[Fis] _ Re: Fis Digest, Vol 27, Issue 15

Don Favareau favareau at gmail.com
Fri Jun 10 07:37:41 CEST 2016

Thank you, Plamen, not only for placing my announcement for about the
"intentionality" questionnaire, but for all that you have done in bringing
together and putting into discussion so many different thinkers from so
many disciplinary backgrounds. That, too, is precisely what the survey of
how best to conceptualize the phenomenon/a of "intentionality" for a 21st
century science likewise seeks to do!

So here, by way of explanation, I have cut-and-pasted a slightly more
readable version of the text I sent you, as well as an attachment
explaining some of the rationale behind the project. I should stress, to,
that while the project itself was born within the community of
biosemioticians, it can only probably really succeed with input from the
fields of philosophy, information science, molecular and cellular biology,
ethology, complex systems theory, communication studies, and many many
more. All these research agenda - and certainly everything that has been
discussed here and in the pages of the Special Issue will have to tackle
the phenomenon of systems so arranged, at least in part, to be "about"
something outside or other than themselves. So I sincerely hope that as
many members of this mailing list will share their own important and unique
perspectives on: (a) how this could be so, and (b) how to go about
productively conceptualizing and researching it.

Thanks you all once again for your stimulating discussions! I'm sure that I
speak for many others, as well as myself, in saying even those of us who
did not write much to it, benefited considerably from reading it!

With all best wishes always!



Hi Plamen!

Thanks for giving me the opportunity to draw upon the collective insight
and expertise of this group!

By way of explanation: One concern that joins the FIS with the Biosemiotics
group is the need to come up with a biological but not anthropomorphic
understanding of the notion of *intentionality* – or, as Terrence Deacon
suggests replacing this perhaps already overly-mentalistic term with,
*which he defines as:

“a generic adjective to describe all phenomena that are intrinsically
incomplete in the sense of being in relationship to, constituted by,
or *organized
to achieve* something non-intrinsic…[such] *ententional *phenomena include:
*functions* that have satisfaction conditions, *adaptations* that have
environmental correlates, *thoughts* that have contents, *purposes* that
have goals, *subjective experiences* that have a self/other perspective,
and v*alues* that have a ‘self’ that is benefited or harmed (Deacon
2012:27; italics added).

Such an understanding, again, is one that is needed both in Biology and in
Information Science, and so it seems to me that the current questionnaire
that is now circulating around in Biosemiotics circles concerning how to
best go about conceiving and researching this phenomenon for those purposes
would be very much of interest to those on the FIS list-serve also.

So with your kind permission, I would like to ask you to make the following
two online survey links available to this group for their input and

PART 1 of this survey consists of 5 simple short answer QUESTIONS regarding
the notion of *intentionality*, as you think it might be conceptualized for
the purposes of 21st century science, and may be accessed by clicking here:

PART 2 of the survey asks its respondants to consider how the term
“intentionality” has been conceptualized in a small number of previously
published QUOTES and to click on the response that best reflects their
opinion of their suitability for use 21st century science. This part of the
survey can be accessed by clicking here:

Respondents van pick and choose those questions that they wish to respond
to (the system will not require that they respond to them all), and can
also choose to remain anonymous, if they wish, when the results of this
questionnaire are published later in the year in the journal *Biosemiotics.*

I do hope that the members of the listserve that were involved in the
Special Issue on Integral Biomathematics of the *PBMB* will take the
opportunity to join us in this project, as we work to expand our
understanding of this neglected organizing principle in both Biology and
Information Science.

All best wishes and thanks again!

Don Favareau

National University of Singapore
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