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).
A very useful post on biosemiotics Alamo-Girl.
I've just posted a reply to betty on the Plato thread and it took me about two hours to compose it, so I'm afraid I've used up my available "Freeper Minutes" for the day. I've got to turn in and get ready for another busy one tomorrow. I still owe you a reply on your earlier post and I'll need some more free time before I can get to it.
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