previous | | 1.6.4 (57) | contents

m052.jpg


fig.45—how ‘semiotic graphemes represent’ by dual mode


 In light of Wundt’s prescient overview, we shall examine a specific case of lateralization: Like all animals, humans enjoy axial symmetry: two arms, two legs, two eyes, two cortical hemispheres—which unlike most, also express asymmetry of function. Semiosis, from Gk. semeio (σημειῶ, ‘to mark’), as the production of meaning by signs, engages every sensate animal; semiotic modes specific to Homo Sapiens involve the collision of unlike modalities—e.g., from the conduit of spoken words by visual marks rose the semiological summa of phonological writing. That writing presupposes reading is not altogether obvious to every ’ologist. To define ‘writing’ as marks readable in sequence, we must account for graphemes being both motivated by nature and arbitrary per culture—just as Dehaene’s précis: shapes that resemble Western letters, such as T, F, Y, or O, were adopted by inferior temporal neurons because they collectively formed an optimal code, invariant to image transformations, and whose combinations could represent an infinity of objects.

index | 1.6.5 (58) | | next

m053.jpg


fig.46—, and on the other hand, you can’t read this.


 Authors such as Dehaene complement their primary research (lab and field experiment) with secondary research (‘meta­-analysis’), i.e., interdisciplinary theory correlated with empirical data derived of rigorous practice under minimal selection bias—in sum, science! The bicameral brain boasts not one “speaking” over one “mute” half, but rather discerns whole functions according to their partial specialties. Cerebral torque expresses in many modes—e.g., what Dehaene calls the “letterbox”—the asymmetrical neuron ensembles, in both inferior­-temporal cortices, by which we read graphemes. On one hand, he provides a vivid example of how structural constraints are imposed on human activity by both neurophysiology and environmental context (“The old antagonism between nature and nurture is a myth—all learning rests on rigid innate machinery.”—again, the recursive turn); on the other hand, by recycling the cinema/television term “letterbox” he invokes what Eco calls an “aberrant­ decode” by way of semantic priming. Nevertheless, we ply onward...

© 2008-2012 Ian C Thorne. all rights reserved. about credits privacy contact share