Agency, Meaning, Perception and Mimicry: Perspectives from the Process of Life and Third Way of Evolution | R. I. Vane-Wright

The concept of biological mimicry is viewed as a ‘process of life’ theory rather than a ‘process of change’ theory—regardless of the historical interest and heuristic value of the subject for the study of evolution. Mimicry is a dynamic ecological system reflecting the possibilities for mutualism and parasitism created by a pre-established bipartite signal-based relationship between two organisms – a potential model and its signal receiver (potential operator). In a mimicry system agency and perception play essential, interconnected roles. Mimicry thus describes emergent biologically meaningful relationships based on synergy, and is not an object-based theory. Biosemiotics offers a particularly valuable discipline for analysing the dynamics and nuances of mimicry systems, and can thus pave the way for a better and more complete understanding of how mimicry has evolved in the past, and how it might evolve in the future—presented here with special reference to the need for an integrated, ‘third way of evolution’ approach to biological relativity. A revised definition of mimicry is proposed.

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