Empirically studying the way in which people connect all kind of impressions is one way of reaching a framework for a semantic design science. Statistical research is elementary in this endeavor, but it is not enough. We also need a mathematical logic that forms the basis of the “thinking-language” (read An abstract framework). With the publication of his work The Mental Graphics Space (1982), semanticist Ferre Alpaerts proposes the theory of genetic semantics as a method for getting insight in how meaning is established in the human mind. He states that imagining is a natural ability to process certain images according to certain methods. This is technically realized in the nervous system and brain and can thus be understood.
The starting point of genetic semantics is that meaning derives from innate structures of information processing. “The way in which higher organisms process information is derived from the methods used in the cell. The nervous system and the brain are built up of cells and it seems logic that the way cells exchange signals relies on the genetic code they possess. From this proposition emerges the idea that the human signalling system can be traced back to the codons of the DNA. The human ability to use signs is thus based on applications of genetic encoding.”
Genetic Semantics considers the semantic markers (= semantic features) introduced by J. Katz as ‘letters’ of DNA and combines them in groups of 2*3 codon ‘words’ of hereditary script (= componential definitions). The semantic words refer to the key-images of the mental graphics system. The thinking, i.e. the processing of these systems concepts, is a creative matter, namely the imagination.
The DNA structure can be presented as a spatial classification system, a system with three axes on which static opposites (0 and 1) are placed and movements (0>1, 1>0) are coded.
Ideas are given a coordinate formula containing static or dynamic letters in depth, height and breadth, thus forming a codon, with which they get a place in the space and can orient themselves. (Fig.4) Some examples of genetic semantic ‘words’ or codons: 001, 00>10, 110>1.
This way Pinker’s mental dictionary (An abstract framework) is viewed as a filled up 3D spreadsheet, an active matrix of which not only the cells are numbered but also provided with formulae that are formed by genetic code signs. This space forms thus a connected database, a huge network of concepts and ideas that are placed into coded cells.
- KHNUM, a methaphor
- Towards a logical turn of design
- Genetic semantics
- An abstract framework
- Spatial thinking
- Dimensional meaning overview
- Basic and adjective dimensions of meaning
- Colours as an abstract classification system
- Semantic colour space
- Semantic dimensions of colour
- Eight primary colours
- Colours and meaning
- Levels of meaning
- The Bio-informational theory of emotion