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Biosemiotics

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 33–55 | Cite as

Bohr’s Complementarity Framework in Biosemiotics

  • Filip GrygarEmail author
Article

Abstract

This paper analyses Bohr’s complementarity framework and applies it to biosemiotic studies by illustrating its application to three existing models of living systems: mechanistic (molecular) biology, Barbieri’s version of biosemiotics in terms of his code biology and Markoš’s phenomenological version of hermeneutic biosemiotics. The contribution summarizes both Bohr’s philosophy of science crowned by his idea of complementarity and his conception of the phenomenon of the living. Bohr’s approach to the biological questions evolved – among other things – from the consequences of an epistemological lesson of quantum theory and in light of complementarity of observer as a priori living creature and ex post scientific explanation of the living. In a manifestation of the phenomenon of the living, each model of living system and its description makes accessible – from its own presuppositions, contexts and concepts – some features which are not accessible from the others. Nevertheless, for a general understanding of that phenomenon, incompatible sophisticated approaches are equally necessary. Bohr’s epistemology of complementarity turns out to be a heuristic and methodical framework for testing the extent to which biosemiotics can become one of the special sciences or its potential as a cross-disciplinary branch of study.

Keywords

Bohr Complementarity Barbieri biosemiotics Markoš Hermeneutic biosemiotics 

Notes

Acknowledgements

I thank editors and reviewers for their valuable comments and cogent suggestions for improvement of my article. Further I thank Anton Markoš for his comments on biosemiotics and Barbieri’s and Markoš’s approach to the phenomenon of the living.

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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of Pardubice (Katedra filosofie, FF Univerzita Pardubice)PardubiceCzech Republic

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