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To: Alamo-Girl; StJacques

The biosemiotics approach looks very interesting! Here's a link, to Friedrich Salomon Rothschild, "protosemiotician":

Just found it, and it looks fascinating. I'll need some time to digest it. Maybe you might find it of interest, too?

Wonderful essay, Alamo-Girl! Thank you so very much!

145 posted on 12/14/2004 6:57:22 AM PST by betty boop
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To: betty boop
Thank you so much for the encouragement! And thank you for the link! I'm looking forward to reading it.
146 posted on 12/14/2004 10:28:04 AM PST by Alamo-Girl
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To: betty boop; StJacques; All
Thank you so much for that link! It was a fascinating read. Evidently, Rothschild was the first to coin the term "biosemiotics" and he obviously was addressing spiritual aspects as well as the biological aspects.

For Lurkers, here's some additional information on biosemiotics:


Biosemiotics Guide, Meaning , Facts, Information and Description

Biosemiotics (bios=life & semion=sign) is a growing field that studies the production, action and interpretation of signs in the physical and biologic realm, in an attempt to integrate the findings of scientific biology and semiotics to form a new view of life and meaning as immanent features of the natural world. The term "biosemiotic" was first used by F.S.Rothschild in 1962, but Thomas Sebeok has done much to popularize the term and field.

Thus, biosemiotics is

biology interpreted as sign systems

or, to use a few more words,

the signification, communication and habit formation of living processes

semiosis (changing sign relations) in living nature

the biological basis of all signs and sign interpretation

To define biosemiotics as “biology interpreted as sign systems” is to emphasize not only the close relation between biology as we know it (as a scientific field of inquiry) and semiotics (the study of signs), but primarily the profound change of perspective implied when life is considered not just from the perspectives of molecules and chemistry, but as signs conveyed and interpreted by other living signs in a variety of ways, including by means of molecules. In this sense, biosemiotics takes for granted and respects the complexity of living processes as revealed by the existing fields of biology - from molecular biology to brain science and behavioural studies - however, biosemiotics attempts to bring together separate findings of the various disciplines of biology (including evolutionary biology) into a new and more unified perspective on the central phenomena of the living world, including the generation of function and signification in living systems, from the ribosome to the ecosystem and from the beginnings of life to its ultimate meanings.

To sum it up wrt this discussion, biosemiosis is the sign - or symbolization (Pattee, Rocha); it is the language of the message in living systems.

The area of study differs from the approach of applying Claude Shannon's mathematical theory of communication (information theory) to molecular machines in that biosemiosis is focused on the symbolization of the message whereas the later is focused on the successful communication itself.

But when taken up by mathematicians the two directions of inquiry overlap:

information theory in molecular biology (Shannon approach taken by Schneider) looking to symbols

symbolization in biological systems (biosemiosis approach taken by Rocha) looking to successful communication).

147 posted on 12/14/2004 10:36:11 PM PST by Alamo-Girl
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