Semiotica 2018 (225):405-421 (2018)

In Cosmos, Onfray argues in favor of a conceptualization of communication based on recent scientific discoveries. Similar to many researchers in the field of biosemiotics, the controversial philosopher posits that all life forms engage in constant semiosis. As opposed to being a singular characteristic that only homo sapiens possess, Onfray contends that all organisms are endowed with semiosic faculties that enable them to exchange information in purposeful and meaningful ways. Appealing to scientific logic, the philosopher debunks the common misconception that non-human vocalizations are merely the product of an internal machinery. Onfray offers concrete examples from both the animal and plant kingdom illustrating the astounding complexity of non-human semiosis. Nonetheless, in his reflections about the advent of hyperreality, the philosopher nuances his philosophical position by underscoring what makes the human primary modelling device of “language” the most sophisticated form of semiosis that exists in the biosphere. Although all material beings communicate with each other effectively in order to survive, to relate to each other, and to reproduce, Onfray recognizes that humans appear to have a heightened predisposition for symbolic exchange. The philosopher affirms that the human Umwelt is the richest and most complex semiotic space of all. Due to the pervasive nature of human semiosis in the modern world that threatens the ability of other life forms to create, stockpile, emit, and interpret signs, the philosopher also insists that preserving the fragile semiosic diversity of the “soundscape” is the key to averting the impending, anthropogenic eco-apocalypse.
Keywords Anthropocene  Michel Onfray  biosemiotics  non-human semiosis
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DOI 10.1515/sem-2017-0043
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Cognitive Skills in Bottlenose Dolphin Communication.Vincent M. Janik - 2013 - Trends in Cognitive Sciences 17 (4):157-159.
Baudrillard, Semiurgy and Death.Douglas Kellner - 1987 - Theory, Culture and Society 4 (1):125-146.

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