Choosing and learning: Semiosis means choice

  • Kalevi Kull Department of Semiotics University of Tartu, Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu, Estonia
Keywords: biosemiotics, decision-making, free choice, general semiotics, homeostasis, need, non-algorithmicity, nowness, post-Darwinism, semiotic quanta, sign typology, types of learning


We examine the possibility of shifting the concept of choice to the centre of the semiotic theory of learning. Thus, we define sign process (meaning-making) through the concept of choice: semiosis is the process of making choices between simultaneously provided options. We define semiotic learning as leaving traces by choices, while these traces influence further choices. We term such traces of choices memory. Further modification of these traces (constraints) will be called habituation. Organic needs are homeostatic mechanisms coupled with choice-making. Needs and habits result in motivatedness. Semiosis as choice-making can be seen as a complementary description of the Peircean triadic model of semiosis; however, this can fit also the models of meaning-making worked out in other shools of semiotics. We also provide a sketch for a joint typology of semiosis and learning.


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How to Cite
Kull, K. (2018). Choosing and learning: Semiosis means choice. Sign Systems Studies, 46(4), 452-466.