A general definition of interpretation and its application to origin of life research

Biology and Philosophy 25 (2):163-181 (2010)

Abstract
We draw on Short’s work on Peirce’s theory of signs to propose a new general definition of interpretation. Short argues that Peirce’s semiotics rests on his naturalised teleology. Our proposal extends Short’s work by modifying his definition of interpretation so as to make it more generally applicable to putatively interpretative processes in biological systems. We use our definition as the basis of an account of different kinds of misinterpretation and we discuss some questions raised by the definition by reference to parallel problems in the field of teleosemantics. We propose that interpretative responses fulfilling the criteria of our definition may be made by relatively simple molecular entities and we suggest two specific empirical applications of the definition to experimental work in the field of origin of life research. Our wider aim is to suggest that a well formulated naturalistic definition of interpretation will allow a re-evaluation of the role of semiotic phenomena in biological systems, including the generation of empirically testable hypotheses.
Keywords Philosophy   Evolutionary Biology   Philosophy of Biology
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1007/s10539-009-9188-4
Options
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy     Papers currently archived: 41,583
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

The Nature of Selection.Elliott Sober - 1986 - Behaviorism 14 (1):77-88.

View all 18 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

View all 8 citations / Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Analytics

Added to PP index
2009-12-09

Total views
44 ( #181,222 of 2,249,160 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
2 ( #795,224 of 2,249,160 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature