Meaning Matters: The Biosemiotic Basis of Bioethics

Biosemiotics 5 (2):181-191 (2012)

Authors
Jonathan Beever
The University Of Central Florida
Abstract
If the central problem in philosophical ethics is determining and defining the scope of moral value, our normative ethical theories must be able to explain on what basis and to what extent entities have value. The scientific foundation of contemporary biosemiotic theory grounds a theory of moral value capable of addressing this problem. Namely, it suggests that what is morally relevant is semiosis. Within this framework, semiosis is a morally relevant and natural property of all living things thereby offering us an ecological, as opposed to merely environmental, ethic. A consequence of this semiotic theory is that living things are accorded inherent moral value based on their natural relational properties—their ability to signify. This consequence establishes a hierarchy of inherent moral value based on the scope of signification: the larger the Umwelten, the greater the value. This paper argues that a robust semiotic moral theory can take into account a much wider scope of inherent value.. These consequences have positive ramifications for environmental ethics in their recognition of the natural ecological networks in which each organism is bound. This presentation of a biosemiotic model of value offers a justificatory strategy for our contemporary moral intuitions concerning our semiotic/moral relationships with living things while also productively pushing our normative ethical boundaries
Keywords Biosemiotics  Ethics  Moral considerability  Moral value  Semiosis  Peirce
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s12304-011-9133-1
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 45,305
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

On Being Morally Considerable.Kenneth E. Goodpaster - 1978 - Journal of Philosophy 75 (6):308-325.
Science and Ethics.Bernard E. Rollin - 2006 - Cambridge University Press.

View all 16 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2013-10-28

Total views
13 ( #641,929 of 2,280,235 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
1 ( #830,174 of 2,280,235 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature