Levels of Cybersemiotics: Possible Ontologies of signification

Publication Type:

Journal Article


Søren Brier


Cognitive Semiotics, Issue No. 4 (2009)




cybernetics, cybersemiotics, information, semiotics


In this article, it is argued that, in the making of a transdisciplinary theory of signification and communication for living, human, social and technological systems, C. S. Peirce’s semiotics is the only one that deals systematically in an evolutionary perspective with non-conscious intentional signs of the body as well as with language. Thus – in competition with the information processing paradigm of cognitive science – this conception naturally gives rise to biosemiotics. This development has also spawned an interest in the possibility of defining levels of signification. The Cybersemiotic approach proposed in the present article integrates Luhmann’s triple autopoietic theory of communication with pragmatic theories of levels and types of semiosis such as Intrasemiotics (between the psychic system and the biological self) and Thought-semiotics: the linguistic creation of a systematic and generative classification of the phenomenological, “silent” sign world. Finally a model of phenomenological reflection over “the hard problem of consciousness” called The Semiotic Star is suggested.