Chapter published in:Speaking of Colors and Odors
Edited by Martina Plümacher and Peter Holz
[Converging Evidence in Language and Communication Research 8] 2007
► pp. 19–34
2. Color smell, and language: The semiotic nature of perception and language
The historical roots of the propositional versus the imagistic view on meaning in perception and language can be found in Aristotle’s Categories and in the medieval and Renaissance models for mnemonic networks of sign systems (Lullus, Bruno). The architecture of sensibility and meaning has been sketched in Condillac’sTraité des sensations (1754) and it demonstrates a fundamental conflict between sensation on one side and communication/ language on the other. Their relation has been further specified after Darwin in the context of an evolutionary theory of human cognition and language. In the final section, the contributions of different disciplines (neurophysiology, psychology, ethnology, linguistics, art history) to the question are compared in order to conceive a strategy of synthesis.
Published online: 26 July 2007