Dicent Symbols and Proto-propositions in Biological Mimicry

  • João Queiroz
  • Frederik Stjernfelt
  • Charbel Niño El-Hani
Chapter
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 11)

Abstract

Here we are specially interested in how 10 classes of signs can contribute to the construction of models that serve as tools for the investigation of biological mimicry. As a corollary to our analysis of firefly signaling (El-Hani, Queiroz & Stjernfelt, 2010), we analyze the capacity of producing propositions (i.e., dicisigns) as a general requisite for a semiotic system to act as a mimic. We will show that Peirce’s mature theory of signs brings an important contribution to the building of a general semiotic theory of mimicry, since it is quite helpful in addressing semantic and pragmatic aspects of biological information. As it is well known, the semiotic processes involved in biological mimicry most often do not result from learning processes taking place in the individual semiotic system, but from the fine-tuning of inherited capacities by natural selection among variants over thousands or millions of generations. Still, the concrete sign exchange takes place within the lifetime of a single individual - and those signals, indicating and describing at the same time, should be conceived of as dicisigns. This calls for an investigation of the Peircean notion of the dicisign, which is a generalization of the notion of proposition. One the one hand, it liberates assertion from the confines of language and points to its appearance also in pictures, gesture, etc. That is, it generalizes propositions from being a human privilege so as to also embrace simpler dicisings found in biology.

Keywords

Alarm Call Vervet Monkey Semiotic System Semiotic Process Demonstrative Pronoun 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgements

C.N.E. thanks The State of Bahia Research Foundation (FAPESB) for research funds and the Brazilian National Research Council (CNPq) for a productivy in research grant, F.S. thanks Aarhus University and the The Danish Council for Independent Research/Humanities.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • João Queiroz
    • 1
  • Frederik Stjernfelt
    • 2
  • Charbel Niño El-Hani
    • 3
  1. 1.Federal University of Juiz de ForaJuiz de ForaBrazil
  2. 2.University of AarhusAarhusDenmark
  3. 3.Federal University of BahiaSalvadorBrazil

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