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Vis a Prospecto
Vis a Prospecto

Author(s): John Deely
Subject(s): Language and Literature Studies

Summary/Abstract: Jesper Hoffmeyer’s work challenges the exclusive reliance of modern biology on the idea of vis a tergo (mechanistic causalities of the past determining the future through the present), by demonstrating how the action of signs (‘semiosis’) introduces into behavior of organisms rather a vis a prospecto by which the future changes the relevance of past determinations to the present in opening the way to outcomes that cannot be simply predicted on the basis of mechanistic causality (‘brute interactions of Secondness’, as Peirce might put it). Emmeche, Kull, and Stjernfelt ‘said it all’ in the title of their 2002 monograph: to read Hoffmeyer is to rethink biology.

  • Issue Year: 2012
  • Issue No: 10
  • Page Range: 315-318
  • Page Count: 4
  • Language: English