In order to understand the specificity of human beings, we must consider the biological as well as historical process by means of which we were separated from other animals. Two hypotheses are unique to our research: not verbal language alone, but the means of conveying meaning more generally is specific; and it may have emerged in part in history, without any specific biological foundation.
In order to understand what is specific to humanity, we need to consider the process, which is both biological and historical in nature, by means of which human beings were separated from other animal species. Scholars within philosophy, linguistics, semiotics, cognitive science, human ecology, architecture, and the study of theatre and music have here been united under one theoretical umbrella, cognitive semiotics, having the purpose to integrate the theoretical and empirical results of both cognitive science and semiotics (the study of meaning), at the same time as it profits from ideas coming from the traditional humanities. Two hypotheses are unique to our research environment: that the peculiarity of mankind is not found in verbal language alone, but in the means of conveying meaning more generally; and that part of the specificity may were will have emerged in historical time, without any specific biological foundation. We divide research within CCS into 5 themes: (a) Evolution of cognition and semiosis (“meaning-making”), (b) Ontogenetic development of cognition and semiosis, (c) Historical development of cognition and semiosis, (d) Typology beyond language, (e) Neurosemiotics. Theoretical studies and systematic collection of empirical data will serve to connect the themes. In addition to existing infrastructure, CCS will further develop the Primate Field Station at Furuvik, and an Infant research unit.