© 2007

Introduction to Biosemiotics

The New Biological Synthesis

  • Marcello Barbieri

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XII
  2. Donald Favareau
    Pages 1-68
  3. Tuomo JÄMsÄ
    Pages 69-100
  4. Marcello Barbieri
    Pages 101-114
  5. Jesper Hoffmeyer
    Pages 149-166
  6. Marcello Barbieri
    Pages 179-208
  7. Stefan Artmann
    Pages 209-234
  8. Anton Markoš, Filip Grygar, Karel Kleisner, Zdeněk Neubauer
    Pages 235-255
  9. Luis Emilio Bruni
    Pages 365-408
  10. Stephen Philip Pain
    Pages 409-456
  11. Johannes Huber, Ingolf Schmid-Tannwald
    Pages 457-472
  12. Back Matter
    Pages 519-530

About this book


This book is addressed to students, researchers and academics who have barely heard of the emerging young science of Biosemiotics, and who want to know more about it. Written by many of the field’s major contributors, it provides a highly qualified introduction to Biosemiotics and illustrates the most recent views in its background and development.

Combining research approaches from biology, philosophy and linguistics, the field of Biosemiotics proposes that animals, plants and single cells all engage in semiosis – the conversion of objective signals into conventional signs. This has important implications and applications for issues ranging from natural selection to animal behavior and human psychology, leaving biosemiotics at the cutting edge of the research on the fundamentals of life.

Drawing on an international expertise, the book details the history and study of biosemiotics, and provides a state-of-the-art summary of the current work in this new field. And, with relevance to a wide range of disciplines – from linguistics and semiotics to evolutionary phenomena and the philosophy of biology – the book provides an important text for both students and established researchers, while marking a vital step in the evolution of a new biological paradigm.

Marcello Barbieri is University Professor of Embryology at the University of Ferrara, Italy, President of the Italian Association for Theoretical Biology and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biosemiotics.


Biosemiotics Charles S. Peirce Darwin Error-correcting Code Evolution Evolutionary biology Information Philosophy of Biology Semantics Symbol Synthesis communication information theory logic science

Editors and affiliations

  • Marcello Barbieri
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FerraraItaly

About the editors

MARCELLO BARBIERI is University professor of Embryology at the University of Ferrara, Italy. He has conducted research on embryonic development and ribosome crystallization at the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, UK, the National Institutes of Health in Bethesda, USA, and the Max-Planck-Institut für Molekulare Genetik in Berlin.

He has published books on embryology and evolution, and has taught biophysics, molecular embryology and theoretical biology respectively at the Universities of Bologna, Sassari and Turin. His research interests include embryology, evolution and biosemiotics.

He is president of the Italian Association for Theoretical Biology and Editor-in-Chief of the Journal of Biosemiotics. His major books include The Semantic Theory of Evolution (1985), Harwood Academic Publishers, New York, and The Organic Codes. An Introduction to Semantic Biology (2003), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK.

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Bibliographic information


From the reviews:

“Biosemiotics is the study of semiotic phenomena in animals, and eventually in all living creatures. … Each chapter is self-contained; however, the editor has done a remarkable job of maintaining continuity and flow. … Each contains its own extensive collection of references. The fine index will assist many readers in locating related material from the individually written chapters. Summing Up: Recommended. Graduate students and above.” (J. Beidler, CHOICE, Vol. 44 (10), June, 2007)