Publication 2470

Weber A. (2002) The surplus of meaning: Biosemiotic aspects in Francisco J. Varela’s philosophy of cognition. Cybernetics & Human Knowing 9(2): 11–29. Fulltext at
The late Chile born biologist Francisco J. Varela has been influential in theoretical biology throughout the last three decades of the 20. century. His thinking shows a marked development from a biologically founded constructivism (developed together with his fellow citizen, Humberto Maturana, with the main key word being “autopoiesis theory”) to a more phenomenological oriented standpoint, which Varela called himself the philosophy of embodiment, or “enactivism.” In this paper, I want to show that major arguments in this latter position can be fruitful for a biosemiotic approach to organism. Varela himself already applies concepts as e.g. “signification,” “relevance,” “meaning” which are de facto biosemiotic. He derives these concepts from a compact theory of organism, which he understands as the process of self-realization of a materially embodied subject. This presumption stems, though somewhat modified, from Autopoiesis theory and so attempts a quasiempirical description of the living in terms of self-organisation. Varela’s thinking might count as an exemplary model for a biosemiotic approach in a theory of organism. In particular, Varela’s link to down-to-earth biological research offers means to associate biosemiotics with the ongoing debate about the status of a biological system within genetics and proteomics research.

Similar publications:

Log in to view a list of similar publications


The publication has not yet bookmarked in any reading list

You cannot bookmark this publication into a reading list because you are not member of any
Log in to create one.

There are currently no annotations

To add an annotation you need to log in first

Download statistics

Log in to view the download statistics for this publication
Export bibliographic details as: CF Format · APA · BibTex · EndNote · Harvard · MLA · Nature · RIS · Science