Concluding that semiosis and life are coextensive, biose-miotics starts from the development and application of models of semiosis for description of various biological phenomena.
This includes the organism's distinction between inside and outside, or biosemiotic self; semiotic concept of species; intra- and interspecies communication; developmental processes as processes of organic interpretation; etc.
There exist three main levels of semiotic processes -vegetative, animal, and rational. 'Vegetative' semiosis occurs in all organisms and is based on iconic relations.
Table 1 Relationships between the two types of sciences, physical and semiotic, as applied in ecology
Objects (models) of study
Features of objects (models)
Methods of study
Natural sciences Study of quantities Physical ecology Biophysics
Physical space Nontextual or detextualized Things and interactions Laws
Transformations Quantities 'Multiple' objects World as nonliving
Commensurability Context independence No errors in nature
Measurements Experimental From outside
By independent researcher Reductionism Statistical tests
Sciences of meaning Study of qualitative diversity Semiotic ecology Biosemiotics
Semiotic space, semiosphere Textual or textualized Signs and semioses Codes, habits
Translations, interpretations Qualitative diversity 'Unique' objects Living world
Incommensurability Context dependence Fallibilism
It is responsible for various forms of recognition and categorization (speciation; formation of tissues in multicellular organisms; perceptual categorization). 'Animal' semiosis is basically indexical; it is responsible for diverse forms of association, coexistence, and prediction. 'Rational' or human semiosis adds the ability for free combination; it is based on symbolic reference. Thus, the different levels of semiosis can be seen as the different types of arrangements of the matter as organized by the sign processes. Adult human organisms include all three levels of semiosis.
The main principles of biosemiotics have been formulated in the works of T. A. Sebeok, F. S. Rothschild, J. Hoffmeyer, and others.
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