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Journal of the International Association for Semiotic Studies / Revue de l'Association Internationale de Sémiotique

Editor-in-Chief: Danesi, Marcel

5 Issues per year

ERIH category 2011: INT2



The polysemy of the sign: From quantum computing to the garden of forking paths

Yair Neuman1

1Associate Professor at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev <yneuman@bgu.ac.il>

Citation Information: Semiotica. Volume 2008, Issue 169, Pages 155–168, ISSN (Online) 1613-3692, ISSN (Print) 0037-1998, DOI: 10.1515/SEM.2008.029, April 2008

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In both natural language and biology, signs are polysemous, with a range of possible meanings before interaction-in-context determines their value. What is the meaning of polysemy? What is the role of polysemy in linguistic and biological systems? In this paper, I present the idea that organisms function by using two di¤erent, orthogonal modes of communication: digital (involving discrete units) and analogue (involving continuous values). I argue that the polysemy of the sign, here metaphorically interpreted as a ‘superposition,’ is necessary for orchestrating these modes and tying them to a concrete context of interaction.

Keywords:: bio-semiotics; polysemy; digital/analogue; superposition; interdisciplinary research

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