The Cognitive Semiotics of Cultural Evolution
Edited By David Dunér and Göran Sonesson
Sara Lenninger - Chapter Four : Pictures: Perceptions of Realism in the Service of Communication
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Pictures: Perceptions of Realism in the Service of Communication
Pictures have not evolved as isolated phenomena in human culture, but occupy their place and contribute to changes in the complex and intricate processes we in this book designate as cultural evolution. In this chapter, pictures are discussed as semiotic resources from a perspective of human cultural evolution. The material picture (the picture-thing) is examined both as a perceptual object, and as a communicative resource. An assumption in this chapter is that the discrimination of the picture as a communicative resource had (and may still have) a vital, but also distinct, role in the human endeavour to explore sign relationships. Its distinctiveness does not consist in being the original or the prior semiotic resource in relation to other semiotic resources developed in human communication. Rather, its specific role derives from the combination of visual and communicative meanings employed in pictures, having recourse to the inherent qualities of “natural meaning,” but at the same time not being mere “natural experience.”
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