Volume 15 · Number 3 · Pages 271–279
Semiosis as Eigenform and Observation as Recursive Interpretation

Diana Gasparyan

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Context: Recent decades have seen the development of new branches of semiotics, including biosemiotics, cognitive semiotics, and cybersemiotics. An important feature of these concepts is the question of the relationship between the linguistic and extralinguistic world: in particular, the constructivist question of the role of observation and the observer in semiosis. Problem: Our understanding of the observer’s role in the framework of second-order cybernetics is incomplete without understanding where in the observation the significant activity, semiosis, takes place. By describing this process, we will see that semiosis has the structure of an eigenform. I will concentrate on linguistic semiosis, and will illuminate the role of the sign and interpretation, emphasizing the scheme and logic of this process. Method: I use theoretical and conceptual methods of argumentation, such as logical (deductive) and philosophical (phenomenological) proofs and thought experiments. Results: My argumentation underlines the importance of including interpretation (via the observer) in the process of signification. It reveals the reciprocal connections among all three elements (sign, object and interpretant) and their cyclic nature. I show that semiosis works according to the principle of an eigenform because of the cyclic and recursive nature of semiotic interpretation. Implications: My conclusions have productive implications for epistemic theories, linguistic theories, philosophy of language, theories of semiology, and semantics. They support the idea that we are unable to understand the world beyond language. Linguistic semiosis is an eigenform that creates the world in itself and through itself. The sign and the object are mutually and referentially related to each other. Constructivist content: Using the concept of eigenform helps to clarify how linguistic semiosis allows people to exist in language, bring forth objects and meaning potentials and construct reality. In this process, human beings self-fabricate as observers and, using aspects of “language,” become interpreters.

Key words: Eigenform, interpretation, interpretant, linguistic semiosis, object, recursion, semiotics, semiosis, sign.

Handling Editor: Alexander Riegler


Gasparyan D. (2020) Semiosis as eigenform and observation as recursive interpretation. Constructivist Foundations 15(3): 271–279. https://constructivist.info/15/3/271

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