The chicken and the Orphean egg: On the function of meaning and the meaning of function

  • Claus Emmeche Center for the Philosophy of Nature and Science Studies, Niels Bohr Institute, Blegdamsvej 17, DK-2100 Copenhagen

Abstract

A central aspect of the relation between biosemiotics and biology is investigated by asking: Is a biological concept of function intrinsically related to a biosemiotic concept of sign action, and vice versa? A biological notion of function (as some process or part that serves some purpose in the context of maintenance and reproduction of the whole organism) is discussed in the light of the attempt to provide an understanding of life processes as being of a semiotic nature, i.e., constituted by sign actions. Does signification and communication in biology (e.g., intracellular communication) always presuppose an organism with distinct semiotic or quasi-semiotic functions? And, symmetrically, is it the case that functional relations are simply not conceivable without living sign action? The present note is just an introduction to a project aiming at elucidating the relations between biofunction and biosemiosis.

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Published
2002-12-31
How to Cite
Emmeche, C. (2002). The chicken and the Orphean egg: On the function of meaning and the meaning of function. Sign Systems Studies, 30(1), 15-32. https://doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2002.30.1.02
Section
Articles