From the meaning of embodiment to the embodiment of meaning: A study in phenomenological selDiotics

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingBook chapter


Unlike much of the contemporary discussion of embodiment, phenomenology is really involved with the body as a kind of meaning appearing to consciousness; and it does not only attend to the body of the biological organism, but also to the kind of organism-independent artefacts which are required by some sign systems. Because it is concerned with meaning, phenomenology is akin to semiotics. From the point of view of the latter discipline, however, signs must be distinguished from other meanings, and clear criteria are needed for doing so. At least one such criterion can by found in the work of Piaget: differentiation. Meaning in the more general sense of organisation and selection is at the basis of the common sense world, and thus accounts for what is known in Cognitive Linguistics as "image schemas". Cognitive Linguistics, just as biosemiotics, ignores this important distinction. Moreover, some cognitive linguists seem to deny the distinction between organism and environment, which must prevail if "image schemas" are to be acquired, along the lines of earlier conceptions of schematisation. On the basis of these considerations, a developmental sequence can be suggested going from schemas to signs and organism-independent artefacts.


Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • General Language Studies and Linguistics
  • Philosophy


  • Body, Ecology, Embodiment, Evolution, Lifeworld, Memory, Phenomenology, Picture, Semiotic function, Semiotics, Sign
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBody, Language and Mind
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Embodiment
EditorsTom Zienke, Jordan Zlatev, Roslyn M. Frank
PublisherMouton de Gruyter
ISBN (Electronic)9783110207507
ISBN (Print)9783110193275
Publication statusPublished - 2008 Sep 25
Publication categoryResearch

Publication series

NameCognitive Linguistics Research
ISSN (Print)1861-4132