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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 41, Issue 4, 2013

Davide Weible
Pages 504-527

Approaching a semiotics of exaptation: At the intersection between biological evolution and technological development

This paper recognizes a specific correspondence between biological evolution and technological development and on this basis tries to set up a semiotic approach to the evolutionary phenomenon of exaptation. To do this, the existence of a historical-structural and pragmatic analogy between organs and tools is shown, which in turn implies on a communicative ground the dissolution of some of their traditional distinctive att ributes. Finally, a philosophical-analytical approach to natural and cultural functions is applied to define three types of exaptations.

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