Keywords: Semiosphere; Integrated Information Systems; Mirror Neurons; Consciousness; Hierarchy of Languages.
The aim of this paper is to validate, with the help of some current neuroscientific theories, a key concept developed by the semiotician Jurij Lotman: that of functional isomorphism of individual and collective consciousness (Lotman 1979). The same concept is closely related to other essential notions in order to understand the most accomplished theory of the Tartu’s School: the semiosphere (Lotman 2005). We’re referring to the need for at least two languages to constitute a meaning-generative unit, to the related functional task of a semiotic boundary in both isolating and connecting two or more semiotic systems, to the rhetorical trope as “intelligent mechanismµ (Lotman 1990). The integrated information theory conceived by the neuroscientist G. Tononi (2013) claims that a conscious system may can be generated only with a conflicting tension between the specialization of the inner subsystems and its integration as a whole. The mirror-neurons theory of the School of Parma and the related embodied simulation hypothesis reveal that human consciousness requires intersubjective relations to generate itself (Gallese 2005). We will try to show the main convergences between the aforesaid neuroscientific hypothesis and the Lotman’s semiotic philosophy, in an effort to enhance a more intensive dialogue between disciplines.