Yuli (Julius) Schreider: Biographic notes


Yuli Schreider was born in Dnepropetrovsk (Russia). He graduated from Moscow State University in 1946 majoring in mathematics. He got a PhD degree from Moscow State University in 1950, and defended his Doctor of Science dissertation (this is a higher degree than PhD in Russia) "Gnoseological features of contemporary science in the light of system theory" in 1981.

Most of his carreer he worked at the Allunion Institute of Scientific and Technological Information at the Department of Semiotics. He taught lecture courses at the Department of Mechanics and Mathematics and Department of Linguistics, Moscow State University. Since 1991 he worked as a prophessor at the College of Catholic Theology. He was selected a member of the Russian Academy of Natural Sciences.

Yuli Schreider was influenced by Russian biologist and philosopher A. A. Liubishchev, who developed methodology for taxonomic analysis. Schreider realized that there is a deep parallelism between systematics and semiotics, a theory of signs. Description of a new taxon is very similar to the development of a new notion in language. Both are based on similarity relationships among objects. This idea turned his interests toward the mathematical theory of relations and models. The second largest intellectual stimulus came from his closest friend, Sergei Meyen, who developed a hierarchical approach to taxonomic similarity. By comparing organisms we simultaneously compare their homological parts, which Meyen called "merons" (meros = part, lat.). Cooperation between Schreider and Meyen resulted in a series of publications on the hierarchical structure of archetypes in taxonomy and language. They both defended the idea that typological approach is justified in systematics even if it may occasionally contradict with evolutionary reconstructions. Deep multilevel similarity is not less important than geneological relatedness.

Taxonomical decisions (i.e., whether an organism belongs to a certain taxon) are based on a large number of characteristics. The decision is made according to the majority of characteristics. This situation is very similar with voting systems in which the majority determines the outcome. Hence, Yuli Schreider became interested in voting systemns and developed an elegant theory of majority structures.

Latest works of Yuli Schreider were focused on the methodology of human knowledge, and science, in particular. He became more involved into activities related to his Roman catholic faith. Hence, he became highly interested in principles of human ethics and published a book on ethics. Yuli Schreider died in his appartment in Moscow in August 1998.

To understand better the social and philosophical background of Schreider's works, I suggest to read "The Phoenix of Philosophy" by Mikhail Epstein.

Major publications of Yuli Schreider

Note: You may find different spellings of Schreider's name in library catalogs: Iulii, Julius, Schreider, etc.

Shreider, Iu. A. 1964. Method of statistical testing, Monte Carlo method. Amsterdam, New York, Elsevier.
Shreider, Iu. A. 1974. What is distance? Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Shreider, Ju. A. 1975. Equality, Resemblance, and Order. MIR, HB.
Frumkina, R. M. and Shreider, Iu. A. 1991. Semantics and categorization. Moskva: Nauka (in Russian).
Shreider, Iu. A. 1984. Sistemity and evolution Moskva: Nauka (in Russian).
Shreider, Iu. A. and A. A. Sharov 1982. Systems and models. Moskva: Radio i sviaz (in Russian).
Shreider, Iu. A. 1997 Science and Circus.

Biosemiotics Homepage
Schreider on system's theory

Alexei Sharov 2/02/1999