Advertisement

Ethics Cannot Be Voluntary

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

Abstract

In biosemiotics, ethics is to be considered as arising mainly from three features of the human Umwelt. The first is in the displacement capacity of language: the possibility of signifying, in remote fashion, other times and places, things that have not yet happened (fictions), as well as anticipation and ideal scenarios based on an evaluation of current ones. This latter displacement capacity is ethics. It is probably closely related to other faculties of anticipation as well as the displacement projections mentioned here. The second is in all the aspects of the Umwelt that contribute to experience, including experience of pleasure, pain, sadness, happiness, well-being and so forth. The third is in the specific experience otherness that accrues in the human Umwelt that was discussed in the last chapter. Although these features are sometimes alluded to in passing in the biosemiotic literature, analyses of the ontology of ethics in biosemiotics have been somewhat circumvented. Instead, articles on ethics in biosemiotics have tended to immediately jump to discussions of ethical and moral questions that might be approached in a biosemiotic frame, such as the value accorded to different inhabitants of the biosphere (Tønnessen 2003; Beever 2012).

Keywords

Human Umwelt Displacement Capacity Semiotic Animal Sebeok Badiou 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

References

  1. Agamben G. In: Attell K, editor. State of exception. Chicago: Chicago University Press; 2005.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Agamben G. Homo sacer. Trans. Deborah Heller-Roazen. Stanford: Stanford University Press; 1998.Google Scholar
  3. Alibhai-Brown Y. After multiculturalism. London: Foreign Policy Centre; 2000.Google Scholar
  4. Althusser L. For Marx. Trans. Ben Brewster. London: New Left Books; 1969.Google Scholar
  5. Badiou A. Ethics: an essay on the understanding of evil. Trans. Peter Hallward, London: Verso. 2001.Google Scholar
  6. Baldwin J. Beyond bodies, culture and language: an introduction to Alain Badiou. Subj Matter. 2004;1(2):1–20.Google Scholar
  7. Barry B. Culture and equality. Oxford: Polity; 2000.Google Scholar
  8. Barthes R. Change the object itself. In: Stephen Heath, ed. and trans. Image – music – text, London: Fontana; 1977b.Google Scholar
  9. Beever J. Meaning matters: the biosemiotic basis of bioethics. Biosemiotics. 2012;5:181–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bloom C. Violent London: 2000 years of riots, rebels and revolts. London: Sidgwick and Jackson; 2003.Google Scholar
  11. Cobley P. How to be evil. Subj Matter. 2004;1(2):47–66.Google Scholar
  12. Cobley P, Randviir A. What is sociosemiotics? Sociosemiotica special issue eds. Cobley and Randviir Semiotica. 2009; 173 (1–2):1–39.Google Scholar
  13. De Waal F. Good natured: the origins of right and wrong in humans and other animals. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 1996.Google Scholar
  14. De Waal F, editor. The tree of origin: what primate behavior can tell us about human social evolution. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press; 2001.Google Scholar
  15. De Waal F, Macedo S, Ober J, editors. Primates and philosophers: how morality evolved. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 2006.Google Scholar
  16. Deely J. The quasi-error of the external world. Cybern Hum Know. 2003;10(1):25–46.Google Scholar
  17. Deely J. The semiotic animal: a postmodern definition of human being to supersede the modern definition as ‘res cogitans’. Sofia: New Bulgarian University; 2005.Google Scholar
  18. Engels F. Ludwig Feuerbach and the end of classical German philosophy. Moscow: Progress; 1946 [1886].Google Scholar
  19. Deely J, Petrilli S, Ponzio A. The semiotic animal. New York: Legas; 2005.Google Scholar
  20. Gouldner AW. The two Marxisms. New York: Oxford University Press; 1980.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Han L. Umwelt as a female Taoist principle: re-reading the Tao Te Ching. Paper delivered at the 16th Gatherings in Biosemiotics. Prague: Charles University; 2016.Google Scholar
  22. Habermas J. The structural transformation of the public sphere: an inquiry into a category of bourgeois society. Trans. Thomas Burger and Frederick Lawrence, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press; 1989.Google Scholar
  23. Hoffmeyer J. S/E = 1: a semiotic understanding of bioengineering. Sign Syst Stud. 2001;29(1):277–90.Google Scholar
  24. Kelly P, editor. Multiculturalism reconsidered: culture and equality and its critics. Oxford: Polity; 2002.Google Scholar
  25. Kress GR. Against arbitrariness: the social production of the sign as a foundational issue in critical discourse analysis. Discourse Soc. 1993;4(2):169–91.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Kull K, et al. When culture supports biodiversity: the case of the wooded meadow. In: Roepstorff A et al., editors. Imagining nature: practices of cosmology and identity. Aarhus: Aarhus University Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  27. Lovelock J. Gaia: a new look at life on earth. 2nd ed. Oxford: Oxford University Press; 2000.Google Scholar
  28. Mongré P. Sant’ Ilario. Gedanken aus der Lanschaft Zarathustras. Leipzig: C. G. Naumann; 1897.Google Scholar
  29. Petrilli S. Crossing out boundaries with global communication: the problem of the subject. Subj Matter. 2005;2(2):33–48.Google Scholar
  30. Petrilli S, Ponzio A. Signs of research on signs. Special issue of Semiotische Berichte. 1998; 22(3/4).Google Scholar
  31. Petrilli S, Ponzio A. Semiotics unbounded: interpretive routes through the open network of signs. Toronto: University of Toronto Press; 2005.Google Scholar
  32. Ponzio A. Signs, dialogue and ideology. Trans. Susan Petrilli. Amsterdam: John Benjamins; 1993.Google Scholar
  33. Ponzio A. The I questioned: Emmanuel Levinas and the critique of occidental reason. Subj Matter. 2006a;3(1):1–45Google Scholar
  34. Ponzio A. The dialogic nature of sign. Trans. Susan Petrilli, New York: Legas; 2006b.Google Scholar
  35. Schrag CO. Communicative praxis and the space of subjectivity. West Lafayette: Purdue University Press; 2003.Google Scholar
  36. Sebeok TA. Looking in the destination for what should have been sought in the source. In: The sign and its masters. Austin: University of Texas Press; 1979c.Google Scholar
  37. Sebeok TA. Nonverbal communication. In: Cobley P, editor. The Routledge companion to semiotics and linguistics. London: Routledge; 2001a.Google Scholar
  38. Sebeok TA, Rosenthal R, editors. The Clever Hans phenomenon: communication with horses, whales, apes, and people. New York: New York Academy of Sciences; 1981.Google Scholar
  39. Stashower D. The teller of tales: the life of Arthur Conan Doyle. Harmondworth: Penguin; 2000.Google Scholar
  40. Stenmark M. Environmental ethics and policy-making. Aldershot: Ashgate; 2002.Google Scholar
  41. Taylor P. Respect for nature: a theory of environmental ethics. Princeton: Princeton University Press; 1986.Google Scholar
  42. Tønnessen M. Umwelt ethics. Sign Syst Stud. 2003;31(1):281–99.Google Scholar
  43. Trotsky L. Art and revolution: writings on literature, politics, and culture. New York/ London: Pathfinder; 1992.Google Scholar
  44. Welby V. Mother-Sense (1904–1910): a selection. In: Petrilli S, editor. Signifying and understanding: reading the works of Victoria Welby and the Signific movement. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton; 2009a. p. 670–714.Google Scholar
  45. Welby V. Primal-Sense (1904–1910): a selection. In: Petrilli S, editor. Signifying and understanding: reading the works of Victoria Welby and the Signific movement. Berlin: de Gruyter Mouton; 2009b. p. 715–22.Google Scholar

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

Personalised recommendations