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The Meaning(s) of Information, Code … and Meaning


Meaning is a central concept of (bio)semiotics. At the same time, it is also a word of everyday language. Here, on the example of the world information, we discuss the “reduction-inflation model” of evolution of a common word into a scientific concept, to return subsequently into everyday circulation with new connotations. Such may be, in the near future, also the fate of the word meaning if, flexed through objectified semantics, will become considered an objective concept usable in semiotics. We argue that reducing meaning to a technical term essentially synonymous to code and stripped of most of the original semantic field is not a necessary prerequisite for a meaningful application of the concept in semiotics and in biology.

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  1. But grammar may sometimes help with such a spelling: not all sequences will give sense.

  2. Actually, Deely is very close to similar characteristic of things in Heidegger (e.g. 1971; see also Markoš and Faltýnek 2011.)

  3. Surprisingly, not only biological sciences succumbed to the reduced version of information: the same process took place in linguistics, too. By language metaphor, then, we do not mean making analogies with formal languages that are subject to scientific study (Markoš and Faltýnek 2011).

  4. You will also be accused of laziness, because instead of hard work in the lab you kill your time by “philosophizing”. But this is not the point we want to touch.


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This work was supported by grants from the Czech Ministry of education (MSM0021620845 to AM and MSM0021620858 to FC).

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Correspondence to Anton Markoš.

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Markoš, A., Cvrčková, F. The Meaning(s) of Information, Code … and Meaning . Biosemiotics 6, 61–75 (2013).

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  • Meaning
  • Information
  • Reduction-inflation model