This article focuses on the cultural implications of biosemiotics, considering the extent to which biosemiotics constitutes an “epistemological break” with modern modes of conceptualizing the world. To some extent, the article offers a series of footnotes to points made in the work of Jesper Hoffmeyer. However, it is argued that the move towards ‘agency’ represented in biosemiotics needs to be approached with caution in light of problems of translation between the humanities and the sciences. Notwithstanding these problems, biosemiotics is found to represent the potential for one of the most thoroughgoing shifts that cultural analysis has yet seen.
Keywords Cultural analysis - Humanities - Hoffmeyer - Subject - Agency - Individualism - Collectivity - Verbal - Nonverbal - Living nature - Semiotic freedom - Code duality - Umwelt