Biosemiotics 11 (3):427-446 (2018)

I argue that the physiological, phenomenal and conceptual constitute a trichotomous hierarchy of emergent categories. I claim that each category employs a distinctive type of interactive mechanism that facilitates a meaningful kind of environmental discourse. I advocate, therefore, that each have a causal relation with the environment but that their specific class of mechanism qualifies distinctively the meaningfulness of that interaction and subsequent responses. Consequently, I argue that the causal chain of physical interaction feeds distinctive value-laden constructions that are ontologically distinct for each category. Within the limitations of the interactive mechanisms of each category, increasingly sophisticated forms tend to evolve. The increase in sophistication in each category inevitably leads to the emergence of the novel mechanism particular to the next in the hierarchy. In essence, there is an emergent hierarchy of evolving categories delineated by the nature of their mechanism of environmental engagement. I argue that biochemical mechanisms have a tendency to evolve meaningfully, specifically in a way that is both qualitatively relevant and responsive to environmental particulars. I explain that these mechanisms set in play an organisational imperative that leads to the emergence of the capacity to evaluate and prioritise qualitative biochemical assimilations which, inevitably, generates a subjectively individuated experience phenomenon. I then relate this to the novel characteristics of the human perspective.
Keywords Phenomenal Experience  Ontological emergence  Subjectivity  Discourse  Meaning  Causation
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DOI 10.1007/s12304-018-9344-9
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What is It Like to Be a Bat?Thomas Nagel - 1974 - Philosophical Review 83 (October):435-50.
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