Semiosis in self-producing systems

Sharov, Alexei
May 2000
AIP Conference Proceedings;2000, Vol. 517 Issue 1, p244
Academic Journal
Cybernetic methodology has reached its limits in the study of life because it ignores the meaning of biological information. Thus it should be augmented by semiotics that studies the meaning and value of signs. According to the pragmatic definition, a sign is a biological adaptation, i.e. a persistent useful function. Usefulness of an action can be measured by its contribution to the reproductive value of an organism in a particular quasi-species. Reproductive values are equal to the components of the left eigenvector of the linearized model of system dynamics. Every organism is a sign, and its life cycle is a continuous process of self-interpretation. Organisms use receptors to predict changing environments. Natural selection is functionally equivalent to perception at the level of lineages. Selective survival and reproduction is analogous to selective excitation of photoreceptors in the eye. Lineages learn how to avoid harmful variation by using developmental constraints, proofreading, dominance, and other mechanisms. If intelligence is defined as the ability to learn, then lineages are intelligent systems, which we did not recognize simply because they are too slow. © 2000 American Institute of Physics.


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