Biosemiotics

http://link.springer.com/journal/12304

List of Papers (Total 58)

On Mimicry, Signs and Other Meaning-Making Acts. Further Studies in Iconicity

In an earlier paper, I set out to apply to animal mimicry the definition of the sign, and, more specifically, of the iconic sign, which I originally elaborated in the study of pictures, and which was then extended by myself and others to language, gesture, and music. The present contribution, however, while summarizing some of the results of those earlier studies, is dedicated to...

Qualitative Attribution, Phenomenal Experience and Being

I argue that the physiological, phenomenal and conceptual constitute a trichotomous hierarchy of emergent categories. I claim that each category employs a distinctive type of interactive mechanism that facilitates a meaningful kind of environmental discourse. I advocate, therefore, that each have a causal relation with the environment but that their specific class of mechanism...

Time from Semiosis: E-series Time for Living Systems

We develop a semiotic scheme of time, in which time precipitates from the repeated succession of punctuating the progressive tense by the perfect tense. The underlying principle is communication among local participants. Time can thus be seen as a meaning-making, semiotic system in which different time codes are delineated, each having its own grammar and timekeeping. The four...

Mental Misrepresentation in Non-human Psychopathology

In this paper, we defend a representational approach to at least some kinds of non-human psychopathology. Mentally-ill non-human minds, in particular in delusions, obsessive-compulsive disorders and similar cognitive states, are traditionally understood in purely behavioral terms. In contrast, we argue that non-human mental psychopathology should be at least sometimes not only...

Is Empiricism Empirically False? Lessons from Early Nervous Systems

Recent work on skin-brain thesis (de Wiljes et al. 2015; Keijzer 2015; Keijzer et al. 2013) suggests the possibility of empirical evidence that empiricism is false. It implies that early animals need no traditional sensory receptors to be engaged in cognitive activity. The neural structure required to coordinate extensive sheets of contractile tissue for motility provides the...

Genetic Engineering and Human Mental Ecology: Interlocking Effects and Educational Considerations

This paper describes some likely semiotic consequences of genetic engineering on what Gregory Bateson has called “the mental ecology” (1979) of future humans, consequences that are less often raised in discussions surrounding the safety of GMOs (genetically modified organisms). The effects are as follows: an increased 1) habituation to the presence of GMOs in the environment, 2...

The Semiosis of “Side Effects” in Genetic Interventions

Genetic interventions, which include transgenic engineering, gene editing, and other forms of genome modification aimed at altering the information “in” the genetic code, are rapidly increasing in power and scale. Biosemiotics offers unique tools for understanding the nature, risks, scope, and prospects of such technologies, though few in the community have turned their attention...

The Application of the Acoustic Complexity Indices (ACI) to Ecoacoustic Event Detection and Identification (EEDI) Modeling

In programs of acoustic survey, the amount of data collected and the lack of automatic routines for their classification and interpretation can represent a serious obstacle to achieving quick results. To overcome these obstacles, we are proposing an ecosemiotic model of data mining, ecoacoustic event detection and identification (EEDI), that uses a combination of the acoustic...

Vitalism as Pathos

This paper addresses the remarkable longevity (in spite of numerous ‘refutations’) of the idea of vitalism in the biological sciences and beyond. If there is to be a renewed vitalism today, however, we need to ask – on what kind of original conception of life should it be based? This paper argues that recent invocations of a generalized, processual variety of vitalism in the...

Virus is a Signal for the Host Cell

Currently, the concept of the cell as a society or an ecosystem of molecular elements is gaining increasing acceptance. The basic idea arose in the 19th century, from the surmise that there is not just a single unit underlying an individual’s appearance, but a plurality of entities with both collaborative and conflicting relationships. The following hypothesis is based around...

DNA Dispose, but Subjects Decide. Learning and the Extended Synthesis

Adaptation by means of natural selection depends on the ability of populations to maintain variation in heritable traits. According to the Modern Synthesis this variation is sustained by mutations and genetic drift. Epigenetics, evodevo, niche construction and cultural factors have more recently been shown to contribute to heritable variation, however, leading an increasing...

The Natural Emergence of (Bio)Semiosic Phenomena

Biological organisms appear to have agency, goals, and meaningful behaviour. One possibility is that this is mere appearance, where such properties are not real, but only ‘as if’ consequences of the physiological structure of organisms. Another possibility is that these properties are real, as emerging from the organism's structure and from how the organism interacts with its...

Language Evolution: Why Hockett’s Design Features are a Non-Starter

The set of design features developed by Charles Hockett in the 1950s and 1960s remains probably the most influential means of juxtaposing animal communication with human language. However, the general theoretical perspective of Hockett is largely incompatible with that of modern language evolution research. Consequently, we argue that his classificatory system—while useful for...

Introduction: Toward a Definition of Biosemiosic Chance

In this special issue, our objective is to clarify what biosemioticians may mean insofar as they claim that living systems are capable of making choices or that biosemiotic interpretations are partially indeterminate. A number of different senses of the term “chance” are discussed as we move toward a consensus. We find that biosemiosic chance may arise out of conditions involving...