A Critical Companion to Zoosemiotics:: People, Paths, Ideas by Dario Martinelli

By Dario Martinelli

A serious spouse to Zoosemiotics is the 1st try to systematize the self-discipline that experiences animal conversation and signification via its most vital and/or frustrating phrases and ideas, and its such a lot consultant students. it's a spouse, in that it makes an attempt to hide the complete diversity of keyword phrases of the sphere, and it truly is severe, in that it goals not just to explain, but additionally to debate and problematize such phrases. The publication is conceived for zoosemiotic scholars, researchers and students as a precious instrument for session, reference, learn and mirrored image, and it represents a fantastic supplement for analyzing and learning zoosemiotic books and essays.

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A principal and distinctive characteristic of semiotic biology lays in the understanding that in living, entities do not interact like mechanical bodies, but rather as messages, the pieces of text. This means that the whole determinism is of another type. [. , the centrality of semiosis rather than morphology), but also in strictly methodological terms: Nature, in other words, can be read as a text, it can be interpreted, it has a meaning, and so forth. So, is biosemiotics, after all, about just “everything”?

3) Ethical: also in the Chapter 5, it is suggested that engaging in the ethical implications of zoosemiotic research should not be considered out of place, and may in fact prove useful also at strictly scientific level. There exists, nowadays, an entire philosophical school (with followers like Peter Singer, Tom Regan or Mary Midgley) devoted to the discussion of non-human animals as moral subjects. Considering that points 2 and 3 of this list are more fully discussed in the Chapter 5, it shall be worthwhile to spend a few more words on the historical aspects of the relationship between zoosemiotics and philosophy, a topic we might easily name “proto-zoosemiotics”.

Finally, the pluralistic approach (based on the concept of Umwelt, developed by Uexküll already at the beginning of the twentieth century – see Uexküll 1899– 1940), starts by the assumption that the environment where an organism lives does not only consist in the actual environmental niche, but this latter is merely a physical portion of a bigger, not purely physical “environment” (Umwelt, indeed), which is perceivable and meaningful in its entirety only from the perspective of that particular organism: Let us consider, for example, the stem of a blooming meadow-flower and ask ourselves which roles are assigned to it in the following four Umwelts: (1) In the Umwelt of a girl picking flowers, who gathers herself a bunch of colorful flowers that she uses to adorn her bodice; (2) In the Umwelt of an ant, which uses the regular design of the stem surface as the ideal path in order to reach its food-area in the flowerpetals; (3) In the Umwelt of a cicada-larva, which bores into the sap-paths of the stem and uses it to extract the sap in order to construct the liquid walls of its airy house; (4) In the Umwelt of a cow, which grasps the stems and the flowers in order to push them into its wide mouth and utilizes them as fodder.

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