Vellansky, Danylo

Vellansky, Danylo [Велланський, Данило; Vellans'kyj] (real name: Кавунник; Kavunnyk), b 11 December 1774 in Borzna, Nizhyn regiment, d 15 March 1847 in Saint Petersburg. Physician and philosopher. He studied at the Kyivan Mohyla Academy (1789), at the Saint Petersburg Medico-Surgical Academy (1796–1802), and abroad in Jena and Würzburg, where he attended lectures by Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph von Schelling and L. Oken. After returning to Saint Petersburg in 1805, he served as a lecturer and eventually professor (1814–37) at the Medico-Surgical Academy. He wrote, in Russian, over 20 works on medicine, physics, and philosophy, including books on medicine as a fundamental science (1805), physiology (1812), Oken’s system (1815), and experimental, observational, and speculative physics (1831). Vellansky accepted Schelling’s Naturphilosophie uncritically and applied his chief ideas (ie, the unity and evolution of nature, the struggle of opposites, and the three-stage dialectic) to systematize the empirical materials in medicine, physiology, and physics. In epistemology he admitted the need for experience but stressed the contribution of reason. His writings influenced the Russian thinkers M. Pavlov and V. Odoevsky, as well as Mykhailo Maksymovych and some Ukrainian Romantics. Vellansky and his contributions are discussed in Z. Kamensky’s book on Russian philosophy and Schelling (Moscow 1980).

[This article originally appeared in the Encyclopedia of Ukraine, vol. 5 (1993).]

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