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Agent, Person, Subject, SelfA Theory of Ontology, Interaction, and Infrastructure$
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Paul Kockelman

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199926985

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199926985.001.0001

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Biosemiosis, Technocognition, and Sociogenesis

Biosemiosis, Technocognition, and Sociogenesis

(p.12) 2 Biosemiosis, Technocognition, and Sociogenesis
Agent, Person, Subject, Self

Paul Kockelman

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues for a general and naturalistic theory of meaning, one which turns on selection as much as significance, as well as sieving as much as serendipity. The first part argues that the key unit of analysis underlying the various subfields of anthropology, as well as allied disciplines, is a relation between two kinds of relations between relations. It thereby theorizes, as concomitant processes, the way signs and interpretants relate to significant objects, and the way sensations and instigations relate to selecting agents. After carefully defining such a unit, it develops the consequences of such a definition for various domains—ranging from biosemiotic processes like animal-signal systems and natural selection, to technocognitive processes like lawn-mowers and Turing machines. It thereby foregrounds the environment-organism relation at any level of complexity, and with respect to any kind of life form.

Keywords:   biosemiosis, meaning, complexity, evolution, network, infrastructure

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