Morphogenesis of Meaning

Translated by Franson Manjali

by Jean Petitot (Author)
©2004 Monographs XI, 279 Pages


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.


XI, 279
ISBN (Softcover)
Formalizing Structures Phonological Categorizations Strukturelle Linguistik Katastrophentheorie Structuralism Morphological Geometry Catastrophe Theory Categorical Perception Topological Geometry
Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt/M., New York, Oxford, Wien, 2004. XI, 279 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Jean Petitot (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).


Title: Morphogenesis of Meaning