The Routledge Companion to Semiotics

By Paul Cobley | Go to book overview

4
LOGIC AND COGNITION

PEER BUNDGAARD AND FREDERIK STJERNFELT

The present essay aims to explicate a key area of contemporary semiotics by laying bare the importance assigned to schematic representations in recent theories of meaning: so-called morphodynamic semiotics and cognitive linguistics. It suggests and gives evidence for the existence of a prelinguistic level of meaning organization on which categorization and conceptualization is founded, and it shows how this level supports different sorts of inferences. Where, previously, much sign theory had relied on a conception of meaning as generated by a system independently of cognitive factors such as perception, action, etc., and of logical factors such as reasoning, truth, etc., the ideas underpinning the theory of schemata suggest a new basis for meaning. This basis can be developed in interaction with the reactualization of Peirce’s semiotics and the crucial role it assigns to diagrams in cognition and theoretical reasoning.


PREAMBLE

The combination of logic and cognition in semiotics goes without saying, since in one tradition semiotics is the study of how we humans, when thinking and reasoning, make use of, communicate, perceive and interpret signs and make inferences on the basis of these interpretations. In this, Peircean, view semiotics is the inquiry which lays bare how logical reasoning takes place in sign use, both in single inferences and in the scientific quest for knowledge in general.

However, in another, ‘continental’, tradition cognition and logic pertain to two realms which, from a scientific perspective, are heterogeneous: cognition belonging to psychology and its investigations into the empirical mental and psychophysical processes supporting human meaning making, as opposed to logic, now rephrased ‘semiotics’ proper, as the science which aims at establishing the formal tenets and internal scaffolding of meaning, freed from all psychology, context, concrete meaning intentions, actual manners of reasoning, etc. Roughly speaking, this latter position characterizes European semiotics from its roots in Husserlian phenomenology and structural linguistics – take, for instance, Algirdas Julien Greimas and the so-called Paris School of Semiotics (Greimas 1987). Here, the meaning system is self-contained, with its own intrinsic principles of organization, meaning generating rules, correlations between the deep structures of meaning and the significant surface

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The Routledge Companion to Semiotics
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • The Routledge Companion to Semiotics i
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents vii
  • Contributors ix
  • Acknowledgements xvii
  • Using This Book xix
  • Part I- Understanding Semiotics 1
  • Introduction 3
  • 1 - Ancient Semiotics 13
  • 2 - Semiotics of Nature 29
  • 3 - Umwelt and Modelling 43
  • 4 - Logic and Cognition 57
  • 5 - Realism and Epistemology 74
  • 6 - Peirce, Phenomenology and Semiotics 89
  • 7 - The Saussurean Heritage 101
  • 8 - Sociosemiotics 118
  • 9 - Semiotics of Media and Culture 135
  • 10 - Semioethics 150
  • Part II - Key Themes and Major Figures in Semiotics 163
  • References 359
  • Index 389
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