Jesper Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics
University of Scranton Press 2008

Hoffmeyer Biosemiotics :

Jesper Hoffmeyer's book is an excellent introduction to biosemiotic thinking, to overcoming the trap of Cartesian dualism

Jesper Hoffmeyer

pg. 3/4
How can signification arise out of something that signifies nothing?
...The thought of "nothingness” is quite mind-boggling: an almost impossible concept...Envisaging absolute "nothingness” is a logical maneuver that human beings are born to master. This maneuvre lies hidden within the tiny word "not”. Logic demands that if we can picture something that exists, a snail on a path for example, then we must also be capable of imagining the possibility that there is not a snail on the path. Hence,
if we can envisage the universe, we must be able to envisage the concept of nothingness

  On Nature's tendency to acquire habits 

  On the sensory universe of creatures: 
The liberation of the semiosphere


The semiosphere is a sphere just like the athmosphere and the biosphere. It penetrates to every corner of these other spheres, incorporating all forms of communication: sounds, smells, movements, colors, shapes, electrical fields, thermal radiation, waves of all kinds, chemical signals, touching, and so on. In short, signs of life.

Abstract:  Von Foerster has suggested the Möbius strip as a topological representation of the kind of logic pertaining to self- referential cybernetic systems. The Mobius strip offers the conceptual categories of an outside interior and an inside exterior. It is suggested that these categories are realized in natural cybernetic systems through semiotic loops integrating self-reference and other-reference. Autopoiesis and semiosis are supplementary categories. Living systems may be seen as consisting essentially of surfaces inside other surfaces. 

The closure of a membrane around some autocatalytic chemical reaction system is an attractive candidate for a first step towards the origin of a living system. 

A spheric surface defines an inside-outside asymmetry and opens the possibility for communicative activity across the membrane. If some modest kind of co-operation arose in populations of closed surfaces these surfaces might become interfaces for real communication. 

Two further steps would be needed for these surfaces to become true anticipatory biological systems. The surface and its internal autocatalytic system would have to produce a written (digital) record of ist own components, and the surface would have to devise means for controlling the translation process whereby components are produced. 

Only in this way can the surface become a temporal being, an autonomous agent capable of making distinctions and engaging itself in future-oriented internal or external modification. Such a system has been termed a code-dual system.

Index Semiotics
Umschrift: Wisdom of Insecurity