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Seminario di Dipartimento (SeRiC): "Functional explanation and semiotics"

23/05/2017 dalle 13:00 alle 15:00

Dove Sala Rossa - via Azzo Gardino 23

Partecipanti Lukáš Zámečník. - Department of General Linguistics - Palacký University in Olomouc

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Is it possible to use any functional explanation aiming at bridging the epistemic cut between physics and semiotics?
The seminar will concern a seemingly peripheral problem of contemporary biosemiotics and semiotics in general. The relationship between the physical and semiotic levels of the semiotic system description seems to be the problem interfering into the field of the philosophy of science. The fundamental innovation of Howard Pattee’s approach is distinguishing between physical laws and restrictive conditions to apply these laws (laws x constraints). This distinction, in combination with von Neumann’s finding that self-replication requires the existence of an independent symbolic notation, is considered by Pattee as the confirmation of the compatibility of the physical description and simultaneous semiotic description.
We will develop these initial findings in three respects. (1) We will be interested in the extent to which Pattee’s differentiation of laws and constraints is a sufficient condition for the compatibility of these descriptions, as long as we observe the nature of different types of constraints. (2) We will analyze Von Neumann’s condition of self-replication to determine whether it is a semiotic or logical condition. (3) We will move from the consideration of the compatibility of physical and semiotic descriptions to consideration of the compatibility of physical and semiotic explanations. The common platform for this compatibility will be sought in a functional explanation. 

Barbieri, M.: Code Biology: A New Science of Life. London: Springer 2015.
Pattee, H.: Evolving self-reference: matter, symbols, and semantic closure. Amsterodam 2012a.
Pattee, H.: The Physical Basis and Origin of Hierarchical Control. In: Howard Pattee, Joanna Rączaszek-Leonardi, eds., Laws, Language and Life. Dordrecht, pp. 91-110, 2012b.
Pattee, H.: The physics of symbols: bridging the epistemic cut, BioSystems, 60, pp. 5-21, 2001.
Von Neumann, J.: Theory of Self-reproducing Automata. Urbana: University of Illinois Press 1966.
Zámečník, L.: Nature of Explanation in Synergetic Linguistics, Glottotheory, 5, pp. 101-120, 2014.