Biosphere as semiosphere: Variations on Lotman

Anton Markoš


The analogy between semiosphere (world of cultures) and biosphere (world of life), coined by J. Lotman, is a courageous attempt to interconnect two seemingly incompatible worlds. In congruence with his view, I would like to convince the reader that the only possible general definition of life is “a system born, endowed with semiosis, with history”. Such a view requires considering biosphere and semiosphere as coextensive, which requires merging the cultural, scientific, historical, and linguistic approaches into a coherent whole.


biosphere; semiosphere; texts and interpretation; lineages as cultures; ontogenesis

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SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia