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Life As Its Own Designer

Author: Anton Markoš
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9781402099700
Size: 15.28 MB
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It has been nearly 150 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and his theory of natural selection still ignites a forest of heated debate between scientific fundamentalists on the one hand and religious fundamentalists on the other. But both sides actually agree more than they disagree, and what has long been needed is a third way to view evolution, one that focuses more on the aspect of life and “being alive”, one that can guide us through, and perhaps out of, the fiery thicket. This book, a seminal work in the burgeoning field of Biosemiotics, provides that third way, by viewing living beings as genuine agents designing their communication pathways with, and in, the world. Already hailed as the best account of biological hermeneutics, Life As Its Own Designer: Darwin’s Origin and Western Thought is a wholly unique book divided into two parts. The first part is philosophical and explores the roots of rationality and the hermeneutics of the natural world with the overriding goal of discovering how narrative can help us to explain life. It analyzes why novelty is so hard to comprehend in the framework of Western thinking and confronts head-on the chasm between evolutionism and traditional rationalistic worldviews. The second part is scientific. It focuses on the life of living beings, treating them as co-creators of their world in the process of evolution. It draws on insights gleaned from the global activity of the Gaian biosphere, considers likeness as demonstrated on homology studies, and probes the problem of evo-devo science from the angle of life itself. This book is both timely and vital. Past attempts at a third way to view evolution have failed because they were written either by scientists who lacked a philosophical grounding or New Age thinkers who lacked biological credibility. Markoš and his coworkers form an original group of thinkers supremely capable in both fields, and they have fashioned a book that is ideal for researchers and scholars from both the humanities and sciences who are interested in the history and philosophy of biology, biosemiotics, and the evolution of life.

Cultural Implications Of Biosemiotics

Author: Paul Cobley
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9402408584
Size: 55.88 MB
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This is the first book to consider the major implications for culture of the new science of biosemiotics. The volume is mainly aimed at an audience outside biosemiotics and semiotics, in the humanities and social sciences principally, who will welcome elucidation of the possible benefits to their subject area from a relatively new field. The book is therefore devoted to illuminating the extent to which biosemiotics constitutes an ‘epistemological break’ with ‘modern’ modes of conceptualizing culture. It shows biosemiotics to be a significant departure from those modes of thought that neglect to acknowledge continuity across nature, modes which install culture and the vicissitudes of the polis at the centre of their deliberations. The volume exposes the untenability of the ‘culture/nature’ division, presenting a challenge to the many approaches that can only produce an understanding of culture as a realm autonomous and divorced from nature.

International Handbook Of Semiotics

Author: Peter Pericles Trifonas
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 9401794049
Size: 56.62 MB
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This book provides an extensive overview and analysis of current work on semiotics that is being pursued globally in the areas of literature, the visual arts, cultural studies, media, the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences. Semiotics—also known as structuralism—is one of the major theoretical movements of the 20th century and its influence as a way to conduct analyses of cultural products and human practices has been immense. This is a comprehensive volume that brings together many otherwise fragmented academic disciplines and currents, uniting them in the framework of semiotics. Addressing a longstanding need, it provides a global perspective on recent and ongoing semiotic research across a broad range of disciplines. The handbook is intended for all researchers interested in applying semiotics as a critical lens for inquiry across diverse disciplines.

The Oxford Handbook Of Ecocriticism

Author: Greg Garrard
Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
ISBN: 0199742928
Size: 18.48 MB
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The Oxford Handbook of Ecocriticism explores a range of critical perspectives used to analyze literature, film, and the visual arts in relation to the natural environment. Since the publication of field-defining works by Lawrence Buell, Jonathan Bate, and Cheryll Glotfelty and Harold Fromm in the 1990s, ecocriticism has become a conventional paradigm for critical analysis alongside queer theory, deconstruction, and postcolonial studies. The field includes numerous approaches, genres, movements, and media, as the essays collected here demonstrate. The contributors come from around the globe and, similarly, the literature and media covered originate from several countries and continents. Taken together, the essays consider how literary and other cultural productions have engaged with the natural environment to investigate climate change, environmental justice, sustainability, the nature of "humanity," and more. Featuring thirty-four original chapters, the volume is organized into three major areas. The first, History, addresses topics such as the Renaissance pastoral, Romantic poetry, the modernist novel, and postmodern transgenic art. The second, Theory, considers how traditional critical theories have expanded to include environmental perspectives. Included in this section are essays on queer theory, science studies, deconstruction, and postcolonialism. Genre, the final major section, explores the specific artforms that have animated the field over the past decade, including nature writing, children's literature, animated films, and digital media. A short section entitled Views from Here concludes the handbook by zeroing in on the various transnational perspectives informing the continued dissemination and globalization of the field.

Neither Ghost Nor Machine

Author: Jeremy Sherman
Publisher: Columbia University Press
ISBN: 0231545991
Size: 77.62 MB
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If the universe is aimless, how do selves and aims emerge? Why do living beings have aims when inanimate things do not? Current science encourages us to reject the ghost-in-the-machine explanation—that something called spirit, soul, mind, or will was somehow breathed into matter—and instead accept that selves are just matter, in aimless mechanistic motion like everything else. But what about life’s many emergent qualities, the multifarious purposes that shape actual physical behavior not just in human lives, but in all of life? Even the simplest life forms have adaptive functions, traits that accomplish goals or ends. How can we explain the nature and origin of selves and aims without resorting to supernatural forces or explaining them away as nothing but cause-and-effect mechanisms? In Neither Ghost nor Machine, Jeremy Sherman explains the emergence of selves and aims in an aimless universe. He distills for a general audience the theory developed by renowned neuroscientist Terrence Deacon, which extends the breakthrough constraint-based insight that inspired evolutionary, information, and self-organization theory. Emergent dynamics theory provides a testable hypothesis for how mattering arose from matter, function from physics, and means-to-ends behavior from cause-and-effect dynamics. It offers a physics of purpose, demonstrating that there is a strictly physical explanation for the emergence and nature of selves and aims, one that shows our existence in an otherwise inanimate universe is not absurd. Neither Ghost nor Machine bridges the gap between the hard and soft sciences, suggesting fresh and exciting solutions to philosophical mysteries that have perplexed humanity for millennia, from free will to causality to morality.

A Critical Companion To Zoosemiotics

Author: Dario Martinelli
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9789048192496
Size: 16.77 MB
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A critical companion of zoosemiotics is the first attempt to systematise the study of animal communication and signification through its most important and/or problematic terms and concepts, and its most representative scholars. It is a companion, in that it attempts to cover the entire range of key terms in the field, and it's critical, in that it aims not only to describe, but also to discuss, problematise and, in some cases, resolve, these terms.

Mixed Species Forests

Author: Hans Pretzsch
Publisher: Springer
ISBN: 3662545535
Size: 70.82 MB
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This textbook offers a detailed overview of the current state of knowledge concerning the ecology and management of compositionally and structurally diverse forests. It provides answers to central questions such as: What are the scientific concepts used to assess the growth, dynamics and functioning of mixed-species forests, how generalizable are they, and what kind of experiments are necessary to develop them further? How do mixed-species stands compare with monocultures in relation to productivity, wood quality, and ecological stability in the face of stress and disturbances? How are the effects of species mixtures on ecosystem functioning influenced by the particular species composition, site conditions, and stand structure? How does any over- or underyielding at the forest-stand level emerge from the tree and organ level, and what are the main mechanisms behind mixing effects? How can our current scientific understanding of mixed-species forests be integrated into silvicultural concepts as well as practical forest management and planning? Do the ecological characteristics of mixed-species stands also translate into economic differences between mixtures and monocultures? In addition, the book addresses experimental designs and analytical approaches to study mixed-species forests and provides extensive empirical information, general concepts, models, and management approaches for mixed-species forests. As such, it offers a valuable resource for students, scientists and educators, as well as professional forest planners, managers, and consultants.

The Symbolic Species Evolved

Author: Theresa Schilhab
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9400723369
Size: 33.74 MB
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This anthology is a compilation of the best contributions from Symbolic Species Conferences I, II (which took place in 2006, 2007). In 1997 the American anthropologist Terrence Deacon published The Symbolic Species: The Coevolution of Language and the Brain. The book is widely considered a seminal work in the subject of evolutionary cognition. However, Deacons book was the first step – further steps have had to be taken. The proposed anthology is such an important associate. The contributions are written by a wide variety of scholars each with a unique view on evolutionary cognition and the questions raised by Terrence Deacon - emergence in evolution, the origin of language, the semiotic 'missing link', Peirce's semiotics in evolution and biology, biosemiotics, evolutionary cognition, Baldwinian evolution, the neuroscience of linguistic capacities as well as phylogeny of the homo species, primatology, embodied cognition and knowledge types.

The Systems View Of Life

Author: Fritjof Capra
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
ISBN: 1107011361
Size: 72.77 MB
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The first volume to integrate life's biological, cognitive, social, and ecological dimensions into a single, coherent framework.

Oxygen And The Evolution Of Life

Author: Heinz Decker
Publisher: Springer Science & Business Media
ISBN: 9783642131790
Size: 43.98 MB
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This book describes the interlaced histories of life and oxygen. It opens with the generation of oxygen in ancient stars and its distribution to newly formed planets like the Earth. Free O2 was not available on the early Earth, so the first life forms had to be anaerobic. Life introduced free O2 into the environment through the evolution of photosynthesis, which must have been a disaster for many anaerobes. Others found ways to deal with the toxic reactive oxygen species and even developed a much more efficient oxygen-based metabolism. The authors vividly describe how the introduction of O2 allowed the burst of evolution that created today’s biota. They also discuss the interplay of O2 and CO2, with consequences such as worldwide glaciations and global warming. On the physiological level, they present an overview of oxidative metabolism and O2 transport, and the importance of O2 in human life and medicine, emphasizing that while oxygen is essential, it is also related to aging and many disease states.