In a recent roundup of spring titles from University Presses, Inside Higher Ed profiled The Machines of Evolution and the Scope of Meaning by Gary Tomlinson, along with a suite of recent works on science and the natural world. Click here to learn more about the book. Click here to see the full roundup of titles.
“Gary Tomlinson’s The Machines of Evolution and the Scope of Meaning (Zone Books, February) incorporates ‘emergent thinking about evolution, new research on animal behaviors, and theories of information and signs’ in search of ‘the origin and place of meaning in the earthly biosphere.’ Meaning making is not a human monopoly. Nor is it available to all creatures great and small. The author ‘discerns limits to its scope and identifies innumerable life forms, including many animals and all other organisms, that make no meanings at all.’ But for the animals capable of generating and understanding signs, ‘they shape meaning-laden lifeways, offering possibilities for distinctive organism/niche interactions and sometimes leading to technology and culture.’”