Just How Emergent is the Emergence of Semiosis?

Biosemiotics 9 (2):155-167 (2016)
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Abstract

Studying the origin of semiosis is a task obscured by terminological and metaphysical issues which create an ambiguous set of definitions for biosemiotics when referring to the concept of emergence. The question is, how emergent can semiosis be? And what are the conditions for semiosis to be an emergent of a certain type? This paper will attempt to briefly deal with the general terminology of emergence from a philosophical point of view and will discuss the characterization of semiosis as an emergent phenomenon based on the distinctions made by Bedau, Kim and Chalmers. Accordingly, we will consider the possibility of strong and weak emergence in an attempt to bring some clarity to what it means for something in biosemiotics to be an emergent and how the philosophical concepts play out when applied to biosemiotic research. In inquiring into the metaphysical status of semiosis, we change our semiotic theories to correspond to the assumptions contained in the elementary objects of our theories. This being the case, the way semiosis–the constitutive element that it is for semiotics–is taken to be with regards to its possible ontology, will conduct to different research objects for the long-term investigation of its origins and necessary conditions.

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References found in this work

Strong and weak emergence.David J. Chalmers - 2006 - In Philip Clayton & Paul Davies (eds.), The re-emergence of emergence: the emergentist hypothesis from science to religion. New York: Oxford University Press.
Real patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
Concepts of supervenience.Jaegwon Kim - 1984 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 45 (December):153-76.
Real Patterns.Daniel C. Dennett - 1991 - Journal of Philosophy 88 (1):27-51.
Supervenience.Karen Bennett & Brian McLaughlin - 2005 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

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