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Book Chapter

Self-organization and identity – links between theories?


Plath,  Peter Jörg
Physical Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Plath, P. J. (2009). Self-organization and identity – links between theories? In W. Wildgen, & B. v. Heusden (Eds.), Metarepresentation, Self-Organization and Art (pp. 265-288). Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien: Peter Lang Publishing Group.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0010-FAE2-B
This book is about the interrelationship between nature, semiosis, metarepresentation and (self-)consciousness, and the role played by metarepresentation in evolution. Representations must have emerged via self-organization from non-representational systems (found in physics, chemistry and biology). Major steps have been the evolution of molecules, macromolecules, life, and finally cultural and symbolic systems. Representations and signs are therefore parts of a huge, possibly branching «ladder of beings». Metarepresentations - images representing images, language about language and language-use, thoughts about thoughts - constitute a fascinating theme within such diverse areas of research as philosophy, literature, theology, anthropology and history, neuroscience, psychology and linguistics. The contributions to this book reflect this variety of different, but often interrelated perspectives on metarepresentation. They also exemplify the difficulties of a truly interdisciplinary discourse and show how one may start such a discourse in the field of semiotics, understood as a meta-discipline which brings together all scientific enterprises dealing with human mind and human culture.