Constraint satisfaction, agency and meaning generation as an evolutionary framework for a constructive biosemiotic (2019 update)

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Biosemiotics deal with the study of signs and meanings in living entities. Constructivism considers human knowledge as internally constructed by sense making rather than passively reflecting a pre-existing reality. Consequently, a constructivist perspective on biosemiotics leads to look at an internal active construction of meaning in living entities from basic life to humans. That subject is addressed with an existing tool: the Meaning Generator System (MGS) which is a system submitted to an internal constraint related to the nature of the agent containing it (biological or artificial). Simple organisms generate meanings to satisfy a “stay alive” constraint. More complex living entities manage meaningful representations with more elaborated constraints. The generated meanings are used by the agents to implement actions aimed at satisfying the constraints. The actions can be physical, biological or mental and take place in the agent or in its environment. The case of human agency is introduced with meaningful representations that may have allowed our ancestors to become self-conscious by representing themselves as existing entities. This paper proposes to use the MGS as a thread to address the above items linking biosemiotics to constructivism with relations to normativity, agency and autonomy. Possible continuations are introduced.
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First archival date: 2016-11-06
Latest version: 3 (2019-06-26)
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A Natural History of Human Morality.Tomasello, Michael (ed.)
Understanding and Sharing Intentions: The Origins of Cultural Cognition.Tomasello, Michael; Carpenter, Malinda; Call, Josep; Behne, Tanya & Moll, Henrike
On Emergence, Agency, and Organization.Kauffman, Stuart & Clayton, Philip

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