Biosemiotics

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Donald Favareau’s 8-minute summary (scroll down to the bottom of the page for his segment) of biosemiotics on the BBC World Service did remind me of actor-network theory (Ivakhiv already picked up on this) and indeed of Harman’s object-oriented philosophy (although Favareau seems to exclude situations involving inanimate objects such as a hand hitting the table or fire encountering water). What was the most revealing however was the other participants’ reaction to Favareau’s proposition that let’s say an amoeba can interpret signs and perceive its food source as some form of meaning. The biologist thought that this was a projection of human categories onto animals, which she felt uncomfortable with, while the sociologist’s reaction was that philosophy is concerned with human sign systems, not with stimulus response. Favareau’s book looks interesting (though quite pricey).

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