GARCIA adolfo Martin
congresos y reuniones científicas
On the Relationships between the Biological and the Semiotic Realm
Toledo (Ohio)
Conferencia; XVIII Annual Conference of the Linguistic Association of Canada and the United States; 2011
Institución organizadora:
Lingiustic Association of Canda and the United States
Different and influential semiotic traditions assume (either implicitly or explicitly) that the cognitive system of an individual is composed of several kinds of signs (Peirce 1934, Barthes 1964, Culler 1975, Eco 1976, Lotman 1990, Deely 2003). In other words, signs produced and interpreted by a single person actually exist within the cognitive system of such a person. This assumption seems to be incompatible with basic neurological evidence (and neurological evidence is relevant here because our ‘cognitive system’ must have its physical basis in our brain) (Lamb 2005): (i) It requires a device in the brain that can read information in sign form, but our brains do not have such a device. (ii) It requires some sign storage, but the brain does not store signs of any kind (as a computer, which stores symbols). (iii) The process of interpreting signs requires additional devices, not only a storage for the signs, but also a buffer in which to store the input item while the process of recognition is going on, and a device to perform comparisons; but our brains do not have such additional devices. On the other hand, following the probably misunderstood tradition of Hjelmslev, neurocognitive linguists adopt a relational-connectivist approach according to which the knowledge system of an individual does not have symbolic representations or signs of any kind, but the means for producing and understanding signs (Lamb 1999, 2004, 2005, 2006). In contrast to the hypothesis that the brain stores signs, the relational-connectivist hypothesis is plausible in operational, developmental, and neurological terms (Lamb 1999: 293-294). We shall argue that everything which is “social”, “cultural”, “semiotic”, etc. has to be represented in relational terms in the highly complex semological system of an individual, i.e., that there is a physical basis for the semiotic realm. Within this context, Neurocognitive Linguistics allows us to begin to see how we can find some definite relationships between the semiotic realm and the natural realm. References Barthes, Roland. 1964. Elements of Semiology. London: Jonathan Cape, 1967. Culler, Jonathan. 1975. Structuralist Poetics: Structuralism, Linguistics and the Study of Literature. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul. Deely, John. 2003. The Impact on Philosophy of Semiotics. S. Bend: St. Augustine.. Eco, Umberto. 1976. A Theory of Semiotics. London: Macmillan. Lamb, Sydney M . 2004. Language and Reality. London: Continuum Books. Lamb, Sydney M. 1999. Pathways of the Brain: The Neurocognitive Basis of Language. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. Lamb, Sydney M. 2005. “Language and Brain: When experiments are unfeasible, you have to think harder”. Linguistics and the Human Sciences 1: 151-178. Lamb, Sydney M. 2006. “Being Realistic, Being Scientific”. In Shin Ja Hwang, William J. Sullivan & Arle R. Lommel (eds.) LACUS Forum 32: Networks. pp. 201-209. Lotman, Yuri. 1990. Universe of the Mind: A Semiotic Theory of Culture. London: Tauris. Peirce, Charles S. 1934. Collected papers: Volume V. Pragmatism and pragmaticism. Cambridge, MA, USA: Harvard University Press.