How deep is the surface? A theoretical framework for understanding meaning-making in living systems

Foundations of Science 8 (4):393-415 (2003)
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Living systems are characterized by unique properties that make them resistant to the ``information-processingperspective'' of traditional cognitive science.This paper details those unique properties andoffers a new theoretical framework forunderstanding the behavior of living systems.This framework leans heavily on ideas fromgeneral systems theory (specifically Bateson'sinteractionist perspective), semiotics, andMerleau-Ponty's phenomenology. The benefits ofusing this framework are illustrated withexamples from two different domains: immunologyand verbal interaction.



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