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Diagrams and mental figuration: A semio-cognitive analysis

Journal article
Authors P. A. Brandt
Ulf Cronquist
Published in Semiotica
Issue 229
Pages 253-272
ISSN 0037-1998
Publication year 2019
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 253-272
Language en
Links dx.doi.org/10.1515/sem-2018-0001
Keywords sign models, diagrams, cognitive schemas, dynamic topologies, mental spaces, language, Arts & Humanities - Other Topics, Social Sciences - Other Topics
Subject categories Languages and Literature

Abstract

We all intuitively know what a diagram is, and still it is surprisingly difficult to describe it as a semiotic function or type. In this article, we present four groups of hypotheses in view of a clarification. We hypothesize: (1) That diagrams are signs of a distinct type, unknown to classical semiotics; (2) That the elementary graphs of a diagram are all derived from lines and points in topological mental spaces. The mind applies these diagrammatic spaces to referential spaces in many ways, but basically through conceptual integration (blending). The mind blends topology and reference, which makes the topology unnoticeable; (3) That elementary diagrammatic graphs constitute a natural, phenomenological, spatiotemporal, figurative and dynamic but informal geometry in the embodied, thinking mind; (4) That diagrammatic signs are the active components of the abstract mental figuration in working memory that accompany perception and deliver the schematizing ideas which invest and connect our categories and construe proper descriptive, narrative, patterns of inferential thought and programs of sensorimotor and social action.

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