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Brain, Mind and the Signifying Body : An Ecosocial Semiotic Theory - Paul J. Thibault

Brain, Mind and the Signifying Body

An Ecosocial Semiotic Theory

Hardcover Published: 1st April 2004
ISBN: 9780826469656
Number Of Pages: 360

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Brain, Mind and the Signifying Body is an exploration of a multimodal theory of cognitive science. Using linguistic theories first developed by Saussure and more latterly by M. A. K. Halliday, Paul Thibault analyses how social and biological systems interact to produce meaning. This fascinating study will be of interest to undergraduates and academics researching cognitive linguistics and advanced semiotics. The book engages with the current dialogue between the human and life sciences to ask questions about the relationship between the physical, biological aspects of a human being, and the sociocultural framework in which a human being exists. Paul J. Thibault argues that we need to understand both the semiotic, discursive nature of meaning making, and the physical context in which this activity takes place. The two are inseparable, and hence the only way we can understand our subjective experience of our environment and our perceptions of our inner states of mind is by giving equal weight to both frameworks. This 'ecosocial semiotic' theory engages with linguistics, semiotics, activity theory, biology and psychology. In so doing, the book produces a new way of looking at how a human being makes sense of his or her environment, but also how this environment shapes such meanings.

"Paul Thibault develops a densely theoretical discussion of cognitive and ecosocial components of semiotics that could be viewed as a cognitive science perspective on work undertaken in modern times from Charles Sanders Peirce to Roland Barthes. Published in Continuum's wide-ranging Open Linguistics "Series, Brain, Mind, and the Signifying Body" is "linguistic" in the looser sense insofar as Thibault's interest is in self-organizing, complex semiotic systems but has language (in its broadest sense) as its basis. Yet, Thibault adds a biological/ ecological focus to this investigation because, as he contends, "language in all of its facets is intrinsic to our biological make-up"(281-282)...
Citing work by Wilson (1998) and others, Thibault argues that 'recent developments in the theory of complex dynamic open systems show the importance of developing a theory of social semiosis in which the socio-cultural and the biological domains of inquiry are brought into a new dialogue with each other...'
In his 'Preface' he notes that it is crucial for semiotics to develop a perspective that takes into account collectively crucial consideration of social interaction, environmental factors, and the body in order to emphasize facets of semiosis that have been seen as immaterial by virtue of their very materiality...
By disregarding the more conventional perspective of ostensibly logical impact, Thibault arguably creates a decidedly different view of semiotic systems here. Drawing upon Togeby (2000) and making good on Halliday's contention in his Foreword, Thibault observes that "we need to develop a new discourse for talking and thinking about the ways in which brain, body, and ecosocial semiotic environment are embedded in and are functioning participants in higher-scalar systems that link all three components in complex, hierarchically organized and non-linear interactions across the many levels of relations and space-time scales that are involved"(17)...
Given the f

List of Figuresp. ix
List of Tablesp. x
Forewordp. xi
Prefacep. xiii
Introduction
The Body-brain System, Meaning-making Activity, and Ecosocial Environment: Building a New, Unified Discoursep. 3
The Conceptual Framework of the Ecosocial Semiotic Perspectivep. 8
Gibson's Ecological Theory of Perception and the Three-level Scalar Hierarchy View of Organism-plus-Environment Transactionsp. 11
The Brain as Regulator of Sensori-motor Activity: Implications for Social Semiosisp. 18
Topological and Typological Modes of Semiotic-material Interdependencep. 23
Contextualization and Meta-redundancyp. 26
A Critique of the Causal View of Brain-mind Relationsp. 30
Defining and Extending the Notion of Meaning in Terms of the Three-level Hierarchy and the Specification Hierarchyp. 34
The Signifying Body: Rethinking the Stratified view of Semiosis in Terms of the Three-level Scalar Hierarchyp. 39
Systemic-functional Linguistic Theory: Bringing Together the Intra-organism and Inter-organism Perspectives on Meaning-makingp. 46
Reconnecting the Semiotic Concept of Value to the Body-brain System and to Meaning-making Activityp. 49
A Thumbnail Sketch of the Bookp. 54
Sensori-motor Activity, Movement, and Social Meaning-making: Rethinking the Expression Plane of Semiosis
Some Early Signposts from Saussure and Hjelmslev: The Expression Plane as Embodied Articulatory Movementp. 59
Energy Exchange and the Complementarity of Interacting Body-brainsp. 68
The Stratified Model of Semiosis: The Problem of Conceptual Abstractness and Scalar Homogeneityp. 69
Blackboxing the Sensori-motor Dimension: Language Seen as Modality-independent Centralized Processing Mechanismp. 72
The Intentional Character of 'Inner' and 'Outer' Sensori-motor Activity: Towards a Unified Accountp. 75
The Symbolic Possibilities of Bodily Movementp. 77
Articulatory Movement Seen as Actional Semiotic, Not Physical Behaviourp. 78
Inner and Outer Body States and Social Semiosisp. 81
The Semiotic Mediation and Entraining of Embodied Bio-kinematic Potentialp. 83
Metafunctional Diversity on the Expression Planep. 86
The Expression Plane is the Interface between Body and Ecosocial Environmentp. 87
The Metafunctional Basis of Vocal-tract Articulatory Activityp. 90
Subjectivity, Agency, and the Prosodic Realization of Interpersonal Meaningp. 94
Vocal-tract Gestures and Grammar: Symptom and/or Supervenience?p. 98
The Intentional Character of Articulatory Activityp. 100
Embodying the Metafunctions: The Example of Vocal-tract Articulatory Activityp. 103
The Metafunctional Basis of Space and of Bodily Movement in Ecosocial Space-timep. 105
Body Dynamics, Meaning-making, and Scale Heterogeneity: Expression and Content as Cross-scalar Semiotic Processes Embedding the Body-brain in its Ecosocial Environment
The Dynamical Character of Expression and Content and the Cross-coupling of Diverse Scalar Levels of Semiotic Organizationp. 108
The Expression Stratum and the Principle of Alternationp. 109
Stratification in Relation to Expression and Contentp. 116
The Integration of Iconic, Indexical and Symbolic Modes of Meaning in Phonologyp. 118
Rhythm and the Footp. 120
The Metafunctional Organization of Phonology as seen from the Perspective of Rhythm and the Footp. 122
The Integration of Iconic, Indexical and Symbolic Modes of Meaning in Lexicogrammarp. 126
Language as Particle, Wave, and Fieldp. 134
The Brain as Selective Recognition System: Language and Edelman's Theory of Recategorizationp. 139
The Integration of Individuals to their Semiotic Trajectoriesp. 146
The Intrinsically Time-bound Nature of Semiosis: The Integration of Temporal Dynamics Across Scales of Expression and Contentp. 148
Scalar Heterogeneity and the Phonological and Lexicogrammatical Rank Scalesp. 154
The Emergence of Linguistic Categories from the Child's Primary Forceful Interactions with its Environmentp. 162
The Semiotic Basis of Consciousness
First-person and Third-person Accounts of Consciousnessp. 171
The Representation of Subjective Experience in Consciousness in Relation to the Higher-scalar Environment of the Individualp. 173
Locating the Seat of Consciousnessp. 176
The Meaning-making Capacity of the Body-brain Complex through the Discrimination of Differencep. 184
Language Functions and the Cortical Organization of the Brain: Implications for Higher-order Consciousnessp. 189
Experiential Meaning and the Assimilation of the Phenomena of Experience to Knowable Categoriesp. 195
Interpersonal Meaning as Exploratory and Orienting Activity in Relation to the Groundp. 198
The Textual Metafunction as Semiotic Means for Giving Unity and Wholeness to Meaning-makingp. 200
Experiential and Interpersonal Meaning in Gazep. 201
Proto-interpersonal Meaning and the Child's Exploration of its Environmentp. 202
Bogdan's Theory of Mental Sharing and Topical Predicationp. 205
Interpersonal Meaning, Value, and Actionp. 209
Procedural Knowledge, Declarative Knowledge and the Semiotic Spiral towards Symbolic Consciousnessp. 212
Interpersonal Meaning, Goal-seeking Activity, and the Goal Hierarchyp. 215
Consciousness and Semiotic Stratificationp. 217
An Alternative Reading of Descartes in the Internalist Perspective of Interpretive Activityp. 224
The Entropic Character of Meaningp. 226
Consciousness as the Contextualization of Experience in the Perspective of the Selfp. 227
The Embedding of Consciousness in a Higher-scalar System of Interpretancep. 231
The Metafunctional Character of Consciousness: Some Correlations Between the Neurobiological and Semiotic Dimensions
The Contextual Character of Consciousnessp. 236
The Metafunctions and the Shape of Consciousnessp. 238
Vague Contours of the Metafunctions in the Infant's Early Perceptual-motor Engagements with the Environmentp. 241
The Structure of (Self) Consciousness in Perceptual Awarenessp. 246
Damasio's Neurobiological Theory of Consciousnessp. 248
The Proto-metafunctional Structure of Core and Extended Consciousnessp. 257
Integrating the Interaction System and the Meaning System Perspectives on (Self) Consciousnesp. 264
Minding the Gap between Minds: Mirror Neurons and Interpersonal Meaningp. 267
Inner Speech as Linguistically Realized Higher-order Thinkingp. 271
The Metafunctional Character of Inner Speech as Linguistically Constituted Thoughtp. 272
The Re-grounding of the Perspectives of Self and Other in Symbolic Consciousnessp. 276
Text, Social Meaning-making Practices and Higher-order Consciousnessp. 277
Brain, Meaning, and Consciousness
Biological and Socio-cultural Factors Form a Single System of Complexly Related and Interacting Factors: Putting Time and Activity Back into the Picturep. 281
Re-interpreting Flohr's Brain-based Theory of Phenomenal Awareness: A Three-level Hierarchy View of the Emergence of Proto-meaning in the Brainp. 283
Brain, Meaning, and Symbolic Consciousnessp. 289
The Embodiment of the Material and the Conscious Modes in Expression and Contentp. 290
Periodicity and the Intrinsic Temporal Organization of the Expression Stratum of Speech on Diverse Scalar Levelsp. 295
The Creation of Symbolic Objects of Consciousness in Semantic Neural Spacep. 296
Contextualizing Relations, the Principle of Meta-redundancy, and the Brain as Contextualizing Toolp. 300
A Definition of Consciousness in Terms of the Semiosis that Occurs Within the Brainp. 302
The Three-level Hierarchy, Neuronal Activity, and the Emergence of the Self-perspectivep. 310
Epiloguep. 314
Referencesp. 318
Name Indexp. 331
Subject Indexp. 334
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780826469656
ISBN-10: 0826469655
Series: Open Linguistics
Audience: Professional
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 360
Published: 1st April 2004
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 24.33 x 16.0  x 2.29
Weight (kg): 0.67
Edition Number: 1