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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 30, Issue 1, 2002

Søren Brier
Pages 113-127

Intrasemiotics and cybersemiotics

The concept of intrasemiotics designates the semiosis of the interpenetration between the biological and psychological autopoietic systems as Luhmann defines them in his theory. Combining a Peircian concept of semiosis with Luhmann’s theory in the framework of biosemiotics makes it possible for us to view the interplay of mind and body as a sign play. The recently suggested term ‘sign play’ pertains to ecosemiotics processes between animals of the same species stretching Wittgenstein’s language concept into the animal world of signs. With intrasemiotics there is an inner interplay. Lorenz in ethology has used the concept of motivation, and Uexküll the concept of tone, mostly describing the outgoing effect on perception and the reactions on perception. One could view intrasemiotics as the interplay between Lorenz’ biologically defined motivations and Freud’s Id, understood as the psychological aspect of many of the natural drives. In the last years of development of his theory Lorenz studied how emotional feedback can introduce just a little learning through pleasurable feelings also into the instinctive systems because, as he reasoned, there must be some kind of reward going through instinctive movements, thus making the appetitive searching behaviour for sign stimuli possible. But he never found an acceptable way of modelling motivation in biological science. A cybersemiotic model may combine these approaches, defining various concepts of thoughtsemiotics, phenosemiotic and intrasemiotics, combining them with the already known concepts of exosemiotics, ecosemiotics, endosemiotics to an approach which studies the self-organising semiotic processes in living systems.

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