The loyal dissident: N.A. Bernstein and the double-edged sword of Stalinism

O.G. Meijer, S.M. Bruijn

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    Nikolai Aleksandrovich Bernstein (1896-1966) studied movement in order to understand the brain. Contra Pavlov, he saw movements (thus, the brain) as coordinated. For Bernstein, the cortex was a stochastic device; the more cortexes an animal species has, the more variable its actions will be. Actions are planned with a stochastic "model of the future," and relevance is established through blind mathematical search. In the 1950 neoPavlovian affair, he came under strong attack and had to stop experimenting. It is argued that the consistency of his work derived both from both dialectical materialism and the relentless attacks of the neoPavlovians. Copyright © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)206-224
    JournalJournal of the History of the Neurosciences
    Issue number1-2
    Publication statusPublished - 2007


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