Chapter 14 The Polysemy of the Sign: A Quantum Lesson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


In both natural language and biology, signs are polysemous, with a range of possible meanings before interaction-in-context determines their value. What is the meaning of polysemy? What is the role of polysemy in linguistic and biological systems? In this chapter, I present the idea that organisms function by using two different, orthogonal modes of communication: digital (involving discrete units) and analogue (involving continuous values). I argue that the polysemy of the sign, here metaphorically interpreted as a superposition, is necessary for orchestrating these modes and tying them to a concrete context of interaction.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReviving the Living
Subtitle of host publicationMeaning Making in Living Systems
EditorsLaura McNamara, Mary Meyer, Ray Patondagger, Yair Neuman
Number of pages13
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2008

Publication series

NameStudies in Multidisciplinarity
ISSN (Print)1571-0831

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)
  • General


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