Although expression is a characteristic of all beings, it is generally considered as referring to states that are almost exclusively human., The ubiquity and relevance of extended and embodied cognition are then overlooked, and the psychological correlate of expression in human beings considered as technique.

The term expression is used here more widely than normal to refer to semiotic communication — the making, recognizing, interpreting, using, and responding to signs; whether these are made through, for instance, auditory, visual, mophological, or behavioural media.

External or internal, conscious or not, a being's expression develops in response to the meaningful internal representations generated from the expressions of their sensory systems. expression then is recursive, predicated on elementary, inherited rules, or behavioural modules. For instance, a being's physicality and markings are perceived by others as meaningful, whether through experience or association, and choices are influenced. Selection and inheritance then follow.

awareness arises from differentiated sets of mental activity — temporary foci around which orbits, for instance, our own cognition. Conscious expression is a linear organization of the elements of these foci, and fluency the semiotic competence with which they are identified and translated into a stream of signs.

language is the recognition of a set of signs, the meaning of which has been informed by the macrocosm of metalanguage within which it has developed — cultures are metalanguages within which human languages develop these then driving the development of cultures.

The expression we develop within the cultures of our ontogeny is foundational. In later life, as we engage within other cultures, together with our other elementary, cognitive and bio-mechanical capabilities it commensurately founds our expression in these too.


edit: 4 Feb 2024, written 10 Mar 2023.

expression refers here to any signal, sign or symbol, that a being generates, whether external or internal to itself, and whether or not it is consciously or deliberately generated. Its transmission may be through a biophysical channel e.g vocal, luminescence, neural, etc.; a virtual channel e.g text, artefact, smoke, etc.; or a bio-virtual channel e.g telephony, video, etc. It is the effective response of a being to its perception of an external and internal event, constructed from the meaningful internal representations it generates from the chemical, electrical, or electro-chemical expressions of its sensory mechanism.

artefact here is a back-formation (from Latin: arte "by skill" and facere/factum "make/made") to refer to creations made by any being e.g to the sculptured sand bowers of Pufferfish, or the ornately decorated play-house of the Bowerbird.

Pufferfish Bower.
A Pufferfish bower. ...more

Mind can be defined as a causally effective inner state.

quote leftThe endocrine apparatus (the hormone system) .. should not be seen as an isolated regulatory system .. but rather as an integral part of both the immune system and the nervous system. Together, .. these endosemiotic tools are collectively responsible for the interaction of the organism with its social and physical world and constitute the fundament out of which so-called psychological reality, if any, of the organism will emerge.

from "The Great Chain of Semiosis. Investigating the Steps in the Evolution of Semiotic Competence." Jesper Hoffmeyer & Frederik Stjernfelt, 2015, Biosemiotics 9(1) DOI:10.1007/s12304-015-9247-y

Language: any system of sounds, gestures, symbols, or other signs that facilitates communication.

Microcosm / macrocosm: a macrocosm is a complex structure that is considered to be a whole; a microcosm is an element with a similar structure that exists within a macrocosm.

reference example:— Collins English Dictionary.

Metalanguage: a language or set of symbols that describes or defines another language.

Beings, here includes those that are unicellular (e.g. bacteria, archaea, and some algae); and those that are both unicellular and multicellular (e.g. slime molds) as well as those that are multicellular and, therefore, societies —cellular metasystems (e.g. humans, ants, jellyfish).

Bioemiosis proceeds through recognition — through current sense-data that a being perceives being recognized by it as being the same as, or belonging to the same class as, something the being has sensed or perceived before. This then is a recursive process, its first iteration (or 'base case') generating meaning by matching current sense-data and perceptions to those that have previously been recognized, recorded, embodied, and inherited.

Embodiment here then refers to the biophysical expression of semiosis — and to the semiosis of biophysical expression. In this, embodied cognition is simply a dimension of biosemiosis.

NB. While the definitions used here may vary considerably to those used elsewhere, both in degree and specificity, nonetheless they may, even considerably, overlap with them.

A language is a system of arbitrary signals used to communicate information. To communicate, is to convey information through a system of arbitrary signals. Semantic means of or relating to meaning, and meaning refers to the sense or reference of an expression. To recognize, is to know something as the same as, or belonging to the same class as, something known before.

Definitions referred to, and given above are after those in the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language; apart from meaning and recognize, that are after those in the Collins English Dictionary.

quoteleftHydrozoa show great diversity of lifestyle; some species maintain the polyp form for their entire life and do not form medusae at all Polyps of some species propagate vegetatively, forming colonies.. polymorphism occurs in colonies of some species of hydrozoans and anthozoans, the polyps being specialized for functions such as feeding, defense, and sexual reproduction.

Ruppert, Edward E.; Fox, Richard, S.; Barnes, Robert D. (2004). Invertebrate Zoology, 7th edition. Cengage Learning. pp. 148-174; cited in Jellyfish, Taxonomy (list item: Staurozoa), Wikipedia..

Fautin, Daphne G. and Sandra L. Romano. 1997. Cnidaria. Sea anemones, corals, jellyfish, sea pens, hydra. Version 24 April 1997. in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Anthropocentrism is the anthropocentric belief that the human species is the central fact, and final aim of a universe that should, therefore, be understood in terms of human experience, needs, and values.

Crows and flocking horses, otters and gorillas, clamour at our doors of reason. Geese and horses, chimps too follow the leader. Fungi on beetles, ribeiroia on herons, staph in our guts, win minds and hearts for their gods. What makes us human, or more so than our dogs?


open quotation markThe whole of science is nothing more than a refinement of everyday thinking.    Albert Einstein.

Science is an elementary practice. Scientism is a belief. Eugenics and the Holocaust are among the brutal consequences and stark reminders of not recognizing this distinction..

from: Physics and Reality, published in the Journal of the Franklin Institute, Vol. 221, Issue 3, March 1936, pp. 349-382.

from: "The Great Chain of Semiosis, Investigating the Steps in the Evolution of Semiotic Competence." p.8, Jesper Hoffmeyer & Frederik Stjernfelt, September 2015, Biosemiotics 9(1) DOI:10.1007/s12304-015-9247-y (Emphasis added).


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