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Sign Systems Studies

Volume 47, Issue 3/4, 2019

Katarzyna Machtyl
Pages 436-452

A strawberry, an animal cry and a human subject
Where existential semiotics, biosemiotics and relational metaphysics seem to meet one another

The article discus ses some semiotic approaches to the relation between nature and culture. Starting with outlining the structuralistic approach to this issue, especially the ideas of Juri Lotman and Algirdas Julien Greimas, the author finds parallels between different views on the relation between the natural world and human beings. First, the juxtaposition of Eero Tarasti’s existential semiotics with selected concepts of biosemiotics is discussed. The following part of the paper is dedicated to Bruno Latour’s ideas on nature–culture relation, hybrids and mediations. Then the author refers to Lotman’s notion of the semiosphere as the common space for all living and inanimate elements. Closing the paper with a return to biosemiotics, the author comes back to Tarasti’s ideas and compares these with some ideas in biosemiotics, paying special attention to the concepts of unpredictability, choice and dynamics. The comparison shows that some intuitions, assumptions and theses of these different scholars turn out to be surprisingly convergent. The author believes that the outlined parallels between Tarasti’s view, Latour’s and Lotman’s concepts, and biosemiotics may be promising for further research, inviting detailed study.