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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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Paradoxical Representation of Tropes in Visual Rhetoric



Visual communication scholars have defined several directions for the visual analysis of pictures: aesthetic theory, perception theory, representation theory, visual rhetoric, cognition theory, semiotics, reception theory, narrative theory, media aesthetics, ethics, visual literacy, cultural studies.1 The different approaches open different dimensions to the analysis of pictures. The present study strives to build on my former research presented in 2010 at the 1st Budapest Visual Learning Conference. At that time, I focused only on a rhetorical categorical matrix based upon operations of meaning and rhetorical (figural) structuring. That research merely based on a visual rhetorical approach. In this study, I try to widen the horizon. I apply representation theory to give a common platform to the semiotic and rhetorical approaches. The empirical part of this study points to the different structures and meaning operations of pictures and pictorial elements of internet memes, while the theoretical part establishes connections between the visual application of rhetorical tropes and strategies, the former typology, visual literacy, convergence and participatory culture.

2.Representation Theory

Representation is regarded as a key concept in semiotics, phenomenology and rhetoric. Representation theory claims that both rhetoric and visual semiotics deal with the mediation of signs between the internal and external world. This phenomenon is called representation.2 Rhetoricians study the creation and manipulation of symbols and signs with the intention of persuasion, while semioticians are more interested in the interpretation of symbols and signs. Not aiming at being exhaustive, I would like to...

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