The present book analyses critically the tripartite mimicry model (consisting of the mimic, model and receiver species) and develops semiotic tools for comparative analysis. It is proposed that mimicry has a double structure where sign relations in communication are in constant interplay with ecological relations between species. Multi-constructivism and toolbox-like conceptual methods are advocated for, as these allow taking into account both the participants' Umwelten as well as cultural meanings related to specific mimicry cases. From biosemiotic viewpoint, mimicry is a sign relation, where deceptively similar messages are perceived, interpreted and acted upon. Focusing on living subjects and their communication opens up new ways to understand mimicry. Such view helps to explain the diversity of mimicry as well as mimicry studies and treat these in a single framework. On a meta-level, a semiotic view allows critical reflection on the use of mimicry concept in modern biology. The author further discusses interpretations of mimicry in contemporary semiotics, analyses mimicry as communicative interaction, relates mimicry to iconic signs and focuses on abstract resemblances in mimicry. Theoretical discussions are illustrated with detailed excursions into practical mimicry cases in nature (brood parasitism, eyespots, myrmecomorphy, etc.). The book concludes with a conviction that mimicry should be treated in a broader semiotic-ecological context as it presumes the existence of ecological codes and other sign conventions in the ecosystem.
1 BIOSEMIOTICS OF MIMICRY: INTRODUCTORY NOTES 1.1 On a biosemiotic approach 1.2 Defining biological mimicry 2 FIRST EXCURSION: THE HISTORY OF THE MIMICRY CONCEPT 3 THE STRUCTURE OF MIMICRY 3.1 Mimicry types 3.2 Mimicry in relation to other adaptations 3.3 Typologies of mimicry 3.4 Mimicry systems-Wolfgang Wickler's account 3.5 Critical discussion of the triadic mimicry model 4 SEMIOTICS OF MIMICRY 4.1 Semiotic interpretations of mimicry 4.2 Mimicry as a communicative interaction 4.3 Mimicry as a sign system 4.4 The Umwelten of the receiver and the human observer 5 ICONICITY AND MIMICRY 5.1 If mimic is a sign then what does it stands for? 5.2 Peirce's second trichotomy and animal communication 5.3 Peircean categories and the three basic mimicry types 6 SECOND EXCURSION: IMPORTANCE OF THE OBJECT 7 DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVES IN MIMICRY SYSTEM 7.1 Mimic's activity and intentionality 7.2 Resembling the environment and becoming a sign 7.3 The receiver's perspective and ambivalent signs 8 MODELLING MIMICRY 8.1 Toolbox for modelling mimicry 8.2 Applying semiotic modelling to brood parasitism 8.3 Towards comparative modelling 9 MIMICRY AND SEMIOTIC EVOLUTION 9.1 Semiotic selection: Definition and examples 9.2 Mimicry and semiotic scaffolding 9.3 Evolution of mimicry in the bio-semiosphere 10 THIRD EXCURSION: AN EPISTEMOLOGY OF THE UNCERTAIN 11 FROM ABSTRACT MIMICRY TO ECOLOGICAL CODES 11.1 Abstract mimicry: When the meaning comes first 11.2 Connecting Umwelten, sharing codes 11.3 Ecological codes and archetypal structures 12 CONCLUSIONS
Timo Maran is Editor in Chief of Biosemiotics journal.
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