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Re: [ontolog-forum] New Scientist Article

To: ontolog-forum@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx
From: "John F. Sowa" <sowa@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Date: Sun, 22 Aug 2010 12:13:28 -0400
Message-id: <4C714CA8.9050607@xxxxxxxxxxx>
Sean,    (01)

Thanks for the reference to the New Scientist, but I had to do some
searching to find the article.  Following is the URL:    (02)

http://www.newscientist.com/article/mg20727741.200-biosemiotics-searching-for-meanings-in-a-meadow.html?full=true    (03)

There is also a pointer to a book on biosemiotics, which costs $279,
but the opening chapter can be downloaded for free:    (04)

http://www.springer.com/life+sciences/book/978-1-4020-9649-5?detailsPage=free    (05)

 > ... the sequence is terminated where the interpretant sign is
 > directly used in some deductive mechanism in the interpreter - in
 > the case of chemical signaling, the sign-vehicle (the chemical)
 > takes part in the chemical reaction that  "is significant to" the
 > interpreting mechanism. I believe this goes beyond the way Peirce
 > would have interpreted his theory, since I think he expected
 > some sort of "mind" would be the interpreting agent - although
 > would Peirce have such a mechanistic view of mind that we have today?    (06)

Peirce was in the forefront of that.  He explicitly said "mind or
quasi-mind" -- and he definitely did not restrict them to human or
even human-like minds.  Among animals he cited dogs, parrots, and
even bees for mind-like examples.  He also emphasized the continuity
of mind-like patterns, by citing crystals as examples of long-distance
effects in chemical processes.  And he also speculated about the
nature of chemical processes in "protoplasm".    (07)

In his day, one-celled protozoa could be observed in microscopes,
and he recommended that the search for the origins of life should
focus on the origins of sign-like representations.  Peirce would
have been delighted to learn of the semiotic processes in DNA.    (08)

Peirce couldn't know modern computers, but he was familiar with
Babbage's computing devices and with the mechanical machines for
syllogisms and Boolean operations.  He even wrote a letter to
O. M. Mitchell, suggesting that he use electrical circuits
instead of mechanical linkages for logical operations.    (09)

Peirce also published an article about the psychological issues:    (010)

    Peirce, C. S. (1887) Logical Machines. _The American Journal
    of Psychology_, vol 1, pp. 165-170.    (011)

For an article about Peirce's views and comments on these issues,    (012)

    http://disputatio.com/articles/024-5.pdf    (013)

John    (014)

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