Difference in Kind or Difference of Degree?

  • Paul Cobley
Part of the Biosemiotics book series (BSEM, volume 15)


Possibly the most striking implication for culture arising from biosemiotics concerns the answer to the old question regarding whether humans are different in kind from non-human animals or whether the difference is a matter of degree. One imagines that the argument arose less frequently in the West before 1859 when Darwin published The Origin of Species. By 1871, Darwin had actually phrased the issue in what has become common parlance since the publication of The Descent of Man, asserting that


Sign Language Primary Modelling Human Language Linguistic Unit Secondary Modelling 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paul Cobley
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Distinguished Visiting Professor, School of Foreign Languages and CulturesNanjing Normal UniversityNanjingChina
  2. 2.President of the International Association for Semiotic Studies; and Professor in Language and Media, School of Media and Performing ArtsMiddlesex UniversityLondonUK

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