Chapter 14 The Polysemy of the Sign: A Quantum Lesson

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Abstract

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
Pages201-213
Number of pages13
DOIs
StatePublished - 25 Mar 2008

Publication series

NameStudies in Multidisciplinarity
Volume6
ISSN (Print)1571-0831

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering (all)
  • General

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