It has been nearly 150 years since Darwin published On the Origin of Species, and his theory of natural selection still ignites a forest of heated debate between scientific fundamentalists on the one hand and religious fundamentalists on the other. But both sides actually agree more than they disagree, and what has long been needed is a third way to view evolution, one that focuses more on the aspect of life and being alive.
This book, a work in the burgeoning field of Biosemiotics, provides that third way, by viewing living beings as genuine agents designing their communication pathways with, and in, the world. The first part of the book is philosophical and explores the roots of rationality and the hermeneutics of the natural world with the overriding goal of discovering how narrative can help us to explain life. It analyzes why novelty is so hard to comprehend in the framework of Western thinking and confronts head-on the chasm between evolutionism and traditional rationalistic worldviews.
The second part is scientific. It focuses on the life of living beings, treating them as co-creators of their world in the process of evolution. It draws on insights gleaned from the global activity of the Gaian biosphere, considers likeness as demonstrated on homology studies, and probes the problem of evo-devo science from the angle of life itself.
Preface.- Introduction; M. Barbieri.- Part I. Hermeneutic nature of the world. In the quest of the magic strings. 1. Roots of rationality and hermeneutics.- 2. Co-creators of the world.- 3. Novelty wherefrom?- 4. Aut Moses aut Darwin. Creation versus evolution.- II. The Region life. 5. The living planet.- 6. What is the source of likeness?- 7. Creation and its vestiges.- Epilogue: Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs or On Nature.-