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  • Face and Chiasmus. Recent insight from cognitive semiotics (Conference in Turin)

9 June 2022 8 - 11 am (End: 9 June 2022)

  • Convenor: Prof. Jamin Pelkey
  • Venue: Palazzo Nuovo, Torino

Face and Chiasmus. Recent Insights from Cognitive Semiotics

Conference by Prof. Jamin Pelkey (Toronto Metropolitan University, Toronto). June 9, 2022. 8-11am. Aula 11 Palazzo Nuovo. Torino


Lecture hosted in the course PHILOSOPHY OF COMMUNICATION held by Prof. Massimo Leone and Prof. Matteo Treleani

Discussants Prof. Massimo LEONE, Prof. Matteo TRELEANI

ABSTRACT. When interacting face-to-face, human beings seem to know instinctively that ‘my right is on your left and my left is on your right’. The resulting intersubjective structure is inherently chiastic. But where does this ability come from and what does it mean? Is it a learned skill? If not, how early does it emerge developmentally? Is it merely trivial? If not, what are its implications? How generalizable is it? In this talk I present theory, evidence, and contextualization from a wide range of sources to suggest that this ability has implications for human culture and cognition that are both profound and profoundly neglected in the literature. I also propose that the facial projection that this semiotic ability informs is part of a suite of cognitive modelling features that have co-evolved with the reorganization of the anatomical planes marking the human reflexive singularity. I trace the meaning potential that this inverse facial projection enables, working in tandem with other bodily structures, through the studies of infant alteroception, gesture space, historic heraldry, contemporary graphic design, Tibetan thangka paintings, Aristotle’s logical square of oppositions, and beyond, ultimately suggesting that chiastic facial projection is commensurate with the personalization of the world, and that attrition of this ability is commensurate with depersonalization.