Proceedings of the XXII World Congress of Philosophy

Volume 34, 2008

Philosophy of Cognitive Science

Lorenzo Magnani
Pages 21-24

Multimodal Abduction
External Semiotic Anchors and Hybrid Representations

In this paper I contend that abduction is essentially multimodal, in that both data and hypotheses can have a full range of verbal and sensory representations, involving words, sights, images, smells, etc. but also kinesthetic experiences and other feelings such as pain, and thus all sensory modalities. The kinesthetic aspects simply explain abductive reasoning is basically manipulative, both linguistic and non linguistic signs have an internal semiotic life, as particular configurations of neural networks and chemical distributions (and in terms of their transformations) at the level of human brains, and as somatic expressions, but can also be delegated to many external objects and devices, for example written texts, diagrams, artifacts, etc. Still in this case unconscious aspects take part of the abductive procedure, which acquires the features of a kind of "thinking through doing".