Peirce, cybersemiotics, biosemiotics

Søren Brier wrote,

In accordance with Peirce’s semiotic phenomenology, which he calls phaneroscopy, an unlimited continuous stream of experiences (Firstness) is the force that gives rise to semiosis, when the momentary aspects of consciousness (Secondness) are related to one another through self-organization (Thirdness). Peirce assumed that feelings are inexplicable firsts, and that only when they are manifested in mind as individual expressions (Secondness) can they be related to each other and give rise to meaning through the regularity of this connection (Thirdness) as semiosis.

Søren Brier. “Levels of Cybersemiotics: Possible ontologies of signification.” Cognitive Semiotics, Issue 4 (Spring 2009), pp. 28–63

I’ve written about this previously citing Luhmann but not Peirce; however, Luhmann was influenced by this line of thought. Events (“unlimited continuous stream of experiences”) happen in a moment and pass away. But one event can be connected to previous and subsequent events, and this is how structures form. The temporal dimension is needed to conceive of before/after. So there is an event which has a before and an after. However, some system must make this observation, or use the temporal schema to make sense of “the unlimited continuous stream of experiences.” As Brier writes,

there is a deep connection between knowledge and time. This is connected to the foundational importance of irreversibility that destroys mechanicism as the basis of science.

p. 34

Brier goes on to write,

For Peirce, feeling is the basic quality of immediate consciousness having its own quality, independent of any other state of mind; it is perfectly simple in itself. Consciousness is built up by feelings (Firstness), perceptions (Secondness) and significations (Thirdness) combined in semiosis, allowing for various levels of consciousness in living systems.

p. 36

To be continued . . . Brier’s article is long and complex, and I don’t have the mental energy to deal with it all right now.


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