Cyber-Semiotics: On autopoiesis, code-duality and sign games in bio-semiotics

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Søren Brier


Cybernetics & Human Knowing, Volume Vol 3, Issue No. 1 (1995)



cybernetics, cybersemiotics, information, semiotics


<p><i>This paper discusses how the second order cybernetics of von Foerster, Maturana, Varela and Luhmann, can be fruitfully integrated with Peirce&#39;s semiotics through the bio-semiotics of Hoffmeyer. The conclusion is that what distinguish animals from machines is that they are autopoietic, have code-duality and through their living organization constitutes a biological interpretant. Through this they come to inhabit a new life world: their games of life take place in their own semiotic Umwelt (von Uexk&uuml;ll). It is the biological context and the history of the species and the individual the determine the meaning of signs in the structural couplings that constitutes the channels of communication. Inspired by Wittgenstein&#39;s theory of language games as the context that determines semantic content of the expressions of sentences, we suggest that animals participate in sign games.</i></p>