Sign Systems Studies 39 (1):9-59 (2011)

Authors
Marc Champagne
Kwantlen Polytechnic University
Abstract
Prompted by the thesis that an organism’s umwelt possesses not just a descriptive dimension, but a normative one as well, some have sought to annex semiotics with ethics. Yet the pronouncements made in this vein have consisted mainly in rehearsing accepted moral intuitions, and have failed to concretely further our knowledge of why or how a creature comes to order objects in its environment in accordance with axiological charges of value or disvalue. For want of a more explicit account, theorists writing on the topic have relied almost exclusively on semiotic insights about perception originally designed as part of a sophisticated refutation of idealism. The end result, which has been a form of direct givenness, has thus been far from convincing. In an effort to bring substance to the right-headed suggestion that values are rooted in the biological and conform to species-specific requirements, we present a novel conception that strives to make explicit the elemental structure underlying umwelt normativity. Building and expanding on the seminal work of Ayn Rand in metaethics, we describe values as an intertwined lattice which takes a creature’s own embodied life as its ultimate standard; and endeavour to show how, from this, all subsequent valuations can in principle be determined.
Keywords Values  Ayn Rand
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ISBN(s) 1406-4243
DOI 10.12697/SSS.2011.39.1.01
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References found in this work BETA

What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.

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Citations of this work BETA

Bridging the Responsibility Gap in Automated Warfare.Marc Champagne & Ryan Tonkens - 2015 - Philosophy and Technology 28 (1):125-137.
Uexküll Studies After 2001.Kalevi Kull - 2021 - Sign Systems Studies 48 (2-4):483-509.
Steps to a Semiotics of Being.Morten Tønnessen - 2010 - Biosemiotics 3 (3):375-392.

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