Cybersemiotics: Suggestion for a Transdisciplinary Framework Encompassing Natural, Life, and Social Sciences as Well as Phenomenology and Humanities

Professor, Copenhagen Business School, Department of International Studies on Culture and Communication, Copenhagen, Denmark


Abstract

The modern evolutionary paradigm combined with phenomenology forces us to view human consciousness as a product of evolution as well as accepting humans as observers from “within the universe”. The knowledge produced by science has first-person embodied consciousness combined with second-person meaningful communication in language as a prerequisite for third-person fallibilist scientific knowledge. Therefore, the study of consciousness forces us theoretically to encompass the natural and social sciences as well as the humanities in one framework of unrestricted or absolute naturalism. This means to view conscious quale life world with its intentionality as well as the intersubjectivity of culture as a part of nature, and therefore the whole human being as treated in modern bio-medicine. The ‘bio’ is not enough. The crucial question for a transdisciplinary theory of conscious human being is therefore: What is the role of consciousness, signs, and meaning in evolution as well as in cultural development? But this is problematic since the sciences in their present form are without concepts of qualia and meaning, and the European phenomenological-hermeneutic “sciences of meaning” does not have an evolutionary foundation. It is therefore interesting that C.S. Peirce phaneroscopic semiotics - in its modern form of a biosemiotics - was based on a phenomenological basis as well as an evolutionary thinking and ecology of sign webs at the same time drawing on knowledge from the sciences. To develop this 100 year old paradigm it is necessary to supplement it with the knowledge gained from the technologically founded information sciences, as well as systems, and cybernetics in order to produce a transdisciplinary alternative to logical positivism on the one hand and postmodern constructivism on the other. Cybersemiotics constructs such a non-reductionist naturalistic framework in order to integrate third-person knowledge from the exact sciences with first-person experiential knowledge produced in the humanities as well as second-person knowledge of the communicative interactions on which the social sciences are based.

Keywords


  • Cybersemiotics
  • Transdisciplinarity
  • Biosemiotics
  • Peircean semiotics
  • Consciousness
  • Phenomenology

Full Text


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