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Beyond Words

Pictures, Parables, Paradoxes


Edited By András Benedek and Kristóf Nyíri

Human thinking depends not only on words but also on visual imagery. Visual argumentation directly exploits the logic of the pictorial, while verbal arguments, too, draw on figurative language, and thus ultimately on images. In the centuries of handwritten documents and the printed book, our educational culture has been a predominantly verbal one. Today the challenge of the pictorial is explicit and conspicuous. In the digital world, we are experiencing an unprecedented wealth of images, animations and videos. But how should visual content be combined with traditional texts? This volume strives to present a broad humanities background showing how going beyond the word was always an issue in, and by now has become an inevitable challenge to, pedagogy and philosophy.
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Augmenting Conceptualization by Visual Knowledge Organization



Recent developments within cognitive and computer supported conceptualization have helped us to see why externalizing conceptual knowledge in visual forms has proved to be a much deeper problem than it was assumed to be in the pioneering era of Artificial Intelligence (AI). Visualization has played a role in both recognizing the importance of sub-symbolic cognitive structures in explaining the difficulties of simulating our visual capacities, and in the emergence of graphical Knowledge Organization (KO) tools of Human and Computer Interactions (HCI). Among the KO tools that support memory recall, concept organization or design, and problem solving, we not only find tables, maps and diagrams but first of all graph based combinations of textual and non-textual symbolic structures.

2.Computational Simulation versus the Augmentation of Human Conceptualization

While debates in the pioneering period of AI centered on the question of whether physical symbol systems can think, in the seminal years of the 1960s in which computational semantics and machine representations of scientific conceptualization appeared to converge into a happy symbiosis, alternative approaches already sought to address conceptual problem solving with a view not to simulate but to augment our knowledge organization activities. These approaches did not seek to demarcate the personal from objective knowledge, or human cognition from machine knowledge representation, they rather viewed cognitive structures, including “visual” ones, and their externalizations as co-evolving systems. Though the – by now obvious – idea of co-evolution became essential in various fields from processual archaeology to cognitive...

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