Multi-Level Semiosis: a Paradigm of Emergent Innovation
- 388 Downloads
In this introductory article to the special issue on Multi-level semiosis we attempt to stage the background for qualifying the notion of “multi-levelness” when considering communication processes and semiosis in all life forms, i.e. from the cellular to the organismic level. While structures are organized hierarchically, communication processes require a kind of processual organization that may be better described as being heterarchical. Theoretically, the challenge arises in the temporal domain, that is, in the developmental and evolutionary dimension of dynamic semiotic processes. We discuss the importance of this fundamental difference in order to explain how levels, domains and orders of magnitude, on the one hand, and synchronic and diachronic processes, on the other, contribute to the overall organization of every living being. To account for such multi-level organization, semiotic freedom is assumed to be a scalar property that endows living systems at different levels and domains with the capacity to ponder selectively the overall structural coherence and functional compatibility of their heterarchical processing, which is increasingly less conditioned by the underlying molecular determinism.
KeywordsMulti-level Semiosis Hierarchy Heterarchy Domain Biological processes Cognitive processes
- Affifi R. (2016). The semiosis of "side effects" in genetic interventions. Biosemiotics. doi: 10.1007/s12304-016-9274-3.
- Bechtel, W. (2006). Discovering cell mechanisms: The creation of modern cell biology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
- Byrne, J. H., Heidelberger, R., & Waxham, M. N. (2014). From molecules to network: An introduction to cellular and molecular neuroscience. Amsterdam: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Giorgi, F., & Auletta, G. (2016). Semiotic tools for multi-level cell communication. Biosemiotics. doi: 10.1007/s12304-016-9272-5.
- Günther, G. (1973). Life as poly-contextuality. Wirklichkeit und Reflexion, Festschrift für Walter Schulz, Pfullingen, pp. 187–210. http://www.vordenker.de/ggphilosophy/gg_life_as_polycontexturality.pdf. accessed 23.10.16.
- Hanschen, E. R., Shelton, D. E., & Michod, R. E. (2015). Evolutionary transitions in individuality and recent models of multicellularity. In I. Ruiz-Trillo & A. M. Nedelcu (Eds.), Evolutionary transitions to multicellular life, advances in marine genomics 2 (pp. 165–188). Dordrecht: Springer Science.Google Scholar
- Havel, I. M. (2001). Causal domains and emergent rationality. In B. Brogaard and B. Smith (Eds.), Rationality and irrationality. (pp. 129–151) Proc. 23rd International Wittgenstein Symposium. Vienna: öbv & hpt.Google Scholar
- Johnson, N. (2009). Two’s company, Three is complexity. New York: One world Publications.Google Scholar
- Jonas, H. (1984). The Imperative of responsibility: In search of an ethics for the technological age. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
- Kilstrup M. (2016). The forbidden signs. Biosemiotics. doi: 10.1007/s12304-016-9277-0.
- Švorcová J. (2016). Distributed heredity and development: a heterarchical perspective. Biosemiotics. doi: 10.1007/s12304-016-9276-1.
- von Goldammer, E., Joachim, P., Newbury, J. (2003). Heterarchy – hierarchy: Two complementary categories of description. http://www.vordenker.de/heterarchy/a_heterarchy-e.pdf. Accessed 23.10.16.