Describing Life: Towards the Conception of Howard Pattee

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Abstract

A description of living systems is still a topic of discussion among a number of disciplines. By an evaluation of the approaches, we get to an axis differentiating those that are indisputable in sense of dealing with verifiable and measurable phenomena. We thus also get to approaches that integrate particular extensions when dealing with the possibilities to describe living systems and processes. It is a task for biosemiotics to find connections of these approaches and thus ways to enrich each other or simply describe phenomena to the widest extent possible. One of the authors whose work is permeated by this idea is Howard Pattee. Inspired by his work, we discuss the options of description when talking about living systems and semiotic apparatuses. We do so by a formulation of two viewpoints that differ in questions of contextual dependency, interpretation and necessity of the existence of an autonomous agent as indispensable elements for the description of life phenomena.

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