Biosemiotics 1 (1):85-98 (2008)

Abstract
The paper examines Marcello Barbieri’s (2007) Introduction to Biosemiotics. Highlighting debate within the biosemiotic community, it focuses on what the volume offers to those who explain human intellect in relation to what Turing called our ‘physical powers.’ In scrutinising the basis of world-modelling, parallels and contrasts are drawn with other work on embodied-embedded cognition. Models dominate biology. Is this a qualitative fact or does it point to biomechanisms? In evaluating the 18 contributions, it is suggested that the answers will shape the field. First, they will decide if biochemistry and explanatory reduction can be synergised by biosemantics. Second, they will show if our intellectual powers arise from biology. Does thinking use—not a language faculty—but what Markoš and colleagues call semiosis by the living? Resolution of such issues, it is suggested, can change how we view cognition. Above all, if the biomechanists win the day, cultural models can be regarded as extending natural meaning. On such a view, biomechanisms prompt us to act and perceive as we model our own natural models. This fits Craik’s vision: intellect gives us the alphanumerical ‘symbols’ that allow thoughts to have objective validity. For the biomechanist, this is explained—not by brains alone—but, rather, by acting under the constraints of historically extended sensoria
Keywords Biosemiosis  Organic codes  Cognition  Embodied cognition  Cognitive niche  Cultural selection  Semantic biology  Symbol grounding  Distributed language  Language dynamics
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DOI 10.1007/s12304-008-9003-7
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Participatory Sense-Making: An Enactive Approach to Social Cognition.Hanne De Jaegher & Ezequiel Di Paolo - 2007 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 6 (4):485-507.

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