This essay considers the inferential operation of abduction from the theoretical framework of biosemiotics and emphasizes the evolutionary dimension of Peircean semiotics. Main axioms and hypotheses constitutive of the contemporary biosemiotics consensus are discussed. Peirce’s classification of sciences is examined in order to better position abduction with regard to Peircean semiotics’ general epistemology. Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of Umwelt is used as a basis for a desubjectivized theory of signs and semiosis in which cognition, of which abduction is a mode, is regarded as a general principle occurring throughout nature. Taking into account recent works by Fredrick Stjernfelt on the logical syntax of natural propositions, or Dicisigns, Peirce’s evolutionary model is put to the trial of contemporary research in epigenetics. The thesis unifying all the elements of this framework together, and motivating the essay as a whole, is that abduction is a common regulatory operation occurring at different levels in nature.


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pp. 119-137
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