere of inner reality, the inner world of man, and its content, in self-consciousness; recognition of the mental world as a separate essence; ap­proval of the continuity of consciousness and denial of unconscious psychic phe­nomena; recognition of the identity of faith and knowledge; recognition of the ex­istence of free will.

Nesmelov noted that in his lectures, Snegirev expressed a negative attitude to­ward scholastic psychology, particularly “the conventional division of the human soul into powers and capacities” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 109). Speaking about the mind, feelings, and will, “he did not consider these as phenomena of different powers and capacities, but noted that everywhere and always in psychic phenomena there is the same integral, living, indivisible power” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 109).

his students noted their professor’s interest in the psychophysiological branch of psychology. however, the professor did not simply dissect the human soul and describe psychic phenomena; “he looked at these phenomena as living ones in the living organism of the human person, and therefore, considered them living; in any case, of course, he could not examine them differently, but only in conjunction with all of these conditions of the life of the body” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 111).

In his paper “Psychology and logic as philosophical sciences” (1876), Snegirev defined psychology thus: “Psychology has as its subject the phenomena of the inner spiritual life of man; since these phenomena exist in experience and are available for internal and partly external observation, available to some extent for experi­mentation, i.e., for artificial purposive measurement by a researcher, the phenom­ena obey unchangeable laws in their origin and existence, like all other phenomena accessible to human observation of the world” (Snegirev, 1876, p. 427). According to Snegirev, psychology explores just such mental phenomena that are common to all people, in all their living conditions, by means of which private phenomena and individual changes of “mental life” can be explained. Nesmelov defined this posi­tion as “individualism”.

Another important subject developed by Snegirev was sleep and dreams, on which he wrote two works, “Belief in dreams and interpretation of dreams” (1874) and “Teaching of sleep and dreams” (1881). he was one of the first to study this is­sue, along with N.Ya. grot, I.g. Orshansky, P.Ya. Svetlov, and others (Stoyukhina & Kostrigin, 2015). Thus, by the beginning of the 20th century, Russian science had formed a lasting interest in problems of sleep, and perhaps this prepared the Rus­sian intelligentsia to accept the concept of psychoanalysis.

The Kazan professor presented interesting arguments about unconscious phe­nomena of the soul. he emphasized that the existence of unconscious phenomena does not help to explain mental processes: “no unconscious sphere of the spirit exists, because, as pure energy, it is not subject to spatial dimensions and there are no remainedunconscious states because its life and activity are consciousness.

Therefore, every idea which is no longer conscious ceases to live and decomposes into its constituent parts, because only consciousness is its life, the only form of life” (Snegirev, 1875, p. 224).

According to Nesmelov, Snegirev rejected the principles of contemporaries such as h.L. Lewis, J.S. Mill, h. Spencer, and other British psychologists.

Being both a psychologist-metaphysician who saw psychic phenomena as hav­ing an independent origin, and a psychologist-empiricist who studied only the facts of empirical consciousness in various mental processes, “he saw the same act­ing individual, integrating thinking, feeling, and will — a living human person as he really exists and is directly aware and known by everyone” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 117). This human personality was the central point from which all Snegirev’s psychological reasoning proceeded and to which it returned. It can be said that he preached “the psychology of the living person”.

Philosophical views

Snegirev wrote two major philosophical works, “Spiritualism as a religious and philosophical doctrine” (1871) and “Sleep and dreams” (1875), which expressed his philosophical views, starting from when he was primarily a theologian and philosopher, and completing the transition to metaphysics in the last period of life. Snegirev considered the possibility of harmonious combination of faith and knowledge, a simultaneously rationalistic and mystical worldview that can be in­tegrated only by philosophy. he saw the best example of this philosophical fusion of faith and knowledge in the fathers and teachers of the ancient Christian church, who “integrated the totality of contemporary rational knowledge and put it in harmony with the truths of faith, accepting only revelation as truth, and human knowledge that does not contradict the revealed truth” (Snegirev, 1871a, p. 30). In his opinion, as science developed, there was a Christian doctrine specific to each historical epoch.

However, later Snegirev’s views changed, and he began to consider the need to pay more attention to knowledge, holding out the possibility of rational compre­hension of the essence of things.

Developing his philosophy, Snegirev was first fascinated by german metaphys­ics, but the german thinkers did not give much importance to the individual, the single, which Snegirev valued. About his attitude towards Kant’s Critique of pure reason, V.I. Nesmelov wrote: “The Critique of pure reason, by its very nature, could never please Veniamin Alekseevich, because all these transcendental forms and categories, with their transcendental schematic connection, seemed to him noth­ing other than simply killing the living human spirit” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 139). The Russian scientist grew quickly disappointed in this branch of philosophy and turned to positivism, but he also criticized the positivist tradition, because Comte did not accord an independent scientific status to psychology and discounted the value of the subjective methods of research, which were the major and the most ap­propriate ones in that period of psychology (primarily because objective methods were physiological). Snegirev believed that “the introspective method for a psy­chologist ... was the same scientific method as an experimental method for a physi­cist” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 142).

Subsequently Snegirev returned to the metaphysical position that he had held at the beginning of his scientific journey: “The human being, at all stages of his development, is always a mystic at heart, a mystic by nature” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 148). Considering himself a scientist-mystic, he equally hated the metaphysics both of idealism and strictly positive philosophy.

To his late philosophizing can be referred the statement that psychology is a central science in philosophy, “the results of which justify and define general philosophical knowledge” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 150). Snegirev began to develop the position that philosophy can be reduced to the study of consciousness, i.e., the psychology of consciousness. “The ideas of subject and object, matter and spirit, space and time, the origins of the absolute – all of these can be reduced to the psychological base and if it is not completely, exclusively resolved by means of psychology, at least it is substantially prepared for such resolution” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 151). Unfortunately, Veniamin Alekseevich did not leave us his complete philosophical concept.

Bibliography of Snegirev’s work

Nesmelov noted with regret that Snegirev had no habit of “recording in print what­ever he had done, and thus he published little” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 97). Neverthe­less, here is a list of his scientific works that we have found:

  1. The doctrine of the person of the Lord Jesus Christ in the first three centuries of Christianity (1870)
  2. Spiritualism as a philosophical and religious doctrine (1871)
  3. Belief in dreams and interpretation of dreams (1874)
  4. Psychology and logic as philosophical sciences (1876)
  5. Sciences about the human being (1876)
  6. Sleep and dreams (1875, 1876)
  7. Physiological teaching about sleep and dreams (1882, 1884)
  8. Psychological works of Aristotle (1885)
  9. Teaching of sleep and dreams. historical and critical essay (1886)
  10. Metaphysics and philosophy (1890)
  11. About the nature of human knowledge and its relation to objective being (1891)
  12. Self-awareness and personality (1891)
  13. Substantiality of the human soul (1891)
  14. Moral feeling (experience of psychological analysis) (1891)
  15. The heart and its life (1892)
  16. Psychology. Systematic course of readings on psychology (1893)
  17. Logic (1901).

Snegirev and European and American philosophers of the end of the 19th century

The end of the 19th century was a key time for the appearance of new philosophi­cal and scientific concepts, emerging out of a crisis of the humanities. To solve the problem of reducing the human spirit to biology and physiology, thinkers designed the concept of the living personality. The European and American representatives of such an approach were Wilhelm Dilthey and William James.

Wilhelm Dilthey (1833–1911) — german philosopher and historian, profes­sor at the University of Berlin, headed the Department of Philosophy. he is famous for his classification of the sciences, in which he included both the natural sciences and the human sciences.

The main results of Dilthey’s and Snegirev’s work occurred in the same histori­cal period, the second half of the 19th century. Their main works came out at the same time — Psychology by Snegirev (2008) was published in 1893, and Dilthey’s Descriptive psychology (2001) was published in 1894.

There are several common areas in their works.

First, both thinkers criticized the existing scientific approaches in psychology.

To overcome reductionism, Dilthey developed “descriptive psychology”, which tended to draw attention to the spiritual life in its immediate content, but not through the prism of hypotheses (Dilthey, 2001, p.10).

Snegirev divided the psychology of the late 19th century into three areas – spir­itualism, materialism, and phenomenalism/empiricism (Snegirev, 2008, p. 38). In his view, each of these approaches has limited views about the soul. The right ap­proach is to combine them and to use each of their advantages.

Second, both Dilthey and Snegirev considered the great role of psychology in the understanding of other humanities (Dilthey, 2001; Snegirev, 1876a,b).

The third commonality and the most significant point in the psychological ap­proaches of Dilthey and Snegirev concerns the objectives of psychology as a science. Dilthey’s Descriptive psychology is a challenge to the positivist, partly physiological, scientific psychology of the 19th century. According to the german philosopher, psychology is a description and an analysis of integration that are available in our life experience (Dilthey, 2001, pp. 20–21).

Snegirev offered a similar definition: psychology is a science of mental life, the phenomena and the data of the internal or external experience (Snegirev, 1876b, p. 427).

Both definitions of psychology offered by these scientists are based on psychic phenomena experienced by everyone. Obviously, the primary method of research for them is introspection.

Now we compare the views of Snegirev and James. William James (1842–1910) — American philosopher and psychologist, was one of the founders and a leading representative of pragmatism and functio­nalism. The two scientists defined psychology in a similar way. James wrote: “ The defi­nition of Psychology may be best given in the words of Professor Ladd, as the de­scription and explanation of states of consciousness as such “ (James, 1992, p. 1). By “states of consciousness”, the American psychologist understood the phenomena given by direct experience. Snegirev offered the following definition: “the subject of psychology is the phenomena of human spiritual life, in experience, available through internal and external observation, and obeying certain laws of origin and existence” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 427). Psychological science is considered as a study of the data of inner experience. These American and Russian thinkers criticized the approach to the soul in which “the soul as an absolute spiritual being with certain faculties of its own by which the several activities of remembering, imagining, rea­soning, willing, etc., were explained” (James, 1911, p. 3). James called this approach “rational psychology”. Snegirev defined such psychology as “spiritualist”, which as­serted that “the soul is of a special origin, different from the body ... as a special spiritual substance...” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 37).

The second general point is the recognition of the inseparability of physiologi­cal processes from psychic phenomena. James pointed out that “all psychic phe­nomena ... are accompanied by a certain kind of bodily process” (James, 1911, p. 4). The Russian scientist wrote: “every mental phenomenon has a connection with any change in the body and in a huge number of cases directly depends on it, as at least one of its reasons” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 47). however, both researchers worried about the notion of an absolute role for physiological processes in the activity of the soul.

Third, James and Snegirev shared the idea that personality is one of the funda­mental properties of consciousness.

Finally, both psychologists developed the concept of “stream of conscious­ness” or continuous change of states of consciousness; however, they had different understandings of this idea. Snegirev noted the continuous turnover of states of consciousness as “the real life of the soul, and together with the expression, the realization of its basic properties is constantly feeling, being aware of its existence and constantly being in activity” (Snegirev, 2008, p. 223). According to James, the “stream” of consciousness means that “consciousness for itself is always something whole, not fragmented into parts” (James, 1911, p. 131).


After such an active life, Snegirev died at the age of 47 on Feb. 16, 1889, of cancer of the esophagus (National Archive of the Republic of Tatarstan; Snegirev, 2008, p. 11). Nesmelov was the author of his teacher’s obituary (Nesmelov, 1889).

With no exaggeration, we can say that Snegirev made a great contribution to the development of psychology in the late 19th century, as well as to metaphysi­cal philosophy and logic. his exciting lectures at the Kazan Theological Academy helped to produce such a great figure of Russian philosophy as V.I. Nesmelov. And Snegirev may have been the forerunner of the psychological concepts of Russian scientists of the 20th century. The latter thesis is worthy of further study.

We would like to finish this paper with the sincere and vivid words of his disci­ple V.I. Nesmelov: “A highly educated mystic, he was looking for the living god, the eternally living human personality, and the higher world that is outside the sensual, phenomenal existence, and he demanded real proof of all of these, but not those of­fered by scholasticism and idealism. As a mystic, he demanded the reform of these valuable representations for human in accordance with the changed concept of the physical universe, and dedicated his life to finding the necessary scientific resources for this huge reform” (Nesmelov, 1889, p. 154).


We are indebted to N.Yu. Stoyukhina for the idea of studying Snegirev and his works, and the Main Archive Department under the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Tatarstan and the Central Archive of Nizhni Novgorod region for ar­chival materials.


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To cite this article: Mazilov V.A., Kostrigin A.A. (2017). The work of V.A. Snegirev: An historical and psychological study. Psychology in Russia: State of the Art, 10(1), 198-210.

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