Biosemiotics 13 (3):327-346 (2020)

Arran Gare
Swinburne University of Technology
The concept of information and its relation to biosemiotics is a major area of contention among biosemioticians. Biosemioticians influenced by von Uexküll, Sebeok, Bateson and Peirce are critical of the way the concept as developed in information science has been applied to biology, while others believe that for biosemiotics to gain acceptance it will have to embrace information science and distance biosemiotics from Peirce’s philosophical work. Here I will defend the influence of Peirce on biosemiotics, arguing that information science and biosemiotics as these were originally formulated are radically opposed research traditions. Failure to appreciate this will undermine the challenge of biosemiotics and other anti-reductionist traditions to mainstream science with its reductionist ambition to explain everything through physics. However, for this challenge to be successful, it will be necessary to respond to criticisms of Peircian ideas, jettisoning ideas that are no longer defensible and integrating ideas allied to his anti-reductionist agenda. Here I will argue that the natural philosophy of Gilbert Simondon, offering a searching critique of the application of the new concept of information and cybernetics to the life and human sciences, provides the means to defend and advance Peirce’s core ideas and thereby defend post-reductionist biosemiotics.
Keywords Biosemiotics   Information  C.S. Peirce  Jesper Hoffmeyer  Gilbert Simondon
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DOI 10.1007/s12304-020-09393-w
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References found in this work BETA

The Philosophy of Information.Luciano Floridi - 2011 - Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized.James Ladyman & Don Ross - 2007 - In James Ladyman, Don Ross, David Spurrett & John Collier (eds.), Every Thing Must Go: Metaphysics Naturalized. Oxford University Press.

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