Deacon and the Biosemiotic

24 Oct

Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerges from Matter is a book by aDeaconTerrence Deacon, an anthropologist and biosemiologist, who addresses the origins of life and the philosophy of mind, with new attempts to respond to how nature has emerged.
The book seeks to explain concepts such as intentionality and normativity in a different purpose from that of phenomenology, but considering them with a more functionalist purpose, calls entenational (in the ontological sense), but grouped and therefore “national”.
The book explores the properties of life, the emergence of consciousness and the relationship between evolutionary and semiotic processes. The book speculates on how properties such as information, value, purpose, meaning, and ultimate directed behavior have arisen from physics and chemistry.
Critics of the book argue that Deacon strongly lured the works of Alicia Juarrero and Evan Thompson without providing complete quotes or references to the author, but an UC Berkeley investigation has cleared Deacon who is a professor there.
In contrast to the arguments presented by Juarrero in Dynamics of Action (1999, MIT Press) and by Thompson in Mind in Life (2007, Belknap Press and Harvard University Press), Deacon explicitly rejects the claims that living or mental phenomena can be explained by dynamic systems approaches.
Instead, Deacon argues that the properties of life or mind only emerge from a higher order reciprocal relationship between self-organized processes.
Terence Deacon will be in São Paulo at the EBICC Cognitive Science event.


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