Biosemiotics at the bridge between Eco-Devo and representational theories of mind

  • Tiago Rama
Keywords: Biosemiotics, Ecological-Developmental Biology, Representations, Signaling Systems, Agentivity


In this paper, we will show how Biosemiotics overlaps with both Eco-Devo and representational theories of mind. Concerning the former, Eco-Devo and Biosemiotics share the common theoretical ground in biology of taking organisms not as objects but as agents in organic processes. Their link becomes sharper once we appreciate that Eco-Devo biologists systematically appeal, albeit implicitly, to semiotic processes by speaking of the organismal regulation of development mediated by signaling systems and signaling networks. As for the latter, representations and signs could actually be enclosed under the same theory in order to think about all organic processes involving referential relationships and the flow of information. We will also argue that Biosemiotics, by calling attention to the situatedness and context-sensitive character of signs and their development, could work as an antidote to many illnesses of representationalism that post-cognitivism had brought about. We conclude that Eco-Devo and representational theories of mind must become closer. The biological underpinnings of Eco-Devo and Biosemiotics offer a fertile land to ground representations within natural sciences, while representations and signs seem to be a necessary ingredient to tackle the agentive dimension of organisms and the centrality of development in theoretical biology.


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How to Cite
Rama, T. (2022) “Biosemiotics at the bridge between Eco-Devo and representational theories of mind”, Rivista Italiana di Filosofia del Linguaggio, 15(2). doi: 10.4396/2021203.