From Attention to Meaning
Explorations in Semiotics, Linguistics, and Rhetoric
Year of Publication: 2009
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2009. 268 pp., 3 ill., 29 tables and graphs
ISBN 978-3-03911-442-9 pb. (Softcover)
Weight: 0.420 kg, 0.926 lbs
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Of all the tasks you perform, perhaps none is more consequential for the performance of other tasks than paying attention. When you attend, you perceive. When you attend and perceive, you remember. When you attend, perceive, and remember, you learn. When you learn, you have the option of acting deliberately. Perceiving, thinking, learning, deciding, and acting require the constant adjustment of the attention system. The author proposes a model of the greater attention system as comprising three distinct but interdependent sub-systems: the signal system, the selection system, and the interpersonal system, with eight elements distributed among them: altering, orienting, detecting, sustaining, controlling, sharing, harmonizing, and directing. The chapters in this book develop an «attentional» analysis of meaning under the unifying framework of mental spaces theory. In addition, each chapter explores the implications of an attention based approach to meaning for research in semiotics, linguistics, and rhetoric. Data for the investigation originate from the author’s own field work carried out in cultural institutions.
Contents: Attention and Cognitive Science – Attention and Semiotics – Attention and Linguistics – Attention and Rhetoric.
About the author(s)/editor(s)
The Author: Todd Oakley is Associate Professor of Cognitive Science and Co-Director of the Center for Cognition and Culture at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio, USA.
«Rhetorical theorists interested in understanding what rhetoric can accomplish by way of asking, what makes rhetoric possible, will find this a satisfying and compelling read.» (David Kauffer, Carnegie Mellon University)
«Todd Oakley’s Book is a most innovative, radical and deeply inspiring contribution to what must be considered a cutting edge in Cognitive Linguistics: the role of attention in language and discourse. It is the first encompassing proposal for a general theory of attention in relation to meaning construction in discourse and a claim for a ‘Cognitive Rhetoric’. As such the book is a must for anybody interested in Cognitive Linguistics and Cognitive Semiotics.» (Cornelia Müller, European-University Viadrina, Frankfurt/Oder)
European Semiotics: Language, Cognition, and Culture. Vol. 8
Edited by Per Aage Brandt, Wolfgang Wildgen and Barend van Heusden