Research field of ecosemiotics
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semiotics, biosemiotics, ecosemiotics, biosphere, semiosphere, culture, nature

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Gardashuk, T. (2020). Research field of ecosemiotics. Multiversum. Philosophical Almanac, 1(1), 69-83.


Ecosemiotics (the term introduced by Winfried Nöth in the year 1996) is an interdisciplinary field of research. It is aimed at: 1) deepening the understanding of the peculiarities of human interaction with the environment and between culture and nature based on a semiotic approach; 2) expanding the capabilities of man in cognition of both natural and cultural phenomena through applying semiotics instruments. Ecosemiotics is closely related to both biosemiotics, which considers semiosis as a basic feature of life, and semiotics of culture (cultural semiotics). Sometimes ecosemiotics is included in the field of ecological (environmental) philosophy. Ecosemiotics is based on the general principle of continuity from nature to mind, or synechism (Ch. Peirce), on the idea of the internal connection between the living (natural) and semiotic processes (J. Hoffmeyer) and on the holistic (systemic) view of the semiosphere (Yu. Lotman). Ecosemiotics considers relationships between culture and nature as a two-way process, where nature determines culture as well as culture in different ways outlines nature. Winfried Nöth referring to the principle of continuity from nature to mind (Peirce’s synechistic) distinguishes between cultural, biological and evolutionary aspects of ecosemiotics. He considers the problematic field of ecosemiotics as an investigation of environmental semiosis, that is sign processes which correlate organisms with their natural environment. According to Winfried Nöth, there are four principal models of relationships between humans and their environments: magical, mythological, metaphorical, and pansemiotic. Ecosemiotic approach can help to overcome the reductionist physical-chemical vision of the natural world in favor of more holistic view, when all organisms including the humans live in a world of signification that is in the semiosphere. Still the is no unified methodological approach to ecosemiotics as a relatively new field of research as well as no common vision of its problematic field. This is quite relevant to the situation in semiotics in general. Taking into account the constant growth of research, which position themselves as ecosemiotics, there is a crucial need in appropriate methodological reflections on ecosemiotics.
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