01. About Evolutive Semiotic Ecology    
Alfred Lang ——————————— 
University of Bern, Switzerland
SemEco Essay Chapter
01. About Evolutive
—–Semiotic Ecology
Introductory Chapter: Intent and Scope of SemEco
This text is from www.langpapers.org————————————>>>> Navigation Outline
© 1961ff. by Alfred Lang——————————————————>>>> SemEco Outline
Scientific and educational use permitted ———————————>>>> Glossary of Terms
Version 2007.01.25 08:56
01.01  Ours is an Evolutive World. What we can come across or "know", is in all probability of the nature of Becoming. Most "things", to use the word like in "everything", can also change and will eventually vanish. Becoming, change, and demise is also the fate of all living beings within their own time span, of plants and animals and also of all humans. Only humans can systematically observe and present the gist and synthesis there of to some extent including sequels of and inferences from the observed, etc. in various mediating forms to other humans. Humans, in particular and in addition, can record the sequences of states as well as the sequences of change. It is well possible from such experience to come to the conclusions that things often generate other things which kind of expanded observation is the basis of the idea of Evolution. There are many and many different things and events, and, it seems, infinitely increasing in number and variety; most of them occurring independently of each other, some of them, however, quite dependent upon particular other ones. Becoming, change and demise sometimes results from internal, often also from external to them determination; most of this is largely regular; yet few things are clearly predictable or even necessary and thus the course of Evolution cannot be universal in spite of the considerable regularity we can also observe.
01.02 Evolutive determination must be local rather than universal. Much if not all of what we can discern is obviously changing, emerging, and demising, each set of things at its own pace determined by nearby sources. Most of it, like humans themselves and their world, is composed of parts, themselves evolved and evolving, as well as any of their compositions. I call "Structure" any thing or event that an observer can reliably recognize. There are also collections of things such as clouds or earth where we can only recognize their parts as Structures while the gathering is arbitrary; I call such gatherings “Formations”. We often can understand something from analyzing its parts. But most truly composed entities have entirely new qualities and potentials not present in their parts. They can emerge new potentials while their parts remain the same but are only reorganized. We should take that fact serious, and not attempt to treat such composites in terms of their parts only. And everything appears to be part of larger systems, more tightly or more loosely embedded in entities coordinated and interacting. Often we may lose the sense of something when we  miss to study it within the context of where it originated, where it received and fulfills its potential. Some entities appear rather stable, others more transient; some remain steady by continuous change. Some endure, others replicate nearly, some are replicated exactly or nearly, to retain their character. Innovation or variation is crucial, stability or reliability is essential. What does it mean to evolve? Evolution does both bring about an orderly world and and unexpected . This essay suggests to think out the consequences of the Evolutive Assumption that whatever Structure we can discern or infer or invent, emerges from encounter or Interaction of extant Structures.
(01.02.01 local) I understand “local’ as including field effects and similar kinds of “direct” connection.
(01.02.02 composed entities) It is one of the most astonishing features of many scientific endeavors, to attempt to reduce qualities of composed entities to qualities of their elementary entities
01.02 The Evolutive Assumption combines a generalization and a postulation. If Evolution, the reconciliation of stability and change, is as pervasive as we can observe, we may well make the generalization that everything is generically evolutive, both emerging from and then determining the evolutive Process. Has not the Western way of thinking put one-sided weight on stability and considered change, especially unpredictable change, as a nuisance? Obviously, “chance” is a postulation rather and an explanation for irregularities of determination. I propose in this essay to query a number of issues that have become taken for granted without safe foundation. Mostly, they have been dealt with differently in other cultures or they may rest on presumptions that are questionable too. But it is not my purpose to query only, although I think that we often tend to pursue the evolutive character of our world only when it befits our purpose, while we are preferably interested in predictability so often, although we cannot really predict events. I prefer to renounce the said presumptions and develop a way of conceiving of our world in ways as simple and appropriate as possible. This requires to conceive of constancy and change in conjunction; It cannot be that order and change have different causes: lawful replication of the former, chance for the latter. What we find stable, also emerges from change; change results from interaction of varying things, stability from the same things. I have found the triadic nature of the basic process of all Evolution the most parsimonious and fertile postulation of all I could think of. So I make it my basic postulation. It claims that the world is structured and that whenever two extant and appropriate Structures encounter, they may interact and generate a third, new or replicated, or change or demise one of the two, all of these dependent upon two Structures encountering and so producing a third. The genuine Triad is the essential Relation of the Evolutive Process altogether. You cannot understand the generation of new entities from dyadic Relations except by postulating a third. Yet it is feasible that higher order Relations can usually be reduced to a set of Triads (Peirce). It is most interesting that concatenations of Triads can account of both growing and limited diversity, branching and merging, whereas these essential processes are unthinkable in sets of Dyads. Triads may be real or analytically found Relations.
01.03 This Evolutive Assumption obviates any base supposed to determine any event from outside that event. In fact, it has never been clarified where a more or less universal or eternal law could reside and how it could become effective in any particular here and now. Yet separation of the law and its effect is at the base of the Western dualisms, or of the split between the material, the precondition and the effect, and the idea(l), the natural law, in particular. In Western science we observe the strange inconsistence that the world at large is considered to be material while it is thought to be regulated by immaterial determination. A truly Evolutive World forbids such split. Whatever we may conceive of anything, its determination must be local. If some law should be pervasive, it would amount to duplicating the world: an ideal Evolution running in parallel with the real one is rising the absurd question of primacy. I take that for a dream of safety fanatics.
01.04 The Evolutive Assumption also dispenses with privileged Structures or Processes of any kind such as may be evident in notions like universal law or God. In the Evolutive Process what results from interactive encounter must then be determined by the interactive encounter of extant Structures and nothing else. And if we can find a specification of how Interaction operates generically, i.e. in all instances of encounter, this is the best we can do. The ideal of modeling an evolutive world on levels rather detailed is vain. What we can do however is to describe some sections of Evolutions we observe or infer and state the general principle such Process follows. In fact, we can discern or infer lots of Structures and may invent others and can observe some of the interactive Processes where extant Structures are modified and new Structures attained.
01.05 Adopting the Evolutive Assumption in addition means to give up the separative opposition between Structure and Process and declare their Relation of uttermost importance. For Process is Structure change and Structure is Process halt at an arbitrary time threshold that varies widely for different animals and their different sensory systems and system states. These two traditionally separated entities, Structures and Processes, must be seen altogether equivalent and will turn into two faces only of one entity. For Structures are required when Processes are to occur; and Processes are exclusively the occasion where Structures arise or change. Western thinking has taken Substances prime and Relations secondary to be inquired selectively according to interest. In understanding Evolutive Systems Relations should be taken strategically prime. For it is the Relations that lead us to the the Structures involved in anything. When we take Structures prime, we take their Relation with ourself much too important.
01.06 Let us consider the role of the figure/ground principle in focussing on substances/Structures rather than the Relations. Remember that our sensory and perceptual/cognitive system cannot deal at once with the world at large. Even from its surface at any time they must focus on some part and contrast it to the rest of the surface, at the moment of lesser importance. This universal principle has been detected by Rubin in 1915. It amounts to cutting units out of their context. For that is exactly what perception does for the sake of simplicity. I suppose it has heavily influenced intellectual commerce with things. Yet figure before ground distinction in awareness is a process reducing overload in experience. Factually the ground or the surrounds of a distinct figure has some influence on how things are perceived and conceived.
01.07 Structures are resulting from interactive Processes are again capable of further Interaction in Evolutive Systems. Our world can be understood as Structures composing Evolutive Systems composed of Evolutive Systems emerging further Structures in replication and innovation of further Structures. Some Evolutive Systems are encapsulated in, some compose other ones. Others run in parallel, some independently, some in one way or mutual Interaction, continuously or intermittently. Some are in rather steady states and thus quite predictable over smaller or larger temporal or spatial ranges. Others behave more virulent and in their interactions are capable of innovative change at larger or smaller scales.
01.08 Since no Structure can coincide with any other Structure except by Interaction Structure must be “autonomous” to some degree, being capable of moving  or being moved around, and at the same time “interested” in some others, due to selective capabilities of interaction. Disregarding all of their specific characters the relatedness of the Structures in terms of their nearness, i.e. their spread and distribution at any given time constitutes space; their successions in descending and open-ended linages constitute temporality, yet not homogeneous time. Evolutive Systems thus can be described on smaller or larger temporal and spatial Horizons. Evolution evolves itself in that not only the forms attained but also the procedures bringing them about have emerged in the evolutive process itself and are evolving further on. The ways evolution operates and evolves is both unpredictably changing yet also quite systematically continuing.
(01.08.01 Evolution evolves itself) The “evolution of evolution” pointing to the observation that Evolution itself is evolving is an idea John Dewey has advanced in his 1920 The Reconstruction of Philosophy.
01.09 Taking the Evolutive Assumption serious restricts prediction as to how Evolutive Systems exactly shall evolve, however regular the streams of events and emergencies are. For Structures interact in part contingently based on their proper motion; in part selectively based on their affinities. Evolution thus conceived allows of no master plan nor anything alike to be expressed in a formula that is simpler than the word itself, to whatever degree stretches of the stream, looking backwards, may show regularity. For where could that rule or force lodge and how could it make its power effective at any one encounter of Structures in the Evolutive Process? The Evolutive Assumption excludes influence from outside the evolutive stream itself. Thus, understanding evolution amounts to describing the Structures involved in the Processes on the concrete level and conceptually reconstructing interactional net of things in space and time they have brought about. To the degree most Structures are themselves stable, the emergencies from their Interactions will show regularities as well. Thus order and regularities we find in Evolutive Systems, provided we have made appropriate descriptions, allow expectations on what is possible or impossible and likely or unlikely to occur next and what may be of import in what respects. This contrasts deeply with the overall orientation of Western thinking since the Greek classics, the Christian credo, and the Modernity contention that the world is the expression of an eternal order of things and follows a kind of master plan to be uncovered by scientific inquiry in principle and in detail however much the facts accessible may be troubled by chance.
01.10 Evolutive Systems in process can be described as sets of Structures in active or latent Relations. Due to their spatial distribution and motion encounters among Structures are contingent. Yet the Interactions among Structures having co-evolved to various degrees of affinity and vicinity and what they emerge, though essentially unpredictable, are far from random.
01.11 Structures can be described in terms of Matter-Energy-Formations or -Organizations we can discern or infer, recognize and compare. Most Structures are themselves relatively stable Evolutive Systems. By their Interactions the Structures involved may change or may dissolve. In order to understand Evolutive Systems we have foremostly to account for how new Structures arise. Structure Formation, as such process may be named, is the key Process in Evolutive Systems besides structural change, actualization, and demise.
01.12 In view of the integration of the notions of Matter and of Energy accomplished by Einstein I suggest to make another step towards integrating Form or Organisation of Matter-Energy into the concept of what constitutes our world. The Evolutive Assumption implies that all three aspects are as intrinsically one as we now understand the two former aspects to be only facets or manifestations of one entity. The task then is to inquire how Form or Organization can be attained stepwisely or by Evolution from the Forms and Organizations of Matter-Energy already emerged rather than determined by factors either effecting from outside or inherent within anything and thought to contain everything in nuce from the beginning. Matter, Energy, and Form or Organization are inseperable since the beginning of the cooling of our universe but not totally dependent among themselves as physical law would like it to have. For they the three are abstractions from one rather than entities by themselves.
01.13 Our role in discerning and recognizing Structures is inevitable. Yet we should avoid assuming it is either objective or subjective. Structures are Gestalt like entities probably both in their world itself and in our perceiving and conceiving them. But the Gestalten out there and the Gestalten as perceived and elaborated are not identical. The latter underly, fortunately, the Figure-Ground-principle governing perception, cognition, and feeling; i.e. our experiential world is chunked into handable units while the former, although being chunked too, effectively is a differentiated stream of things, part of sets of encapsulated and parallel evolutive systems, everything connected both along its becoming and in view of possible relations at a given time. We should rely on treating of things in any possible way only after our discerning has proven pertinent to what the Structures whose Interactions we want to follow are doing with each other. Why should it be of so much interest how any given Structure affects our senses and what we make thereof? That epistemological road has proven fallible; it leads nowhere. We better follow the effects of Structures we can discern upon each other and observe how they are built and dissolved and what we need to infer to mediate where we cannot observe. Ourselves we are Structures like other Structures, whatever peculiarities we may show. But characterizations of ourselves should result from our understanding rather than being presumed or posited at the beginning of our inquiries. What appears to us to be of the nature of being is usually a phase in becoming. Structures as we are discerning them and dealing with them cannot be taken for true representations of parts of the world. There is no epistemological privilege in our discerning of Structures. Our dealing with Structures and their Interactions is inevitably perspectival. Yet our perspectives can be factually coordinated by giving the Structures’ behavior greater weight than our way of being affected by them.
01.13.01 (at the beginning) By way of example I remind here the Prestabilized Harmony notion of Leibniz with its many precursor and successor variants or some contemporary String Theory interpretations whose adherents are still dreaming of similar elementary but overall effective prime factors as law-dispensing prime constituents of the whole world. I judge such notions to be metaphysics in physical clothes.
01.14 Nevertheless, in our perspective the most important Evolutive System may be called the Human Condition. The Human Condition refers to all Structures and their relational and formational potentials that are a condition of human existence. Again, we should not decide before we understand what to include or exclude. And since humans themselves are most influential contributors to their condition and in addition have become a major factor of the course of the world the Human Condition includes human impact on the rest of the world and its future course. Evolutive Systems disallow exclusion of what might eventually become of import. Our notion of Human Condition then refers to the sum total of our understanding ourselves within our world. The Human Condition as a whole is real although we can conceive of it only nominally. For all its parts can have effects upon ourselves and upon the Human Condition itself. This demands that we deal with the Human Condition as a reality existing independent of our conceiving it in this or that way, whatever the role of our understanding it plays in its becoming.
01.15 The Human Condition matters. Structures in the world we discern and thus are manifest somehow in our heads or whatever other symbolization are just further Structures in the world. It is rash to conceive of them as representations in the sense that they can substitute their referents. We have to follow the interactive courses of the original structures and of the structures we build and believe to be related to the former; both are real and can have effects on their own rights. (Wirklich ist, was wirkt oder wirken kann.) Granted that our referencing structures in our understanding are related to their referents that we want to understand we must also admit that the way the latter have been gained is an important factor of their character and of their potential to have effects. Do we have an adequate understanding of the Human Condition?There are no criteria in an evolutive world about whether we have discerned rightly or wrongly and whether we have made our inferences realistically or only played with symbols in our heads, on paper or in computers. No matter how they are related to their supposed referents they may or may not have impact on the latter’s course and if they have it is in ways not predetermined. Their eventual effects is all what they mean no matter whether that impact fits or differs from our expectations, fears, or purposes.
01.16 So we have to consider that we conceive the Human Condition not only in the sense that it includes everything of import to human beings and their future but as well in that humans and their collective impact have become a major factor in the becoming of most to everything on planet Earth. We know, we are just another kind of a complex animal. But to our distinction, we have developed a potential of influence on the rest of our world on planet Earth which may not only change, perhaps destroy the very Human Condition in the former sense itself. The Human Condition therefore is our world as well as the world at large. It is very difficult to distinguish what to include and what not to exclude. Our potentials can have effects on the rest of the planet’s surface of an order that no other discernible factor possibly had for millions of years
01.17 Understanding Evolutive Systems in general and the Human Condition in particular means to reconstruct the nets of the Relations in which the Structures are formed and in which they are actualizing some of their potentials to contribute to building and changing other Structures. Structures and the Processes they are involved just as Processes and the Structures they bring about are two faces of the one world becoming. They can only analytically be separated. There can be no primacy of import between the generators and the generated. Understanding Evolutive Systems, however, demands a Strategic Primacy of Relations. For starting with the Structures, as is common in the Western scientific tradition, necessitates decisions about what Structures to select and what relations to follow. And these are handed over to the inquirer. This gives ourselves and our shortsighted and one-sided interests much too influential a role in our understanding. What is known as objectivity actually depends on subjects’ decisions about how to cut selections and what relations to follow, whether this is done individually or in collective consent.
01.18 Reconstructing the real nets of Relations among the structures of import to the Human Condition can be and is done in various forms. Every individual continuously does it in perceiving his situation, by relating the present to his former experience and by acting in certain ways in that situation. In this he may build appropriately realistic or to some degree unrealistic pictures and expectations. Humans living together comport on the basis of the basis of such understanding the develop a particular practice characterizing the life forms in their communities. Humans, both as individuals and collectively, by means of their language and other systems of symbolic representations form what is often called their image of the world and their image of themselves as human beings. These images and the respective Practice may be both particular in their scope and going beyond what has been observed by adding presumptions. The Religions are prime instances of such non-realistic “re”presentations. The Arts contribute strongly, however selectively and in often indirect ways. For centuries an approach dominated by conceptual means has been Philosophy. Its particularity is the attempt to allow for continuous logical or observation based emendation of the picture considered to be provisional and improvable in any one phase. With increasing differentiation of the Sciences this corrective process has largely been given up in favor of accuracy of detailed facts considered in isolation and of connection considered useful for certain purposes. The approach proffered in this essay is essentially conceptual and correctional in conjunction with observation.
01.19 Semiotic Ecology proffers a set of conceptual tools to describe and understand the operations and thus the constitution and regulation of Evolutive Systems in generic ways. It puts the Evolutive Assumption into practice by generically accounting for Structure Formation as well as for Structure Change and Demise. The set of concepts and conceptions forming Semiotic Ecology are primarily descriptive. In addition they allow the construction of theories of varying scope. Semiotic Ecology builds upon two fundamental observations of Structures interacting: their ecological organization and their emergence of semiotic relations.
01.20 Interaction is essentially ecological. Structures in Evolutive Systems preferably interact in spatial vicinity and temporal contiguity. The Interaction implies affinities and positive or negative preferences for the Structures involved. Interaction thus is creating or presupposing an environment which can be seen as offering preparedness for system formation.
01.21 Interactions can become semiosic and semionic, i.e. they operate upon Meaning. Meaning does not presuppose some highly developed or second nature Structures such as language or a mind. Many Structures differentiate in such a way that they “recognize” one another or one the other in terms of “surface” qualities and in addition “know” of one another’s hidden potential. This is possible for relatively complex Structures that have co-evolved such as organisms and many parts of their natural or cultural environment. This duplicity of making use of open and latent characters makes Interaction transactional, i.e. reaching beyond the Structures immediately involved in encounters. The hidden qualities of these structures are incorporations of events earlier in the chain of their becoming. Similarly, the potential activation in Transaction generates continuity reaching into the future beyond the mechanics of the present Interaction.
(01.21.01) Meaning the is the essential emergence of the genuine evolutions. It is generated in ecosystems, starting with biosystems. And it constitues ecosystems.
01.23 Meaning has to be taken out of that cognitive special domain. It is not sufficient to expand to meaning systems like myths, literature etc. Because in genuine evolutions practically nothing is generated and is generating that is not essentially meaning. The interactive ongoings are more of a framework, to be respected, yes, but everything essential is based on Meaning and Transaction.
01.24 Analytically, Structure Formation, whether interactional / mechanic or transactional / semiosic, can be described as triadic causative relation. Triadic causative relations such as two structures encountering and so generating a third is the essential building block element of Evolutive Systems. It implies both the structural / static and the dynamic / process features. Constricted to dyadic relations nothing new could arise under the evolutive assumption and no selective preference could be attained. Dyadic causation is a special case of triadic causation. This contrasts with common understanding of meaning to be superimposed on mechanics.  Evolutive Systems operate upon Triadic Causation. While the more basic evlutions such as of the elementary particles, the formation of the cosmos, and the constitution of the surface of the planet are functioning mechanically upon triadic Interaction, the genuine evolutions such as of life, of individual becoming and of culturality are constituted and regulated by Generative Semiosis and nothing else.
01.25 This conception of Generic Evolution based on Triadic Interaction and generative Semiosis is of the nature of a quasi-axiomatic assumption. This essay shall spell out the principle and what I find to be the consequences of its application to what can be observed or inferred to be the case in our world. Its purpose is to check how far the the Evolutive Assumption can carry or to find out whether or not there are phenomena that evade being conceived as sequels of the Evolutive Assumption. Obviously it is an assumption well in line with what can be assured by observation, comparison, experimentation, experience with real facts, whether human made or not. In some respect my generic evolutive principle resembles the principles of conservation of matter or energy or the principle of both combined in Relativity: in essence a methodological supposition is used as a powerful heuristic for understanding. The assumption constrains our constructive efforts to the real causes of any transformation and renders superfluous any positing of additional principles. My expectation is that it can bring apparently very different manifestations to be understood as sequels of the same and simple principle.
01.26 Yet the scope of the Evolutive Assumption is much wider than the conservation principle in the matter-energy realm. Evidently, Generic Evolution is not only compatible with, indeed, it is embraces our understanding of the matter-energy-realm in generic ways. The physico-chemical sciences have originally attained their knowledge mostly under non-evolutive presumptions yet have founded techniques that are themselves a part of the Evolutive Process, obviously of the cultural kind. More recently theses sciences have at least in part also adopted the evolutive nature of our world as a founding principle, in particular of the cosmic process. Indeed, that understanding of the behavior of elementary particles and of the forces involved are seen in Semiotic Ecology cases of the most basic of the Evolutive Process. Yet SemEco does not accept the still and largely retained presumption of physico-chemical and other scientists that everything else can be explained by or reduced to the behavior of the elementary particles and forces.
    (01.26.01 techniques) I deliberately call “techniques” what has become to be named the “technologies”; for I think the latter term should be reserved to denote analyzing and reflecting about and guiding what one is technically doing.
01.27 Culturality cannot be derived from nature, moral matters cannot be explained on physical principles. Conversely, the former can neither evade natural law nor be used to overcome the latter except in fiction. And so it is imperative, indeed, urgent after centuries of dominance of fancy and in view the imminent enslaving of humanity by the powers of mechanistic mind, to have an understanding of the Human Condition embracing what has arbitrarily been divided into nature and culture. SemEco has many potentials. A major one is to dissolve the problems of the resulting dualisms.
01.28 It may be tempting to read SemEco as a philosophy of science or of the sciences. But if philosophy of science is seen as “the study of the relation between the different departments of knowledge” I propose to reverse the procedure. On the grounds that, once the object ranges of the sciences and their interests are defined, each one by itself, there is no chance ever to make their relations clear. For there is no vantage point outside of yet common to all of them, no matter whether the inquiry is descriptive or normative. SemEco, instead, is rather an attempt to lay a common ground to understanding. If and to what extent the sciences can and perhaps should reconstruct (parts of) their important insights on that ground and how such can become related to other human endeavor at understandig remains to be seen.
(01.28 knowledge) Repeating a major error committed by the sciences in the 19th century, viz. taking the mathematizing and experimenting sciences of matter and energy, physics and chemistry, for a model for all sciences, today the bio-evolutionary model, a vulgarized Darwinism, is mistaken for a generic model of understanding the human body, the blisses and miseries of individuals, and the organization of living together as well. While having merits and as well as shortcomings in explaining bio-evolutionary theory our understanding of some changes of the living nature, of human individuals and societies and of the environment common to all cannot be comprehended adequately by analogy. In similar ill-placed endeavors academic psychology and much of sociology have claimed and are being granted the status of a natural or social science following the model of natural science; they too have undertaken a program of reducing psychical and social phenomena to physico-chemical and logical forms.
01.29 Secondly, SemEco claims to pertain beyond knowledge. One of its achievements will be to end the opposition of knowing and the known. Knowledge or (re)presentations of any kind are seen as phases of the Evolutive Process in general. I see no reasons or warranty to privilege human knowledge in any ways. It is particularly prone to become isolated from reality. Witness the history of epistemology with its scores of questions never solved. Knowledge should not be separated from the phases preceding and following it in any one evolutive cycle, such as its sensory preconditions and its actional consequences as well as from any other mediating stages. SemEco resorting to realism whenever questions remain unsolved eschews all fallacies of the kind Whitehead attributed to “Bifurcation” and that can be traced to similar artificial schemes based on abstractions.
(01.29.01 bifurcation) see Whitehead, Alfred N. (1920) The concept of nature. [Is Prigogine's bifurcation notion pertinent? When the distance from equilibrium (measured by some appropriate parameter) reaches a certain threshold, the trajectory of a system meets a fork, or bifurcation. The system may then leave the trajectory along which it has evolved from equilibrium, and jump to a totally different one. If the system is pushed even further, more bifurcations may appear, and when the system is very far from equilibrium, it behaves completely chaotically (as, for example, the regular flow of a liquid may become turbulent). But, alternatively and unexpectedly, the system might reach a new, ordered state -- what Prigogine called a "dissipative structure". Science Week 2003.12.09.]
 01.30 In addition to problems of the kind I have listed above, I have adopted a strategy radically differing from the one at the base of Western philosophy and science. The quest for fixed certainties is futile in an evolutive world. An ideal of rationality is probably the kernel of those attempts to gain the secure. It has led to confound our symbolizations with what they are supposed to refer to. It has even led to search for the secure in pure symbols, giving up any reference range outside the symbol world produced for the transcendental, i.e. that beyond our reach. To find an Archimedian point, itself certain, to warrant all our understanding has been the vain obsession of generations. On the other hand, reducing evolutive functionality to criteria of social conformity such as in constructivism may sooner or later become similarly devastating.
01.31 Charles Peirce’s argument against Descartes’ cogito ergo sum opens a fruitful alternative. You cannot doubt everything, says Peirce, your are in fact full of beliefs, whether you know it or not. Spending your life in doubting your beliefs would still leave plenty of them. For how could you doubt if not by comparing with something certain? So it would amount to the same whether you started from beliefs or from doubts. To belief that you doubt is not safer than any other belief.
(01.03.01 doubt, belief) Peirce, Charles S. (1877) The fixation of belief – Illustrations of the Logic of Science I. In: The essential Peirce. Vol. 1, Pp. 109-123, Nathan Houser & Christian Kloesel (Eds.) Bloomington, Indiana Univ. Press, 1992. Also in: Writings 3:242-257; Collected Papers 5.358-387.
01.32 However, Peirce took the idea in another direction. When you doubt you are moved to repair your problem, to fix your belief in better way. For it is unsupportable in the long run to live in doubt. Doubt paralyzes, prohibiting decision and action. What is prime then is to gain better beliefs. This introduces feeling and appraisal into science. Negative feelings motivate inquiry; positive feelings, intrinsically interwoven with coherence of intellectual acts, can indicate improved belief.
01.33 What this essay conveys, in my opinion, is very practical. For it can change, perhaps revolutionize they way we comport ourselves in our world and how we care for others and they for us. In case people thus revolutionized are coupling their ways a new cultural tradition may get its roots. In the immediately human world tradition is nothing but the ongoing multivoiced Practice that allows us to live together and as well to disturb as to enjoy our existence.
01.34 Yet expecting Semiotic Ecology to be useful in allowing technical developments will be futile. SemEco is not a technology revealing a set of techniques in the sense of instruments and procedures to attain specified objectives. In some way, SemEco taken as a generic theory of evolution is a counterpoint to Techniques in general in that it insists on the facts demonstrating that the Evolutive Process is at its best when it directs attempts to attain set goals into dream fields and contents itself to held direction and to avoid mishap.
(01.34.01 techniques) See note 01.26.01
01.35 Finally, there is an idea I have learnt from Peirce and that I want to give the reader on the way here. Concepts that refer to the real world, especially if this real world is an evolutive world, usually cannot be sharp, or to cite Descartes, clear and distinct. If they were to be distinct, they are probably quite meaningless because they must have been deprived of their context. If they were to be clear the question remains uncleared whether they only appear to be clear to the mind of their user or they are in fact clear, and that means communicable to any other mind and without uncertainty. Sharp concepts are apt to cut the things asunder they are supposed to treasure.