Approaching a semiotics of exaptation: At the intersection between biological evolution and technological development

Davide Weible


This paper recognizes a specific correspondence between biological evolution and technological development and on this basis tries to set up a semiotic approach to the evolutionary phenomenon of exaptation. To do this, the existence of a historical-structural and pragmatic analogy between organs and tools is shown, which in turn implies on a communicative ground the dissolution of some of their traditional distinctive attributes. Finally, a philosophical-analytical approach to natural and cultural functions is applied to define three types of exaptations.


action; combination; exaptation; function; organs; selection; semiotics; technology; tools

Full Text:



SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia