By Jesper Hoffmeyer
Gregory Bateson’s contribution to twentieth century pondering has appealed to students from a variety of fields dealing in a single means or one other with elements of communique and epistemology. a few his insights have been taken up and constructed extra in anthropology, psychology, evolutionary biology and conversation idea. however the huge, trans-disciplinary synthesis that, in his personal brain, used to be his significant contribution to technological know-how obtained little cognizance from the mainstream medical communities.
This publication represents a massive try and revise this deficiency. students from ecology, biochemistry, evolutionary biology, cognitive technological know-how, anthropology and philosophy speak about how Bateson's considering may result in a fruitful reframing of imperative difficulties in glossy technological know-how. most crucial maybe, Bateson's bioanthropology is proven to play a key function in constructing the set of rules explored within the new box of biosemiotics. the concept organismic lifestyles is certainly essentially semiotic or communicative lies on the middle of the biosemiotic method of the research of life.
The basically e-book of its style, this quantity presents a key source for the quickly-growing substratum of students within the biosciences, philosophy and drugs who're looking a chic new method of exploring hugely complicated systems.
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Additional info for A Legacy for Living Systems - Gregory Bateson as Precursor to Biosemiotics
We conclude that not only is it absurd to deny the reality of relative being, because relative being rather than things (individual creatures or populations) is what evolution persistently optimizes, but by denying this reality one is prevented from developing a proper scientific understanding of biosemiosis and purposefulness. Instead, science has felt challenged to show that these phenomena are pseudo phenomena (epiphenomena), and that there is therefore no contradiction between our own existence as human first person beings and the purely material universe that created us.
And it strikes me today that he is saying that of course there is something that looks like intelligent design in evolution, because the mind-like properties of systems are unfolding. In this sense one can see mind at work in the structure of the eye, or in the structure of the cell and what have you. But in this understanding the mind is not external. Mind is a characteristic of the unfolding organization and process, immanent and emergent. When Gregory spoke about the two great stochastic processes – learning, involving trial and error and involving something like reinforcement to determine what is retained, and evolution, where natural selection has the same effect, he was proposing yet another aspect of the pattern which connects all living things, recognizing in our own mental processes of thought and learning a pattern which connects us to the biosphere rather than an argument for separation.
152). And Stuart Kauffman brings his analysis to the following far reaching claim: “our biosphere and any biosphere expands the dimensionality of its adjacent possible, on average, as rapidly as it can” (Kauffman 2000, 151). Kauffman is fully aware that this “burgeoning order of the universe” cannot be reduced to matter alone, to entropy (or the negation of entropy, for that matter), to information, or to anything that simple. The propagation of organization and the subsequent growing diversification of the world is taken care of in Kauffman’s terminology by autonomous agents, and these agents are, as we shall see, semiotic creatures.