John Wiley & Sons Pathways to the Origin and Evolution of Meanings in the Universe Cover Pathways to the Origin and Evolition of Meanings in the Universe The book explains why meaning is a.. Product #: 978-1-119-86509-4 Regular price: $226.17 $226.17 In Stock

Pathways to the Origin and Evolution of Meanings in the Universe

Sharov, Alexei A. / Mikhailovsky, George E. (Editor)

Astrobiology Perspectives on Life in the Univers


1. Edition March 2024
512 Pages, Hardcover
Wiley & Sons Ltd

ISBN: 978-1-119-86509-4
John Wiley & Sons

Further versions


Pathways to the Origin and Evolition of Meanings in the Universe

The book explains why meaning is a part of the universe populated by life, and how organisms generate meanings and then use them for creative transformation of the environment and themselves.

This book focuses on interdisciplinary research at the intersection of biology, semiotics, philosophy, ethology, information theory, and the theory of evolution. Such a broad approach provides a rich context for the study of organisms and other semiotic agents in their environments. This methodology can be applied to robotics and artificial intelligence for developing robust, adaptable learning devices.

In this book, leading interdisciplinary scholars reveal their vision on how to integrate natural sciences with semiotics, a theory of meaning-making and signification. Developments in biology indicate that the capacity to create and understand signs is not limited to humans or vertebrate animals, but exists in all living organisms - the fact that inspired the integration of biology and semiotics into biosemiotics. The authors discuss the nature of semiotic agents (organisms and other autonomous goal-directed units), meaning, signs, information, memory, evolution, and consciousness. Also discussed are issues including the origin of life, potential meaning and its actualization, top-down causality in physics and biology, capacity of organisms to encode their functions, the strategy of organisms to combine homeostasis with direct adaptation to new life-cycle phases or new environments, multi-level memory systems, increase of freedom via enabling constraints, creative modeling in evolution and learning, communication in animals and humans, the origin and function of language, and the distribution and transfer of life in space.

This is the first book on biosemiotics in its global conceptual and spatial scope. Biosemiotics is presented using the language of natural sciences, which supports the scientific grounding of semiotic terms. Finally, the cosmic dimension of life and meaning-making leads to a reconsideration of ethical principles and ecological mentality here on earth and in space exploration.


Theoretical biologists, ethologists, astrobiologists, ecologists, evolutionary biologists, philosophers, phenomenologists, semioticians, biosemioticians, molecular biologists, linguists, system scientists and engineers.

Preface xv

Acknowledgments xix

Part I: The Nature of Meaning and Its Components 1

1 Introduction: Towards Integrating Studies of Meanings with Science 3
Alexei A. Sharov

2 Pathways to the Understanding of Signs and Meanings in the Biosphere: Historical and Contemporary Perspectives 27
Donald Favareau and Kalevi Kull

3 Is it a Janus-Faced World After All? Physics is Not Reductionist 55
Bashir Ahmad and Richard Gordon

4 Semiotic Ground and the Hierarchic Nature of Information 71
Terrence W. Deacon

5 Ontology and Semiotics of Memory 85
Anton V. Sukhoverkhov and Arran E. Gare

6 Meanings, Their Hierarchy, and Evolution 101
George E. Mikhailovsky

7 Semiotics of Potential Meanings 137
Alexei A. Sharov

8 A Constructivist Approach to Meanings in the Universe 167
Alexander Kravchenko

Part II: Meanings in the Evolution of Life 187

9 Chemical Origins of Life, Agency, and Meaning 189
Alexei A. Sharov

10 Evolution of Biomolecular Communication 217
Gustavo Caetano-Anollés

11 Meaning Relies on Codes but Depends on Agents 245
Robert Prinz

12 Evolutionary Growth of Meanings in the Relational Universe of Intercommunicating Agents 265
Abir U. Igamberdiev

Part III: Meanings in Organism Behavior and Cognition 279

13 The Sentient Cell 281
Arthur S. Reber, Frantisek Baluska and William B. Miller, Jr.

14 A Hypothesis about How Bacterial Cells Sustain and Change Their Lives in Response to Various Signals 299
Vic Norris and Alexei A. Sharov

15 Self-Reinforcing Cycles and Mistakes: The Emergence of Subjective Meaning 325
Victoria N. Alexander

16 On the Energy-Based Limitations of the Information Capacity and Information Processing Rates in the Human Brain 345
Jack A. Tuszynski

17 The Peculiar Case of Danger Modeling: Meaning-Generation in Three Dimensions 363
Hongbing Yu

Part IV: Meanings in Humans and Beyond 377

18 Anchors of Meaning: The Intertwining of Signs, Abduction, and Cognitive Niches 379
Lorenzo Magnani

19 Levels of Translation, Levels of Freedom? 401
Kobus Marais

20 Towards a Biosemiotic Account of Memes as Units of Cultural Replication and Interpretation 419
Ivan Fomin

21 Astrobiosemiotics and Its Frontier with Astrobiology 439
Julian Chela-Flores

22 Time Horizons and Biosemiotic Adaptation: Taking Seriously Variable Temporalities in the Evolution of Possible Life Forms 453
Yogi H. Hendlin and Constantijn-Alexander Kusters

Declaration 467

References 467

Index 471
Alexei A. Sharov is the vice president of bioinformatics at Elixirgen Scientific in Baltimore, USA. He holds a Ph.D. in ecology and entomology from Moscow State University in Russia. He's the editor of Journal Biosemiotics, published 4 books, and 180 peer-reviewed papers. Sharov has organized three conferences on biosemiotics.

George E. Mikhailovsky is the president and CEO of Global Mind Share in Norfolk, USA. He has a Ph.D. in biophysics from Moscow State University in Russia and a DSc in systems ecology from P.P. Shirshov Institute of Oceanology. Currently, he is the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Evolutionary Science and has published 5 books and 100 peer-reviewed papers.

A. A. Sharov, Elixirgen Scientific, Baltimore, MD, USA; G. E. Mikhailovsky, Global Mind Share, Norfolk, VA, USA