Saturday, February 13, 2010

Consultation on Biolinguistics

At January 14, 2010, Marcello Barbieri mailed this message to a group of scholars in biosemiotics:
"We have all been critical of Chomsky’s ideas, to a lesser or greater extent, but we cannot ignore them, especially because they are the basis of the new research field of Biolinguistics which has been developed in parallel with Biosemiotics. By a strange coincidence, the journals that bear their names, Biolinguistics and Biosemiotics, have even started regular publication together, in 2008.
The crucial point is that both fields regard language as a natural phenomenon and claim a scientific approach to its study. Two different philosophies can remain entrenched forever into antagonistic positions, but two scientific disciplines are bound to look for dialogue, testing, confrontation and, ideally, for a synthesis of their ideas. Such a process, however, requires not only individual contributions but also collective discussions, and that is precisely the purpose of this collective letter.
I am sending in attachment the draft of a paper [here, C.E.] that proposes a synthesis of the two fields and I invite each of you to express your opinion. If you want to comment on the paper I shall be grateful, of course, but you can also ignore it and just express your ideas on the issue in question. The purpose of this consultation is to get a realistic picture of the feelings that exist today in Biosemiotics in respect to Biolinguistics, and I hope therefore that you will accept to comment on this point. Many thanks in advance for your attention and for your contribution."
Now Barbieri has compiled a file with the ensuing discussion, and asked me to post it here. You can download the the file here.
Barbieri kindly mailed me a version of his revised manuscipt, "On the Origin of Language - A synthesis of Biolinguistics and Biosemiotics", of February 11, 2010, that you can download here. Noam Chomsky and members of the Biosemiotic community are acknowledge.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Call for papers: Special issue of Hortus Semioticus

See our call for papers below (plus here). Note that graduate students and young scholars are particularly encouraged to submit. As my fellow guest editor Riin Magnus writes in an email, we hope seniors in the field can help by spreading the cfp to potentially interested students and young professionals. We would like to express...

...that we would thereby also like to form and strengthen the network of graduate students working in the semiotics of nature or similar fields.


Hortus Semioticus
Guest editors: Riin Magnus, Nelly Mäekivi and Morten Tønnessen

Hortus Semioticus is an online academic journal of semiotics - the study of signs and sign processes. In Tartu, Estonia, where the student journal is based, nature has long accompanied culture as a topic for semiotic inquiry (cf. the fields known as biosemiotics, ecosemiotics, and zoosemiotics). The driving force behind the journal is curiosity and the joy of inquiry. Around the summer of 2010 the journal will publish a special issue on the semiotics of nature (meaning living nature, rather than physical nature). We are inviting papers on the topics of meaning, value, communication, signification, representation, and cognition in and of nature (ranging from the cellular level to the global scene). We encourage originality within a scientific framework which emphazises the semiotic aspects of the life processes alluded to above. Not least, we strongly welcome submissions from other fields (besides, beyond or beneath semiotics). Graduate students and young scholars are particularly encouraged to submit. Contributions (5-20 pages) should be written in English or Estonian and sent to the guest editors by May 1st, 2010. Prior to that we're expecting an abstract (100-200 words) plus 3-5 keywords by April 1 2010. Please find further instructions here. Email addresses of the guest editors: (Riin Magnus), (Nelly Mäekivi) and (Morten Tønnessen)