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Boris Grigoryevitch Yudin - Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences passed away on August 6, 2017 following a lengthy illness.



Boris Yudin
14 August 1943 - 6 August 2017

Boris Grigoryevitch Yudin - Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Chief Researcher of the Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics Department in the Institute of Philosophy of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Editor-in-Chief of the journal Chelovek (Human Studies) - passed away on August 6, 2017 following a lengthy illness. Boris Yudin was a prominent specialist in the field of philosophy and methodology of science and was the founder of bioethics in Russia.

Boris Yudin was born on August 14, 1943 in Moscow. His elder brother Eric played a great role in the life path of Boris. In 1956, while a philosophy lecturer, Eric Yudin, publicly denounced the Russian invasion of Hungary. This resulted in Eric’s employment termination, loss of membership in the Communist party, subsequent arrest by the KGB and imprisonment. At that time, Boris Yudin was a high school student and he has his family suffered through these horrible events together. In March 1960, Eric was finally released from prison after numerous petitions from his parents.

In 1961, Boris Yudin enrolled at the Moscow Higher Technical School. In those years Eric Yudin started attending seminars of the Moscow Methodological Group headed by Georgy Shchedrovitsky. Eric invited Boris to participate in theses MMG seminars and introduced him to the major philosophical issues of the 1960s Gradually Eric became more interested in system research, and in cooperation with Igor Blauberg and Vadim Sadovskiy, pioneered system approach research in the USSR. Eric also invited Boris to participate in this research. Subsequently Boris developed his own interests in self-organization topics.

In 1969, Boris Yudin became employed by the Concrete Social Research Institute of the USSR Academy of Sciences and entered a PhD program at the Institute for the History of Science and Technology of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Since the very beginning of Yudin's scientific journey, his devotion to system and self-organizational research led him into the field of interdisciplinary research. These disciplines determined the nature of his scientific creativity, despite periodical shifts in priorities of scientific interests. In 1971, Boris Yudin passed this Ph.D. defense on self-organization in the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences.
 Boris Yudin’s first publications were rejected by the ruling ideology. High-ranked party functionaries accused him of promoting post-industrialism and convergence with capitalism. Boris Yudin received protection from a prominent Soviet philosopher and party functionary Ivan Frolov, who invited Boris to work in the Voprosy Filosofii (Philosophical Issues) academic journal. In those years philosophical issues were explored by quite a large audience. Ivan Frolov, as the editor-in-chief, consistently promoted a political perspective of destalinization philosophy, thus enhancing the professional level of publications. The development of international contacts and exploration of the limitations of dogmatic Marxism, expanded the topics discussed in the journal. The scope of interests included analyses of the multi-disciplinary problems arising within various scientific fields, resulting in a growth of knowledge of humanity within these multiple fields. For several years, Boris Yudin continued his legendary work by editing this renowned publication. Through these efforts, he contributed to the introduction of philosophy of science as a concept into the Russian philosophical thesaurus.

Starting in 1977, Boris Yudin worked in the Department of Methodological Problems at the History of Science at the Institute of History of Natural Science and Technology of the USSR Academy of Sciences. He analyzed the potential interactions between scientific fields, and eventually became associated with the emergence of new forms of scientific integration. The focus of his scientific interests shifted from the problems of science methodology towards the problems of sociology and ethics of science. His first article on the ethical problems of genetics was published in Philosophical Issues in 1975.

In 1985, Boris Yudin defended his doctoral thesis. In 1987, he became the editor-in-chief of the Issues in the History of Science and Technology journal (Voprosi istorii nauki I techniki).  By 1989 he chaired the Department of Social and Ethical Issues of Science in the Institute of Philosophy of the USSR Academy of Sciences. Through his work at the Institute and in his role of editor-in-chief, Boris Yudin concentrated on challenging and discussing social and cultural problems of scientific development. Following Boris Yudin and Vadim Rabinovich’s initiative, and with the support of Ivan Frolov, the editorial stuff held a round table discussion in the Central House of Writers devoted to the complex and infamous historical surrounding Soviet genetics and their generally fictional scientific basis. Then a round table discussion devoted to the consequences of 1950 Pavlovian joint session of the USSR Academy of Sciences and USSR Academy of Medical Sciences was held (the Pavlovian session resulted in the self-exclusion of Soviet physiology from the international scientific community for many years). In 1990, the first issue of "Chelovek" (Human Studies), an academic journal, was published. Boris Yudin was the editor-in-chief of the journal from its inception to the last days of his life. This "Human Studies" journal is an important factor in the development of Russian humanities research.

In the 1980’s, Boris Yudin provided great contributions to elaborating the problems of cognitive and axiological aspects of scientific knowledge, and to the study of the development of science as a social and cultural phenomenon. In the 1980’s,  a number of his studies were summarized in a joint publication with Ivan Frolov,  The Ethics of Science - the first monographic research of such a kind in the USSR scientific literature specifically dedicated to the ethical problems of science. This book by Ivan Frolov and Boris Yudin remains the only example of such a comprehensive and fundamental research on ethics of science in the Russian philosophical literature. In 2009, the book was republished with updated analyses.

Through his scholarly activities and his incisive analytical skills, Boris Yudin is considered a leader of Russian bioethics. In 1990, Boris Yudin participated in a delegation which visited several prominent bioethical centers in the United States (e.g., The Hastings Center, Kennedy Institute of Ethics at Georgetown University and some others). In 1991, he delivered the first course of lecturers on bioethics in Russia at the Faculty of Philosophy of Lomonosov Moscow State University. In 1992, a Department of Bioethics was established in the Institute of Human Studies (Institut Chelovecka) of The Russian Academy of Sciences. On the invitation of Ivan Frolov, Boris Yudin became the head of this department. The bioethics department was one of the most active units of the Institute of Human Studies. This department conducted research on the issues of informed consent, ethical problems of animal experimentation, and the ethical aspects of new childbearing technologies. Together with the Russian National Committee on Bioethics,  research was carried out on the social and ethical issues that arose during the implementation of the Human Genome Project.

Humanitarian expertise was another sphere of the Institute of Human Studies activities in which Boris Yudin actively participated. His team prepared expert reports for governmental bodies and international organizations. The project Human Potential of Russia was initially developed in the Institute of Human Studies under the guidance of Boris Yudin.

In 2005-2013, Boris Yudin led the Department of Complex Problems of Human Studies in the Institute of Philosophy of Sciences, then he worked as a research fellow in the Humanitarian Expertise and Bioethics Department. Boris Yudin made a decisive contribution to the establishment of bioethics as a scientific area and discipline in Russia. He taught many young talented specialists in the field of philosophical bioethics. Boris Yudin organized a number of bioethical conferences and workshops with international participation. Several projects on humanitarian problems of biology and medicine were implemented in the Institute of Fundamental and Applied Research of Moscow University for the Humanities, based on grants from the Russian State Fund for Science and Technology, the Russian Foundation for Basic Research, UNESCO, and the Russian Science Foundation.
Furthermore, Professor Yudin was recognized by major international institutions for his work in the field of bioethics. Starting in 1998, Boris Yudin became an expert representing Russia, and from 2000 to 2004 he was a member of the steering committee of Bureau of the Council of Europe's Bioethics Committee. He participated in the development and adoption of protocols regulating the use of genetics in medicine, research on humans and organ transplantation. His work included reports to the World Bioethical Congresses. In addition, Professor Yudin also served as the Vice-Chairman, of the Russian Committee on Bioethics within the Commission of the Russian Federation for UNESCO.  In 2011 Professor Yudin was appointed to US Presidential Commission for the Study of Bioethical Issues.  His membership in the International Research Panel resulted in a publication which explored the standards for human subjects research based on events which occurred in Guatemala in the 1940s.
In his most recent work, Boris Yudin paid considerable attention to the ethical regulation of the biotechnological human "enhancement", the imperative of conscientiousness in research and understanding philosophy as a foundational expertise.  His standards for academic excellence, scholastic generosity and benevolent mentorship will echo through the work of generations of students.

Colleagues loved Boris Yudin for his openness, benevolence, sense of humor and willingness to help. All those who ever knew him, will forever cherish the memory of him.



Personal memories of Boris Yudin:

Susan M. Miller MD. Professor Boris G. Yudin.

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Boris Grigoryevitch Yudin - Doctor of Philosophy, Professor, Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences passed away on August 6, 2017 following a lengthy illness.
14 August 1943 - 6 August 2017

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