Going from an empirical to an informational paradigm of cognition and communication, does not really help us to analyze, how the living systems manage to make a meaningful interpretation of environment that is useful for their survival and procreation. Other models are needed. 1. There is von Uexküll’s cybernetic-behavioral model, which has the problem of being placed in a Platonic, static worldview. The Umwelt of an animal is a construction limited of its functional realism of survival. It is connected to the species. 2. Ture von Uexküll and Søren Brier both realized that Maturana and Varela’s constructivist biology came closer to a modern version of Jacob von Uexküll’s. Maturana’s model is a relational model. Cognition and communication aims to conserve a viable relation between living system and environment. It is as such not an objective modeling. 3. This model is reinterpreted in biosemiotics on the basis of the evolutionary semiotics paradigm of C.S. Peirce . Semiotics underlines realism more, but is also relational in its whole project. In Cybersemiotics the autopoietic model in integrated in the Peircean framework which is of a far greater scope than autopoiesis. Thus in Cybersemiotic we have the Peircean theory of the observer as the phaneroscopic foundation. 4. Cobley points out that both models, as they are combined in Cybersemiotics lacks to integrate a theory of interest and power. They are too consensual in their view on communication. This is a general problem in both theories. Still Luhmann do work with the power problem in his triple autopoietic communicative system theory as he sees communication specialized into generalized symbolic media, with no controlling center in the modern industrialized media society. Another way to go is Habermas’ critical theory in a social semiotic theory. But here remains much to be discussed.
Tartu Semiotics Summer School. Palmse, 22.-28. August 2011, 2014