Approaching Pavlov’s exams..the path of knowledge has no end


Ivan Pavlov is the son of Tsar Alexander II’s “Great Reforms” (1855-1881), who emancipated the Serbs, reformed the judiciary and education system, gave them the freedom to form associations, newspapers and lectures, and eased travel restrictions in Western Europe. . Therefore, the sciences were raised to a high level, with the aim of strengthening the Russian economy and culture and modernizing the army.

At that time, many scientists saw in modern science a cognitive tool that helps them to present a comprehensive physical view of the world, based on the investigation of the properties of matter and the laws of nature. They also saw that they could liberate the Russian people from the superstitious ideas associated with the Church and the Tsar.

Many of them worked to replace the scientific explanation of evolution and the myth of metaphysical ideas, as was the case with scientific studies on the human brain, which contributed to the siege of belief in the immortal human soul … In addition to renewed achievements in chemistry, the discovery of the law of conservation of energy … as well as the continuous flow of information provided by physiologists about the human body.

Ivan Pavlov lived in a scientific environment with high skills and achievements, near his university, chemist Dmitriy Mendeleev (owner of the periodic table of elements, which is still approved today) continues his work and research, and botanist Andrei Pekinov investigates. plants of Russia, classifies and studies their properties and completes the research of physiologist Ivan Sechenov on cells and living tissues … His constant readings in the university library convinced him of Pisarev’s motto: “Nature is not a cathedral, a place of sanctification., but a workshop of knowledge and discovery ”.

In 1885 he worked at the Prince Oldenbogsky Institute of Experimental Medicine, which paved the way for him to enter the Military Medical Academy, two scientific places whose good income helped solve his chronic financial problems and opened up research opportunities. , surgical operations and tests.

Ivan Pavlov doubled his lab after Alfred Nobel (who made a fortune after the discovery of dynamite) donated enough money, hoping physiologists would study his health problems, which included indigestion and a systematic decline in vitality, using grant to build a new laboratory. as he was dreaming, and devoted a portion to performing the tests, a section to surgery and to treating the dogs, and a third to housing them.

His successive tests followed the achievement of the “conditioned reflex,” which has always been associated with the causal link between serving food or the presence of the presenter and salivation, and with constant experimentation was shown that this action is able. of extinction and regression, when the same movements are repeated without ending them serving food.Police … But he did not notice that dogs themselves can deceive their owners and subject them to a conditioned reflex when they bark . to suggest the arrival of a stranger or a thief … which motivates their owners to stop what they are doing and go out to check on the place … to discover that the dogs are barking for no reason. , or perhaps to convince their owners that they are making an effort for the food they give them.

Pavlov did not study “rage” and treated the infected with it, with the achievements of the French scientist Louis Pasteur, and we did not learn from him about this condition affecting the dog and its transformation from a peaceful domestic dog into one. rabid killer dog, a condition that can help after being transferred to social applications, contributing to aggressive and wild sound.

The flooding of the Neva River in September 1924, which caused the flooding of the laboratories of St. Petersburg and Pavlov, prompted him to make progress towards his next discovery, an “experimental nervous disorder” … as some dogs recovered from the effects of the flood. shock, while the others the other was forever affected and could not escape from its terrible effects, so they abstained from food and showed signs of fear and tendency to withdraw and after that died.


Pavlov did not notice the dogs as a group, but isolated and treated them as single dogs, almost imprisoned in his laboratories, despite the breathing space and daily walks he liked, instructing his assistants to arrive. as it was not in the beginning. proved that dogs as animal species, but rather their digestive system.

After a series of long experiments it became clear that the digestive system is not studied by itself. There are many factors that contribute to the secretion of digestive fluids, mood and exchanges between types of foods such as meat. bread and milk … which opened the door to the study of appetite and its stimulants.

After that, he became convinced that different dogs like different foods, and that their dog’s favorite food changes from day to day and from moment to moment … Also, some dogs are more greedy for food than others. , and some dogs are controlled by an “imaginary world”, so you see them secreting their gastric juices, simply looking at the food or crossing the person in charge to feed it … Also, bleeding dogs from pain and are sick do not enjoy what they eat. and do not secrete appetite fluids that show this, and other dogs do not start excreting their gastric juices until food enters their mouth, and some feel offended if I do not feed it … To these factors are added “personality being “and temperament. An unexpected element in the digestive mechanism, as most foods cannot be digested without the inclusion of appetite fluids, or else they will stay in the stomach until they are broken down.

Ivan Pavlov (second from right)

These questions prompted Ivan Pavlov to explore the limits of mechanical materialism or algebraic knowledge (i.e., research that subjects cognitive processes to the strictest laws of physics) and worked to overcome them, through a path made by experience and scientific research, not the premeditated positions that the researcher has held from the soothing laziness of his research subject, is an essential feature for the real researcher, who subjects his research to new tests, information, facts and daily experiences he encounters and works to analyze them and produce new ones. knowledge of them. Which pushed him again, to torpedo his previous belief, that psychology and what results from it could not be studied scientifically. So how can we approach the thoughts, emotions, mood and imagination of an animal …? Man expresses his thoughts and emotions in language, dreams and signs. He can expand his high stylistic expression using metaphors and parables, to enter the space of literature, music and various visual arts.

He asked himself, what if we gave a piece of meat to a dog, and he turned his head from it … Do you see what he thought or felt? He may think the dog is not hungry or does not like meat, or he thinks the owner is making fun of him, and maybe insults him.

Pavlov wanted to make psychology an object of study, to reach the foundations of human thoughts and emotions. What makes them love and hate, cooperate or make wars? What makes them generous and noble, stingy and vile? … The scientific understanding of the human psyche will allow people to change themselves and their living conditions for the better, down to the last of these questions which he did not cease to ask. thinking and talking about him, and which caused sharp disagreements with his religious wife, whom I feared his research weakened religion and morals, and she had tried to persuade him to accompany her to church, but he resolutely refused and remained in its depths. belief, based on considering the religious as “weak types” of human beings, unable to cope with life without illusory beliefs, despite the fact that he maintained until the last day of life respect for the cultural role of religion.

Many questions will seem to have transcended the world of dogs, namely the world of irrational creatures, and pushed, to answer them, into cooperation and communication through a language that both parties to the test understand and express, viz. , to leave the world of animals and to question the world of free people.


Ivan Pavlov experienced two qualitative events in the early twentieth century, the first of which was World War I in 1914, which carried with it the vanguard of death for the Tsarist Empire, after discovering its weakness and inability to fight for a time. long. war, and this was reflected in its army, whose morale collapsed under the pressure of cold, hunger and weak armament and ammunition.

The second was the October Revolution of 1917, which brought with it great promises of peace, land and bread, i.e. work to stop the war and to distribute the land of the large landowners to the peasants and to provide life for the people under the protection of the socialists. laws. But soon civil war broke out between the Red Army, the military vehicle of the revolution, and the White Army, the military vehicle of the Tsarist regime backed by a broad imperialist alliance, and the civil war lasted for more than two years. the end of which was won by the Red Army.

The war left catastrophic consequences for all of Russia, as it lost its best sons – nearly twenty million – in World War I and the ensuing civil war, as well as the destruction of homes, buildings, roads, and railways. , industry and agriculture, the spread of famine and epidemics and the displacement of millions of families from the country.

These conditions brought the lives of Pavlov and his family to the brink of starvation and nervous crisis, and his scientific projects to the brink of utter despair, as the dogs of his experiments died of starvation and the departure of most of his aides, which that pushed him. to think about emigrating to Europe and for this he wrote a message to the Bolshevik government: “Work has become impossible.” Because life has become impossible “, the letter reached Vladimir Lenin, who after reading it decided” that Russia can not accept to leave the country such a scientist and he must be supported with everything he needs to live comfortably and for successfully worked ”.

Ivan Pavlov retained his deep critical convictions of the Bolshevik experience, despite the great and open support he gave: “We live under the authority of a cruel principle, where the state is everything, and the individual is nothing, and it is natural that this turns the masses into an inert mass “, but nevertheless Pavlov’s laboratories flourished and he continued with his strong convictions of science as” the great fundamental power of human beings “, always assuring his students and assistants that there is an end to the path of knowledge ”, and betting on science as a way out of depression, and shame, in the context of human relations.

Pavlov died on February 27, 1936, after a violent attack of pneumonia, and was mourned by thousands in Leningrad-St. Petersburg, not only as a scholar, but as a hero and national symbol.

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