Berkeley-Tartu biosemiotic summer seminar: Monday, July 15, from 12.15 to 18, Jakobi 2–336. Terrence Deacon (University of California, Berkeley): "The bridge from information theory to semiosis". | University of Tartu

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Contacts of UT units

Faculty of Arts and Humanities
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5341
Faculty address: 
Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5341
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 116–121, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of History and Archaeology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5651
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Estonian and General Linguistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5221
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Philosophy and Semiotics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5314
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 2, rooms 309–352, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Cultural Research
    Faculty phone: 
    (+372) 737 5223
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 16, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Theology and Religious Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5301
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18–310, 50090 Tartu
  • College of Foreign Languages and Cultures
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, 51003 Tartu
  • Viljandi Culture Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 435 5232
    Faculty address: 
    Posti 1, 71004 Viljandi
Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5957
Faculty address: 
Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    + 372 737 5900
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Education
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6440
    Faculty address: 
    Salme 1a–29, 50103 Tartu
  • Johan Skytte Institute of Political Studies
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5582
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 36–301, 51003 Tartu
  • School of Economics and Business Administration
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6310
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 4, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Psychology
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    Näituse 2, 50409 Tartu
  • School of Law
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    Näituse 20–324, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Social Studies
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    Lossi 36, 51003 Tartu
  • Narva College
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  • Pärnu College
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    Ringi 35, 80012 Pärnu
Faculty of Medicine
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+372 737 5326
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Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5326
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Biomedicine and Translational Medicine
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    Biomeedikum, Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Pharmacy
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  • Institute of Dentistry
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  • Institute of Clinical Medicine
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    L. Puusepa 8, 50406 Tartu
  • Institute of Family Medicine and Public Health
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    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 19, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Sport Sciences and Physiotherapy
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    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 5–205, 51005 Tartu
Faculty of Science and Technology
Faculty phone: 
+372 737 5820
Faculty address: 
Vanemuise 46–208, 51014 Tartu
  • Dean's Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5820
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46–208, 51005 Tartu
  • Institute of Computer Science
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5445
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Estonian Marine Institute
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 671 8902
    Faculty address: 
    Mäealuse 14, 12618 Tallinn
  • Institute of Physics
    Faculty address: 
    W. Ostwaldi 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Chemistry
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5261
    Faculty address: 
    Ravila 14a, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Mathematics and Statistics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5860
    Faculty address: 
    J. Liivi 2, 50409 Tartu
  • Institute of Molecular and Cell Biology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5011
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23, 23b–134, 51010 Tartu
  • Tartu Observatory
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    Faculty address: 
    Observatooriumi 1, Tõravere, 61602 Tartumaa
  • Institute of Technology
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4800
    Faculty address: 
    Nooruse 1, 50411 Tartu
  • Institute of Ecology and Earth Sciences
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Institutions
  • Library
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5702
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Youth Academy
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5581
    Faculty address: 
    Uppsala 10, 51003 Tartu
  • Institute of Genomics
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 4000
    Faculty address: 
    Riia 23b, 51010 Tartu
  • Museum
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5674
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 25, 51003 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Natural History Museum and Botanical Garden
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6076
    Faculty address: 
    Vanemuise 46, 51003 Tartu
Support Units
  • Administrative Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5606
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Centre for Entrepreneurship and Innovation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6339
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • University Office in Tallinn
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6600
    Faculty address: 
    Teatri väljak 3, 10143 Tallinn
  • Estates Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5137
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Finance Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5125
    Faculty address: 
    Jakobi 4, 51005 Tartu
  • Grant Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 6215
    Faculty address: 
    Lossi 3, III floor, 51003 Tartu
  • Information Technology Office
    Faculty phone: 
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Human Resources Office
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    +372 737 5145
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 302 and 304, 50090 Tartu
  • Internal Audit Office
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    Ülikooli 17–103, 51005 Tartu
  • Marketing and Communication Office
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5687
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, rooms 102, 104, 209, 210, 50090 Tartu
  • Office of Academic Affairs
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    +372 737 5620
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Procurement Office
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    +372 737 6632
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18a, 51005 Tartu
  • Rector's Strategy Office
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    +372 737 5600
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • Student Council
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    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18b, 51005 Tartu
Other Units
  • University of Tartu Academic Sports Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5371
    Faculty address: 
    Ujula 4, 51008 Tartu
  • Tartu Student Village
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 740 9959
    Faculty address: 
    Narva mnt 25, 51013 Tartu
  • Tartu Students’ Club
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 730 2400
    Faculty address: 
    Kalevi 24, 51010 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Press
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5945
    Faculty address: 
    W. Struve 1, 50091 Tartu
  • Tartu University Hospital
    Faculty address: 
    L. Puusepa 1a, 50406 Tartu
  • University of Tartu Foundation
    Faculty phone: 
    +372 737 5852
    Faculty address: 
    Ülikooli 18, 50090 Tartu
  • View all other units

Berkeley-Tartu biosemiotic summer seminar: Monday, July 15, from 12.15 to 18, Jakobi 2–336. Terrence Deacon (University of California, Berkeley): "The bridge from information theory to semiosis".

 

The final event of the Berkeley-Tartu biosemiotic summer seminar in Tartu will take place on Monday, July 15, from 12.15 to 18, Jakobi 2–336. Terrence Deacon (University of California, Berkeley) will give a talk at 12.15, on the topic "The bridge from information theory to semiosis".

Part I: June 26, with Jeremy Sherman,

Part II: July 11, with Yogi Hendlin,

Part III: July 15, with Terrence Deacon.

Terrence Deacon: "The bridge from information theory to semiosis"

Over the past century the term ‘information’ has become a mass noun referring to the quantifiable statistical properties of what we collect, transmit, store, and manipulate via our various analytical and communicative media. In non-technical contexts, however, the term ‘information’ retains three related denotations used in different contexts: referring to the medium (signal, channel, sign vehicle), its reference (meaning, representational content, aboutness), or its normativity (use-value, significance). Because referential and normative properties are non-intrinsic and interpretation-dependent they are typically excluded from scientific analyses or else operationally reduced to quantifiable relationships between extensive properties (as in the case of mutual information). Semiotic theories explicitly address the problem of interpretation and offer tools for qualitatively analyzing these non-intrinsic properties. Specifically, semiotic theory attempts to analyze different forms of referential and interpretive relationships and to determine how these forms depend upon and develop from one another. To date there is no accepted bridge linking these theoretical perspectives. Until this is developed both will remain fundamentally incomplete tools that provide a misleading fractionated picture of living, mental, and social processes.

Terrence Deacon is a professor in anthropology and neuroscience at the University of California, Berkeley. His books include "The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of Language and the Brain" (1997) and "Incomplete nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter" (2010). (See also https://anthropology.berkeley.edu/terrence-w-deacon.)

After a lunch break, the meeting will continue at 4 p.m. with a seminar.

We also expect to discuss some new ideas from the recent Gathering in Biosemiotics that took place in Moscow.

Yogi Hendlin: Multi-level semiosis – and the impact of supernormal stimuli in the human superorganism and holobiont

Abstract. This talk draws on classic ethology and insights for humans as superorganisms living in artificial environments. It first describes the case for seeing the human body, and not just cultures, as itself a superorganism, but through the unconventional form of defining superorganism not as cells or individuals only of one species, but as inherently an interspecies phenomenon. Second, I describe how the holobiont view of the human organism helps make sense of this definition of the superorganism as interspecies. Finally, I’ll look at both classical and cognitive ethology to examine how even individuated human cells or other endosemiotic symbionts can also become affected by unfamiliar stimuli stronger than those their evolutionarily-geared heuristics are geared for. This overflow or flood of response to certain stimuli I see as a relevant form of supernormal stimuli, as Niko Tinbergen described this condition, even as I extend it to endosymbionts, beyond Tinbergen’s use of the concept specifically on the individual animal.

After a break, the meeting will continue at 6 p.m. at Vikerkaare 7–8.

We also expect to discuss some new ideas from the recent Gathering in Biosemiotics that took place in Moscow.

Jeremy Sherman: The Semiotic Origins of Mattering / Olu semiootilised lätted

Jeremy Sherman received his doctorate with biosemiotician Terrence Deacon and has studied and collaborated closely with Deacon for 22 years, these days in 1.5 hour, one-on-one conversations three times a week. Sherman is the author of Neither Ghost Nor Machine: The emergence and nature of selves (Columbia University Press, 2017), an attempt to make the full range of Deacon's ideas more accessible and intuitive to a wider audience. Biosemiotics research is a second career for Sherman. His first career was in social science, social marketing and political advocacy. He founded a national lobbying organization addressing nuclear weapons and the climate crisis. He brings to his biosemiotics work dedicated attention to its implications in the social sciences and continued interest in social marketing – how to convey the biosemiotic approach to as wide an audience as possible. He describes his work as "cradle to grave," from life's cradle at the origin of life to our current grave situation. Like Deacon, he works to detail the emergence of semiotics from chemistry and the evolution of language (as in Deacon's book, the Symbolic Species) – the radical differences to life's adaptive processes that result from humans adapting under the influence of symbolic competence. He believes that the life and social sciences are currently operating at a disadvantage in not having a scientific explanation for the emergence of the fundamental attributes assumed within these fields. Function (use, value, for-ness) fittedness (reference, representation, about-ness) and effort (the struggle for existence, striving, trying, by-ness) – all three unique to organisms are inescapable in the life/social sciences and impermissible in the physical sciences. Until we have a physical science explanation for how these traits emerge, the life/social sciences are too much like alchemy – researchers seeking value without understanding the core phenomena they're manipulating. For example, social scientists attempting to detail how motivations play out, with only a black-box, impressionistic understanding of what motivations are. With Deacon's explanatory hypothesis for how these attributes emerge with agency, selfhood, organisms, Sherman revisits and reinterprets living dynamics, in particular within the social sciences. To this end, Sherman has written over 1,000 blog articles that receive over 25k page-views a week. The articles are written all under the influence of Deacon's explanation for the emergence of biosemiotics.

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