Jesper Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics
University of Scranton Press 2008

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics
Preface XIV
Keywords:
intentionality of communicative behaviour, semiosis, reference, striving, meaning, me-ness, object-ified biological robots, or zombies

XIV
No behaviour is likely to evolve in the mechanical world that significantly lowers the fitness of phenotypes. This is an extremely important insight - but it should not blind us to the deeper questions surrounding the ubiquitous intentionality of communicative behaviour. Living creatures are not just senseless units in the survival game; they also experience life...Organisms strive, and this striving - a word Darwin did not himself shy away from using - cannot be set aside in any genuine attempt to understand the workings of animal natural systems. Making scientifically responsible sense of this „striving“ is one of the challenges that the emerging scientific field called biosemiotics sets out to accept, and it does so by presenting an understanding that biological communication is more than just machine-like exchange of information.
XVI An evolutionary theory that does not give us any tools to see how such a question can be meaningfully answered leaves us as object-ified biological robots, or zombies. I must assert upfront that I firmly believe that neither the reader nor I are, in fact, such zombies - and consequently, that a decent biology must search for the evolutionary route forms of what it is to be an „I“, or first person singularis.

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics 4
On Biosemiotics
Keywords:
semiosis, the semiotic dynamic, process philosophy, Ch.S.Peirce, semiosphere, symbolic reference - Terrence Deacon , semiotic relationships

According to the biosemiotic perspective, living nature is understood as essentially driven by, or actually consisting of,
semiosis, that is to say, processes of sign relations and their signification - or function - in the biological processes of life.

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics17
Surfaces within Surfaces
Keywords:
Biological Membranes, triadic sign processes, the triadic logic of sign relations, generation of meaning, Dualism, psychophysical unity, semiotic freedom, sensation, organismic „purposes“, The Self, subjectivity is bodily, life's agency, autocatalytic and agentive self-existing systems.

20 It it is necessary to integrate the stereognostic sense with all the remaining senses to create an optimal picture of what is taking place. This involves a long chain of interpretations, or interpretants in the sequential order of
triadic sign processes
24 Because biosemiotics considers human mental processes not as unique phenomena in the ontological sense, but rather as extremely interesting extensions of a much more general mood of biological organisation and interaction that human beings share with all other living creatures
25 The self exists only insofar as that which is inside contains an intentionality toward or reference to that which is outside -an aboutness, as it is often called. But this outward reference rests upon a corresponding inward reference, such that one could say that other-reference presupposes self-reference.

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics 39
Final Causes
Keywords:
voluntarism, determinism - final causes; goal-oriented activity in nature; functionality has its roots in the universe‘s fundamental directedness; On information - biochemical information; Shannon information;
Semiosis and Finality; the law of mind (Peirce) - „the tendency (of things) to take habits“ (CP 1.409) - or, in more modern parlance, self-organisation (the tendency for ever new regularities to arising natural systems);
cosmogonic philosophy; semiotic causality - directionality;
Peirce: Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness - Relations;

40 The extraordinary difficulty that philosophers and natural scientists have had in following Peirce along this path is attribuable to the fact that the Cartesian body mind dualism - from which the nature-culture split is born - entirely lacks a
concept of purpose that can free itself from its uniquely human connotations.
66 Relations of Thirdness occur in and with the establishment of a connection between the
universe of possibilities that is Firstness and the plethora of events that is secondness. Thus, relationships of Thirdness emerge as habits, whereby quality and quantity are themselves put together in a relationship. Cultural, linguistic, and biological habits are all thus relationships of Thirdness.
68
Semiosis, sign action, is necessarily embedded in sensory material processes, and therefore has both a dynamic side, which allows a process of communications to take place, and a complimentary logical, or mediating side. The first of these sides stands under the force of efficient causality, and the second expresses the controlling agency of final causation.

213 Endosemiotics
Keywords:
function of sensation, semiotic emergence, Cognition and Semiotic Emergence, narrative thinking, mimetic culture, Proprioception - the sources of psychsomatic integration, Other-reference and self-reference, confusing first person experience and third person experience, qualia, mental life.

213
Endosemiotics- sign processes within the body
.
242 The bodily Psyche
Not many people nowadays seriously deny that body and mind are two deeply integrated aspects of human life. And since one can hardly quarrel with one's wife or play chess while unconscious, it is difficult also to deny that this whole business of what we call human consciousness is effectively part and parcel of the slimy dynamics of the body's incessant corporal functioning. The question remains, though: how can this possibly be?
The Australian-American philosopher David Chalmers has introduced a distinction between the soft problems and the hard problem that need to be explained in accounting for this consciousness - and his distinction has become a standard one in the cognitive sciences and in the philosophy of mind. The soft problems concerning the questions on the mechanics of how the brain manages to integrate and process its electrochemical data. Finding the answer to these problems may take decades, but will not, according to Chalmers, forces to break with any already fully accepted explanatory principles. However solving the hard problem will, for the hard problem consists in explaining why brain processes are so often accompanied by an experienced inner life.

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics 265
From Animal to Human
Keywords:
anthroposemiotics - biosemiosis; Deely: Thing - Object: a linguistic Lebenswelt; levels of sign process; linguistic reference - symbolic reference, indexical reference;

The human talent for semiosis is not miraculous and cannot be absolutely unique in the world of living organisms, for such talent must necessarily have arisen through an evolutionary process involving prior life forms. The branches of semiotic enquiry that are concerned with the practices of the human species should therefore be delimited as anthroposemiotics - the study of the particularly human forms of sign use, especially as these might differ from other naturally existing sign systems. This, however, immediately raises the question to be discussed in the present chapter: How is such anthroposemiosis evolutionary connected to a more general biosemiosis?

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics 336
Cognitive Science
Keywords:
Cognitive Science: perception, categorisation, language, memory, and thought, power of computer modelling, the symbol crunching-paradigm of cognition and language use, zombies, evolutionary problem of deriving first-person phenomena, human experiential and conscious life, Peircian cosmology.

336
Cognitive Science
The term cognitive science initially referred to an attempt to produce a cross-disciplinary research area that could unite insights from formerly separate research fields, each concerned with their own special aspect of the cognitive processes - such as perception, categorisation, language, memory, and thought. The term still has the ring of a belief in computer models as a means for simulating cognitive processes, the belief that in the 1980s and 1990s was yet sufficiently untested to support the cross-disciplinary optimism. It is undeniable that the cross-disciplinary undertaking is absolutely necessary if genuinely new understandings are to be produced in this area, but I find it misguided to build this impression upon a belief in the all embracing power of computer modelling.
337 ... these universals do not - as the Chomsky school has claimed so ardently - mirror any logical context-free syntactic rules that might lend themselves to simulations on the computer. Instead, they reflect dynamic traits in the biological functionality of humans as interacting organisms.
Yet, while dynamical systems theory thus puts cognition back into the biological organism (i.e., into the body) where it obviously belongs, the dynamicists themselves do not incorporate first-persons perspectives into their understanding of cognition. Dynamicists therefore, no less than their adversaries in the Chomsky camp, appear to have cut themselves off from explaining why humans are not just zombies (to use the expression that has become standard in philosophical discussions of these matters).

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics Quotes


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