Psychology Dictionary of Arguments

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Terrence W. Deacon on Representation - Dictionary of Arguments

I 77
Signs/representation/Deacon: a sign is interpreted - and is thus seen as a representation - by reducing it (i.e. splitting it into partial representations) until it cannot be further reduced. This is the basis on which all other representations are built.
I 78
Representation/Deacon: Icon and index (see Icon/Deacon) do not simply correspond to perception and learning, but refer to abilities to draw conclusions and predictions that are involved in the respective neuronal processes. Representational relations are not simply these mechanisms, but they are a characteristic of their potential relations to past, future, absent or imaginary objects. These objects are not re-presented, but are virtually represented by learned reactions that would normally be generated if these objects were present. In this sense, mental processes are no less representative than external communication processes and external communication processes are no less representative in this respect than mental processes.
N.B.: Mental representation is reduced to internal communication.
I 300
Representation/Brain/Deacon: the systematic nature of the symbolic reference suggests that the representation of symbolic associations is distributed across the brain and that similar word classes share neuronal similarities.
To the extent that higher-level representations can be broken down into lower-level components, we may expect their neuronal representations to have a similarly intertwined hierarchical structure.
I 397
Representation/symbols/symbolic communication/Deacon: we should not underestimate what can be represented without symbols: almost everything can be represented by indexical or iconic means alone. Animal calls can refer specifically to species of enemies, types of food and much more.
Indexical reference: however, requires a part-whole relationship.
Human communication: its special feature is the possible reference to the non-material through symbols.
I 400
Punishment for sexual infidelity is tolerated or promoted in human communities. This requires a high degree of abstraction, such as reference to the past and possible consequences in the future.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Dea I
T. W. Deacon
The Symbolic Species: The Co-evolution of language and the Brain New York 1998

Dea II
Terrence W. Deacon
Incomplete Nature: How Mind Emerged from Matter New York 2013

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