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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 30, Issue 1, 2002

Aleksei Turovski
Pages 213-218

On the zoosemiotics of health and disease

The main feature of the signs of health in the animal habitus and behaviour can be characterised as the readiness to adequately (for a species) serve the need for impression (in animalistic elements of the Umwelt). The signs of disease, however multifarious and diverse, generally display certain lack of Umwelt-oriented attentiveness, alertness. Attention of deeply afflicted animals is strongly Innenwelt-oriented; and in some species a set of such signs, suggesting sickness or mortal disease is used as a set of traits in the mimicry of dying. The semiotic factors in health-disease relationships are apparently connected with intuition — like responses creating in the semiosphere a structure of Umwelt-Innenwelt polarized tensions, important in ecological and evolutional developments.

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