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Existential Universals

Biosemiosis and existential semiosis

Morten Tønnessen
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies

Abstract

This paper is divided into five parts. The introduction presents some implications of the relational nature of human beings as well as other living beings, and establishes a connection between biosemiotics and existentialist thinking. The second part indicates key points of a “semiotics of being” as a genuine outlook within semiotics. In “Universals of biosemiosis”, the third part, a number of common features of everything and anyone alive are identified. The fourth part, “On Earth – the natural setting of the human condition”, sets the stage for a few ecologically and astronomically minded reflections in philosophical anthropology. In the fifth and concluding part, “On the alienation of the semiotic animal”, observations are made on some existential implications of the characteristically human form of being. Part of the motivation for the paper is to demonstrate, firstly, that existential semiosis plays a key role in human semiosis, and secondly, that other living beings too live through existential dramas.

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Published Online: 2017-11-16
Published in Print: 2017-11-27

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