The paper attempts to review the impact of Thomas A. Sebeok (1920 2001) on biosemiotics, or semiotic biology, including both his work as a theoretician in the field and his activity in organising, publishing, and communicating. The major points of his work in the field of biosemiotics concern the establishing of zoosemiotics, interpretation and development of Jakob v. Uexkull’s and Heini Hediger’s ideas, typological and comparative study of semiotic phenomena in living organisms, evolution of semiosis, the coincidence of semiosphere and biosphere, research on the history of biosemiotics. •
Abstract: This article argues for an epistemology of music, stating that dealing with music can be considered as a process of knowledge acquisition. What really matters is not the representation of an ontological musical reality, but the generation of music knowledge as a tool for adaptation to the sonic world. Three major positions are brought together: the epistemological claims of Jean Piaget, the biological methodology of Jakob von Uexküll, and the constructivistic conceptions of Ernst von Glasersfeld, each ingstress the role of the music user rather than the music. Dealing with music, in this view, is not a matter of representation, but a process of semiotization of the sonorous environment as the outcome of interactions with the sound. Hence the role of enactive cognition and perceptual-motor interaction with the sonic environment. What is considered a central issue is the way how listeners as subjects experience their own phenomenal world or Umwelt, and how they can make sense out of their sonic environment. Umwelt-research, therefore, is highly relevant for music education in stressing the role of the listener and his/her listening strategies.
Upshot: Signs do not interpret the world, but rather act through interpretants, which are themselves sign complexes. Understanding a particular sign requires understanding not only the sign itself, but also the ground, or Umwelt expressed as signs, for that sign. The system of embodied sign, its ground, and resolution as an eigenform is analogous to a description of a response of a creature to a stimulus from an environment at a certain level of analysis.