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Chinese Semiotic Studies

Editor-in-Chief: Wang, Yongxiang


CiteScore 2018: 0.15

Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.260

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2198-9613
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Existential Universals

Biosemiosis and existential semiosis

Morten Tønnessen
Published Online: 2017-11-16 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/css-2017-0022

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.

Keywords: alienation; biosemiotics; existence; existential semiotics; existentialism; the human condition

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About the article

Morten Tønnessen

Morten Tønnessen

Morten Tønnessen (b. 1976), Associate professor of philosophy at the University of Stavanger, is a Norwegian philosopher and semiotician. He is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics, and has co-edited three special issues and five books, most recently Animal Umwelten in a changing world – Zoosemiotic perspectives (2016) and “Biosemiotische Ethik/Biosemiotic ethics” (2017), a bilingual special issue of Zeitschrift fur Semiotik.


1 This article is an outcome – or rather further development – of a talk I held in Eero Tarastiy’s seminar “Introduction to existential semiotics” in Helsinki, Finland 11 November 2007 entitled “On the self, relational being and the philosophy of Gabriel Marcel”. It was developed and written as part of the research project Dynamical Zoosemiotics and Animal Representations (ETF/ESF 7790).


Published Online: 2017-11-16

Published in Print: 2017-11-27


Citation Information: Chinese Semiotic Studies, Volume 13, Issue 4, Pages 381–397, ISSN (Online) 2198-9613, ISSN (Print) 2198-9605, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/css-2017-0022.

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