Biosemiotic Fundamentals of Aesthetics: Why Other Species Do It Better Than Humans
We’ll focus on the basic processes that are leading towards beauty. The main argument states that the process that is creating the aesthetic in perception, and the process that makes the organic form itself beautiful, are fundamentally one and the same. These are the multiple choices an organism makes that lead via semiotic fitting towards polysemy and perfection, both in the semiotic development of organic form and in perceptual categorization. Thus there exists a general trend towards perfect semiotic fitting and beauty in the living beings and ecosystems – until these are not destroyed. As different from the grounded relations acquired and established by living beings, human capacity to introduce ungrounded conventional relations can deviate humans away from the general aesthetic disposition and provides humans a unique capacity to intentionally create ugliness. Beauty is rather species-specific. Each species has its own aesthetic preferences. Humans should learn the aesthetics of other beings in order to avoid destroying valuable biocoenoses.
Kalevi Kull is Professor of Biosemiotics at the Department of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Estonia. He is also President of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies. He has worked as a field ecologist. His research interests include the mechanisms of biodiversity, theoretical biology, history and theory of biosemiotics and ecosemiotics. His mission is the ecological culture. He has published some essays about art projects. His academic work includes: Jakob von Uexküll: A Paradigm for Biology and Semiotics (2001), Towards a Semiotic Biology: Life is the action of Signs (2011) On Theoretical Biology: Life Science between Mathematics and Semiotics (2019).