Morphogenesis of Meaning

Morphogenesis of Meaning

by Jean Petitot, Franson Manjali


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The original French version of «Morphogenesis of Meaning» was one of the important breakthroughs in cognitive semiolinguistics during the eighties. It provided a deep philosophical elaboration of René Thom’s Catastrophe Theory and exerted great influence on the main semiolinguistic schools in the world. Translated by Franson Manjali and revised with his help, the present English version focuses on dynamical modeling perspectives, the mathematical content of the models, and epistemologically foundational issues. The central problem dealt with is that of structure. Topological and dynamical models of morphogenesis are applied to structuralist theories such as phonology and categorical perception (Roman Jakobson), structural syntax and geometrical interpretation of case grammars (Lucien Tesnière, Louis Hjelmslev), narrative structures (Vladimir Propp, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Algirdas J. Greimas) as well as semiogenesis. It can be seen that there exists a theoretical convergence between many trends in American cognitive linguistics (Charles Fillmore, Len Talmy, Ron Langacker, George Lakoff) and the dynamical modeling perspectives which were developped in the context of European structuralism.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9783039101047
Publisher: Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften
Publication date: 12/12/2003
Series: European Semiotics / Semiotiques Europeennes Series , #3
Pages: 279
Product dimensions: 6.30(w) x 9.06(h) x (d)

About the Author

The Author: Mathematician, semiolinguist and philosopher of science, Jean Petitot is Professor at the École des Hautes Études en Sciences Sociales (EHESS) and Director of the Center for Research in Applied Epistemology (CREA) at the École Polytechnique (Paris). He is a leading specialist of morphodynamical models in semiolinguistics, structuralist theory, cognitive science and phenomenology.
The Translator: Franson Manjali teaches linguistics and semiotics at Jawaharlal Nehru University (New Delhi).

Table of Contents

Contents: Problematic Aspects and Key Issues of Structuralism – Understanding ‘Structure’ – Main Trends in Structuralism – The Problem of Formalizing Structures – The Necessity for a Morphological Geometry – The Principles of Catastrophe Theory – Categorical Perception and Topological Syntax – Phonological Categorizations as Critical Phenomena – Actantial Schematism – Tesnière’s Notion of Verbal Valence – The Grammatical Reduction of Structural Syntax – The Scenic Conception of Case Roles and the Morphodynamical Schematism – The Localist Hypothesis – Semio-Narrative Structures – The Sources of Greimasian Theory – Panorama of Greimasian Theory – Paul Ricœur’s Observations – Schematization of the Undefinables.

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