Uexküll T. (1982) Introduction: Meaning and science in Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of biology. Semiotica 42(1): 1–24.
Introduction: Meaning and science in Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of biology.
Semiotica 42(1): 1–24.
Uexküll T. (1984) Semiotics and the problem of the observer. Semiotica 48(3–4): 187–195.
Semiotics and the problem of the observer.
Semiotica 48(3–4): 187–195.
Excerpt: All living creatures receive and emit signs. It is even legitimate to call them ‘subjects’ on account of this capacity. But subjects are, as Sebeok (1976, 1979) keeps pointing out, not only human. He distinguishes betweenanthroposemiotics and zoosemiotics, and one is even entitled to talkabout phytosemiotics (Krampen 1981). Thus we are confronted with thefollowing problem: As human observers we can grasp the signs of otherliving beings, i.e., zoo- and phytosemiotic signs, only with anthropo-semiotic concepts. How can we avoid the danger of denaturing them bydoing so? This problem is of concern to medicine, as well as to zoology and tobotany; for within the body we deal with phytosemiotic sign-processesthat occur within cells and between cells, and that are regulated by theautonomic nervous, endocrine, and immune systems. On the other hand,sensomotor processes are regulated by the voluntary nervous system,which communicates zoosemiotic signs. Thus medicine constantly dealswith the problem of how phyto-, zoo-, and anthroposemiotic signprocesses are interrelated in sickness and in health and how the physicianas a human observer can grasp their relationships. To approach this complex problem I shall examine what is common toanthropo-, zoo-, and phytosemiotic sign processes and in what mannersthey differ. Such an analysis could be a first step in helping us avoid theanthropomorphic fallacy.
Van de Vijver G. (1999) Psychic closure: A prerequisite for the recognition of the sign-function. Semiotica 127(1/4): 613–630. https://cepa.info/4802
Van de Vijver G.
Psychic closure: A prerequisite for the recognition of the sign-function.
Semiotica 127(1/4): 613–630.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4802
Excerpt: I aim at understanding what it is for psychic systems, qua living systems, to realize the sign-function, and what it is for them to genuinely recognize that something stands for something else. Are their various ways of psychically realizing and/or recognizing the sign-function? What are the developmental and systemic or structural conditions leading to those capacities? Moreover, I want to understand the relationship between realizing and recognizing the sign-function for psychic systems. Is the recognizing a precondition for the realizing or is it the other way around?
Ziemke T. & Sharkey N. E. (2001) A stroll through the world of robots and animals: Applying Jakob von Uexküll’s theory of meaning to adaptive robots and artificial life. Semiotica 134(1–4): 701–746. https://cepa.info/4523
Ziemke T. & Sharkey N. E.
A stroll through the world of robots and animals: Applying Jakob von Uexküll’s theory of meaning to adaptive robots and artificial life.
Semiotica 134(1–4): 701–746.
Fulltext at https://cepa.info/4523
Excerpt: Much research in cognitive science, and in particular artificial intelligence (AI) and artificial life (ALife), has since the mid-1980s been devoted to the study of so-called autonomous agents. These are typically robotic systems situated in some environment and interacting with it using sensors and motors. Such systems are often self-organizing in the sense that they artificially learn, develop, and evolve in interaction with their environments, typically using computational learning techniques, such as artificial neural networks or evolutionary algorithms. Due to the biological inspiration and motivation underlying much of this research (cf. Sharkey and Ziemke 1998), autonomous agents are often referred to as “artificial organisms,” “artificial life,” “animats” (short for “artificial animals”) (Wilson 1985), “creatures” (Brooks 1990), or “biorobots” (Ziemke and Sharkey 1998). These terms do not necessarily all mean exactly the same; some of them refer to physical robots only, whereas others include simple software simulations. But the terms all express the view that the mechanisms referred to are substantially different from conventional artifacts and that to some degree they are “life-like” in that they share some of the properties of living organisms. Throughout this article this class of systems will be referred to as “artificial organisms” or “autonomous agents/robots” interchangeably. \\The key issue addressed in this article concerns the semiotic status and relevance of such artificial organisms. The question is whether and to what extent they are autonomous and capable of semiosis. This is not straightforward since semiosis is often considered to necessarily involve living organisms. Morris (1946), for example, defines semiosis as “a signprocess, that is, a process in which something is a sign to some organism.” Similarly, Jakob von Uexküll considered signs to be “of prime importance in all aspects of life processes” (T. von Uexküll 1992), and made a clear distinction between organisms, which as autonomous subjects respond to signs according to their own specific energy, and inorganic mechanisms, which lack that energy, and thus remain heteronomous.