Memory, Sign Systems, and Self-Reproductive Processes

Biological Theory 5 (2):161-166 (2010)
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This article presents a project of general theory of memory that embraces different types of memory: physical, biological, and social. The theory of memory presented here revises and unifies the general theory of sign systems and the theory of information, because memory processes in biological and social systems are informational processes that continuously (re)construct and are constructed by sign systems. This article shows that memory cannot be reduced only to inherited information and material structures that “keep,” “represent,” or “carry” that information (DNA, historic manuscripts, and monuments); mostly, memory is a system-defining and system-defined principle that actively reconstructs information and processes of the system on the basis of inherited information, and is thus constantly reconstructed by it. For the most part, biological and social processes do not look like memory processes, but I will argue that dynamic, evolving, and self-reproductive systems have to be memory systems, and that life, society, and cognition are embodied producers and products of memory.



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Anton Sukhoverkhov
Kuban State Agrarian University