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[Xmca-l] Re: Barsalou's Grounded Cognition Theory


Almost every developmental theorist sees "the semiotic function" as a crucial aspect of a child's development, one that occurs at about 24 to 30 months of age. They differ, however, in what this 'function' consists in. For Piaget, it was the ability construct 'mental representations,' on which the child could carry out 'mental actions' and so move to a brand new level over and above the physical actions of the sensorimotor stage.

As I read it, LSV was proposing that the semiotic function is the ability to understand that we live in a world full of *material* representations. Pictures, maps, signs, gestures, clothing... the list is endless. Central among these is language: the strings of sound vibrations that we generate with lungs, vocal cords, mouth, tongue and lips are material, and for a specific community they are representations. (Of the Peircian rather than the Saussurian kind, I would argue, but that's another matter).

So I would locate the symbolic, once again, in the material. In what humans do with the material. Material representations are things that humans specialize in creating, and they open up possibilities beyond the here-&-now of concrete situations.

But I'm not certain this really addresses your question!?


On Dec 3, 2014, at 10:52 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:

> Martin,
> The example comes from an article he wrote, "The Hermeneutics of Symbols
> and Philosophical Reflection"
> I was actually using the imaginal symbol of *captivity* to point to the
> more general relationship of the *literal* and the *beyond* which comes
> into *being through the symbolic.
> The way these cultural historical symbols guide or orient *interpretive
> communities*
> Suzanne Kirschner wrote a book "the Religious and Romantic Roots of
> Psychanalysis" which outlines the symbolic imaginal of "falling away AND
> return" which she traces through Neo-Platonism, the Protestant mystical
> tradition and moves through or in to psychoanalysis.
> It was Ricouer's general exploration of symbol [at this level or time scale
> of situations the level that guides zeitgeists] that I was attempting to
> weave together with *grounded cognition*.
> If Ricouer and Kirschner are pointing to a *real* phenomena then the
> relation of the *literal* and the *metaphorical* exploring *trans*
> positioning opens up stituations or *events* to what Merleau Ponty calls
> *excess* [the beyond]
> It is this realm which I'm suggesting is a *gap* which  metaphorical power
> or force assists in coming into being through the imaginal.
> I am speculating that to understand *cognition* as multimodal then this
> time scale as a mode or path also guides our *quests* or questions.
> In other words the questions as grounded in the literal but calling us
> beyond the literal is the realm Ricouer and Kirschner are exploring.
> To situate Suzanne Kirscher, she co-authored the book "The sociocultural
> Turn in Psychology* with Jack Martin.
> Larry
> On Wed, Dec 3, 2014 at 5:09 AM, Martin John Packer <mpacker@uniandes.edu.co>
> wrote:
>> Hi Larry,
>> I've read a lot of Ricoeur, but he wrote faster than I can read so I
>> haven't covered it all. This sounds like his book Symbolism and Evil?  If
>> so, it's one I didn't read...
>> Martin
>> On Dec 3, 2014, at 1:25 AM, Larry Purss <lpscholar2@gmail.com> wrote:
>>> Martin,
>>> Thank You for the article on Grounded theory that is exploring the
>>> multimodal synthesis of  perceptual, action, linguistic, and conceptual
>>> phenomena. [his Perceptual Symbol System's or PSS theory]. On page 623
>>> Barsalou explores *memory theories* and says his Perceptual Symbol System
>>> Theory  shares similarities with Rubin's *Basic Systems Theory*
>>> In Barsalou's words,
>>> "Basic Systems Theory proposes that a complex memory contains many
>>> multimodal components from vision, audition, action, space, affect,
>>> language, etc., and that retrieving a memory involves simulating its
>>> multimodal components together.
>>> Rubin was articulating a more complex and richer form of memory which
>>> includes autobiographical memory and oral history.
>>> On page 622 Barsalou articulates his PSS theory and indicates how
>> grounded
>>> cognition can implement symbolic functions naturally. He states,
>>> "Through the construct of simulators - corresponding roughly to concepts
>>> and types in standard theories - PSS implements the standard symbolic
>>> functions of type-token, binding, inference, productivity, recursion and
>>> propositions."
>>> I am curious how you understand the relation of Barsalou's Perceptual
>>> Symbol System theory of grounded cognition as it engages with another
>>> complex aspect of the symbolic memory system which points to more
>> expansive
>>> notions of memory through historical time. Ricoeur has engaged deeply
>> with
>>> this more expansive symbolic memory. which he describes as a schema of
>>> existence. As a concrete example he refers to the symbol of *captivity*
>>> which trans*forms* an actual historical event such as the Jewish Egyptian
>>> captivity and then the Babylonian captivity into a *schema of existence*
>>> Ricouer conjectures that symbolism such as the schema of captivity
>> precedes
>>> reflection as a *guiding metaphor*.
>>> It is this complex, multimodal aspect of memory that I was pointing to.
>>> Ricouer posits a relation between the *literal* and the *metaphoric* in
>> the
>>> power or force of the living symbol. He says in the analogous relation [A
>>> is to B as C is to D]  and these terms can be objective. BUT in symbolic
>>> metaphor  I cannot *objectivize* the analogous relation. By living in the
>>> first *literal* meaning in this literal act I am drawn or carried
>> *beyond*
>>> this literal understanding [i.e. captivity] The symbolic *meaning* is
>>> *constituted* IN AND THROUGH the literal *meaning*.
>>> I am not sure where to situate Ricouer's exploration of the symbolic
>>> relation that *binds*  literal *meaning* and  symbolic *meaning*. As
>>> another aspects of multimodal cognition can Ricouer's  extension of
>> *memory
>>> systems* beyond autobiography and oral history be included in Barsalou's
>>> PASS theory of grounded cognition?  Would Barsalou situate Ricouer's
>>> metaphorical understanding of symbolism as a simulation?