Por: Arqlga. Lizeth Azucena Cervantes Reyes. Sabemos que las sociedades mesoamericanas eran observadores de la naturaleza y que tuvieron un gran respeto hacia ella. Esto se ve reflejado en sus diversas manifestaciones culturales. Esto muestra la necesidad del hombre de relacionarse con otros mundos para encontrar explicaciones a su misma existencia. En nuestro caso de estudio hablaremos de los animales en particular.
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The formulations on the semiotic functioning of cultures proposed by semiotician Yuri Mikhailovich Lotman cannot be thought outside the intellectual environment that involved the theoriticians of the Tartu-Moscow School of Semiotics of which he was part and whose researchers belonged to different areas of knowledge such as Linguistics, Literary Theory, Semiotics, Cybernetics, Information and Communication Theory, to name but a few.
It is fundamental to refer to this scenario in order to situate the centrality that the modeling concept from Cybernetics has to the Lotmanian thought.
This can be mainly noticed in two aspects. The former is the fact that a semiotician uses the modeling concept to define language and indicate the different function it has on culture.
The latter regards the issue that, throughout his writings, it is possible to learn how he utilizes inherent thought for the modeling procedure to develop many of his conceptions. However, in order to continue this discussion, we will first situate the main characteristics of modeling according to Cybernetics, which will necessarily make us approach their relation with the scientific doing and, predominantly, with the type of knowledge that can be built through the modeling procedure.
The concept of culture formulated by Lotman is found throughout his work. As the studies on the author advances, new contributions are added to compose a greater construct, allowing us to understand the relations that characterize the understanding of culture as language, text and memory. However, among all these formulations, one of them seems founding. For the author, only through an exercise of intellection or scientific speculation, language could be separately conceived since it is directly related to a broader functioning of culture.
Therefore, even before we are related to them through signification processes and meaning production, languages would be responsible for assuring the co-existence of different forms of sign organization that grant materiality to information built by intricate exchange processes. Without that, it would not even be possible to talk about culture or social life, mainly if we consider the mediating function exercised by languages in the relationships between people and that result in specific forms of relation and interaction.
They are:. First, it should have a high degree of modeling potential, that is, either the ability to describe as wide a range of objects as possible, wich would include as many as yet unknown objects as possible, this being the optimal requirement for cognitive models, or it should have the capability to declare those objects which it cannot be used to describe as nonexistent.
Second, its systematic nature should be acknowledged by the community using it as an instrument for assigning system to what is amorphous. It is noticed that the author sets modeling as a central mechanism of culture, resulting in a capacity that collectivity possesses to build intelligibility and discriminate the organization of varied types of language manifestation and, consequently, culture. As we pointed before, modeling is a concept from Cybernetics and is directly related to the elaboration process of abstract models, built on the observation of specific phenomena.
According to Dupuy, for science, the idea of model has a completely distinct meaning from the one given by common sense. We must keep in mind that Cybernetics has looked towards the study of living organisms and artificial machines as control systems that transform input and output messages.
Simondon 9 points out that there is not any machine that possesses self-regulation completely independent from the external environment with which it exchanges information because the results of the action are also resulting from the exchange that it stablishes with the external environment. Yet, according to Dupuy , p.
It is from this relation of equivalence that the intellective capacity of the modeling procedure to discriminate the dynamism of a specific phenomenon occurs, since the model coexists in a diagram that essentially attempts to represent relations. Here it is necessary to briefly consider the conception proposed by Charles Sanders Peirce about the diagram in order to situate the capacity of the diagrammatic structure to function as a model and incite the production of a very specific type of knowledge.
According to the author, hypoicons 13 are divided into three types, limited by the manner each one of them relates with the firstness category PEIRCE, Diagrams are specially built by a correspondence established between the relations found inside the signal and the relations that characterize the composing parts of the dynamic object, creating then a similarity bond between the sign and the object.
Even if the diagram is classified as a hypoicon, it surpasses the secondness category, which implies relationship and confrontation , 15 because in the classification of hypoicons proposed by Peirce, the diagram is a second hypoicon. Therefore, it is not possible to disregard the action that the objects from dynamics exercise in the constitution of a diagram in order to construct a structural proximity between them.
If we consider that the dynamic object plays a determining role in the configuration of the diagram which characterizes the model, it can be said that any language phenomenon that possesses minimum organization is able to incite the formulation of models. This means that it is possible to discriminate some trace of the object that determines it even if it is tenuous. The process of logical determination, which is stablished between sign and object and its specificity in the diagram configuration characterizing the model, makes it possible to understand why the modeling procedure allows us to know an existing model even though its configuration is fragile or incipient, tending to be recurrent when managing irruption processes of new expressive modalities.
This same line of reasoning allows us to understand why, for Lotman, every language is also a modeling system that presupposes a specific ordering form between sets of invariants and variants.
The former report themselves to the most elementary internal bonds that characterize the specificity of a language organization, delegating semiotic individuality to it.
The latter are the result of stablished exchanges with the surroundings. In the relationship between variants and invariants, each language builds its own hierarchy.
Such diversity is also related to the nature of the information itself that may equally request very specific sign arrangements so that the greater the heterogeneity of the existing modeling becomes, the greater the culture capacity to produce and change information gets.
However, the action exercised by modeling is not limited to the first elaboration of a model that aims to understand the functioning of a determined object. Because it is a sign, the semiosis that every model generates in culture cannot be disregarded.
As Dupuy 19 states, once elaborated, the model pulls away from the phenomenal reality, which has raised it, acquires autonomous life, and becomes an independent object of study, capable of raising inferences that can either produce new models or make viable the configuration of a certain phenomenon that eventually did not even exist.
Peirce 20 also points out that one of the main characteristics of a diagram is that through its examination, other issues related to its object can be found and that they are not always clearly perceptible. This is possible due to the similarities through which the building process of a model happens, which generates an essentially associative process based on the production of new analogies and inferences about other yet unknown aspects of a particular phenomenon.
This line of reasoning, defined by Peirce as abduction, 21 raises suppositions about other equivalences that may be established between spheres that, at first, do not seem to be related, assigning new meanings to other objects.
Thus, the same model can indicate that, if different language phenomena are similar in an aspect, they can also be similar to others, which can result in discrimination of yet unknown traces of a system. Consequently, this procedure may significantly contribute to discriminating language functioning even if destituted of clear ordering. The diagram can also indicate the existing dissimilarity between distinct phenomena that still leads to the elaboration of inferences which allow us to build the intelligibility of a specific language form.
It is exactly through this process that the predictive character of the modeling process, capable of eliciting the collection of assumptions due to the possibility to irrupt certain language phenomena, can be understood. There is another facet related to the diagram that allows us to better understand it. On the one hand, still according to Peirce , 22 an icon does not make the elaboratration of accurate statements about something possible; on the other hand, it raises conjectures or hypotheses that are capable of carrying out future experiments.
Therefore, the diagram built by the modeling procedure opens pathways to raise assumptions on the possible forms of language construction and, consequently, cultural organization, keeping in mind eventual correlations that may be established among distinct contexts presenting a minimum similarity among them.
This perspective allows understanding why, according to the theoretical construct formulated by Lotman, language could never be seen only because of its capacity to represent something distinct of itself and, therefore, to generate meanings in a culture. Through modeling, it is necessary to consider that the existence of a language form itself and its organization form can produce inferences about a culture or broader sociocultural transformations.
Thus, the explanation of a language and its semiosis by a model is already about a specific cultural phenomenon. Next, we will discuss these relationships. However, studying something new also requires the equal understanding of how different modeling systems keep their own semiotic individuality, despite the constant exchanges that they stablish with the surrounding.
One of the main aspects of individual consciousness considers the presence of two completely opposing tendencies that subsist in constant tensioning. Understanding each of them implies, above all, to consider them responsible for the production of distinct signs from which different forms of reasoning and action result.
In sum, the left side would be responsible for the production of discrete signs while the right one is related to the generation of non-discrete sign. Discrete signs are related to digits, i. Due to the linear, sequential and predicative structure that characterizes the concatenation process of letters and words in the syntagma, sequentiality is created, establishing a previous order to be followed by the thought flow. On the other hand, non-discrete signs are continuous and cannot be separated into units or digits.
They keep their proximity with the phenomenal world, establishing a relation of similarity or analogy with it, fostering less abstract but more situational reasoning modalities. Consequently, the right hemisphere opposes to the temporal linearity of reasoning connected to discrete signs, inciting the development of a more analogical thinking to overlap distinct objects synchronically.
The disparity between each one of these tendencies will be fundamental for the model elaborated by Lotman. According to him, the individual mind functioning is essentially characterized by two distinct movements. Concomitantly, it is through this asymmetry that a tendency can boost its opposing action once this sphere, which was momentarily atrophied, faces new information to be translated by its own internal codes.
Lotman illustrates this movement when stating that:. However, this activity of the left hemisphere, apparently, is not useless; having released itself from the immobilizing control of objectuality, it elaborates a language of distinctions. However, symmetric relations establish correspondence and parallelism bonds preventing any possibility of exchange. In it, we find the existence of moments of intense exchange between completely disparate systems and, at the same time, the estabilization periods, in which one sphere turns back to its own internal re-ordering since its internal bonds are directly affected after the exchange with another.
Therefore, Lotman d indicates the co-existence of two absolutely opposing movements in culture, characterized by the tendency to heterogeneity and the propensity to homogeneity, also defined by him as a structural paradox. The former is reported in the potentialization moments, resulting from the conflict established between opposing orientation systems whereas the latter elucidates the language self-organization capacity, ensuring its semiotic individuality.
However, it is in the cultural text materiality that it is possible to discriminate this intellective action. It not surprising that Lotman a settles it as the third class of intelligent object alongside the human individual consciousness and the collective intelligence of culture. Every text LOTMAN, a is essentially defined by semiotic heterogeneity, once it is the result of a relationship built between, at least, two languages.
Consequently, translational equivalences are established between different spheres from which the irruption of non-predictable textual arrangement results. It is thought this characteristic that the text is able to perform its main function in culture, i. Still, according to Lotman, this process is only possible by the action of a thinking device of culture.
Because every text is the outcome of an intellective action of culture whose marks are found in the materiality of its sign arrangement itself, it is equally possible to discriminate traces of its constructive process through the memory written in it.
And similar to intelligence, the memory of culture has a double movement, splitting into informative and creative. While the former reports to self-regulation, marked by the coding and re-coding process of a system when in contact with another, which keeps it as an ordered whole, the latter regards the intellective capacity of culture to generate textual arrangements that are not produced by a previously given algorithm. Besides, neither produces unambiguous meanings because in these cases the text anticipates its own configuration of the code so that it preannounces the emergence of new forms of sign configuration.
Moreover, according to the intellective dimension of culture, only in the relation with another, a text is able to incite the production of meanings, once it can say nothing isolatedly. From that comes the capacity of a text to foment the irruption of non-predictable meanings that do not deplete themselves in the moment they were produced because they are always related to other textual arrangements.
Going back to the theoretical attitude, it is noticed that Lotman takes the individual human mind as object and, through the modeling procedure, elaborates a model that allows to locate the intellective and semiotic functioning of culture through which the continuous movement of systems is observed towards the production of new cultural texts as well as the preservation of different semiotic individualities from which the action of two distinct types of memory results.
At the same time, Lotman a also elucidates how the study of the intellective mechanism of culture can incite the raising of assumptions capable of broadening the understanding of the cerebral activity functioning itself, mainly regarding symmetry. Thus, a diagram regarding the brain functioning is built and opposes the diagram of the functioning of culture. By observing both, it would be possible to recognize invariants that would be common to both as well as their dissimilarities. It is exactly this theoretical attitude by Lotman, based essentially on the modeling procedure, that makes us point out the importance that the space has in its formulations.
Before situating it, it is important to emphasize that every model consists of metalanguage that reports to a specific object-language. As we mentioned before, in this case, the modeling procedure presupposes the elaboration of diagrams whose internal relations aim to explain the constituent interactions of a phenomenon.
Despite the difference between these two levels, Lotman points out the existence of an existing invariant between them: space. According to the author:. However, a definite relationship exists between these two totally separate schemes. One of the universal peculiarities of human culture, possibly connected with the anthropological features of human consciousness, is the fact that the world view invariably acquires features of spatial characteristics.
The very construction of a world order is invariably conceived on the basis of some spatial structure which organizes all its other levels. Thus, a homeomorphic relationship appears between the metalinguistic structures and the structure of the object LOTMAN, , p. Here, the homeomorphism relation should be seen from two aspects.
The former regards the movement of the observed object itself - in this case, the modeling systems of culture. For the author, this process can be understood by topology, a Mathematics subject that studies distinct properties of sets that are preserved even when deformed. It allows outlining homeomorphic relations between different spaces that can be inverted in each other based on their own trajectories and properties.
Research seminar After the Semiosphere. Lotman’s “Latest” Theory, Mexico City
ISBN 13: 9788489447103
La imagen y la esfera semiótica