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Natural Selection and Self-Organization Do Not Make Meaning, while the Agent’s Choice Does


Demonstration of illusiveness of basic beliefs of the Modern Synthesis implies the existence of evolutionary mechanisms that do not require natural selection for the origin of adaptations. This requires adaptive changes that occur independently from replication, but can occasionally become heritable. Plastic self-organizational changes regulated by genome are largely incorporable into the old theory. A fundamentally different source of adaptability is semiosis which includes the agent’s free choice. Adding semiosis into the theory of Extended Evolutionary Synthesis completes the distancing from the Modern Synthesis. I focus here on the importance of semiosis as the necessary factor in organisms’ meaning making.

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    On the concept of choice in biology see Kull, 2018.


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I am grateful to Denis Noble for fascinating conversations, and to the grant PRG314 for support.

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Correspondence to Kalevi Kull.

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Kull, K. Natural Selection and Self-Organization Do Not Make Meaning, while the Agent’s Choice Does. Biosemiotics 14, 49–53 (2021).

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  • Adaptation
  • Biosemiotics
  • Evolutionary innovations
  • Self-design
  • Semiosis
  • Semiotic fitting