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PowerPoint prepared for a presentation at the “Sémiotiques et Rhétorique” workshop in Algeria in 2008, at which it was, in the end, unfortunately impossible to participate

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  1. 1. “Sémiotiques et Rhétorique” 2008<br />PatrickJ. Coppock<br />Departmentof Social, Cognitive and Quantitative Science, <br />FacultyofCommunication and Business, <br />Universityof Modena and Reggio Emilia, Italy<br /><br /><br />
  2. 2. Theme and Title<br />Theme: “Rhétorique del l’image et économied’Icones”<br />Title: “One picture is worth a thousand…??”: Rhetoric and Economy of Images in Interactive Fictional Possible Worlds<br />
  3. 3. Possible Fictional Worlds<br />Three questions:<br />How do weconceiveof/ experiencePossible(Fictional) Worlds?<br />How do weconceiveof/ experiencethe Actual (Real) World?<br />How doourconceptions and experiencesofPast, Present and Future Possible and ActualWorldsinteract in differentRhetoricalcommunicationgenres/ contexts?<br />
  4. 4. (Language) Games and Fiction<br />The culturally constructed reality and symbolic efficacy of all kinds of language (or other) games (or play) depends on our ability to make-believe - to create, narrate/ enunciate, relate to and interact meaningfully with past, present and future fictional possible worlds<br />This requires, amongst other things, “bracketing”, suspension of belief, and a good deal of cooperative good will (c.f. Husserl, Eco)<br />i.e. successful management of the dynamic transposition and interplay of meaning and action across the boundaries of actuality and possibility<br />
  5. 5. Interaction, inference and interpretation of texts<br />Eco: “Six Walks in the Fictional Woods” <br />Inference and interpretation permit construction of relevant/ meaningful “walks” through “lazy” narrative texts<br />Plot - deployment of characters, events in time and space<br />Fabula - a succession of textual states<br />Narrative possible worlds and subworlds are brought into play as an effect of interaction between reader, plot and fabula<br />
  6. 6. Fictional possible worlds<br />Eco:<br />“Small worlds”, “furnished” with actors and objects with certain “properties”<br />“… alternative ways things might have been, not descriptions of these ways.”<br />“… states of affairs … described in terms of the same language as their narrative object<br />“Finite, enclosed”, “handicapped”, “parasitic on the real world”, must be “taken on trust”<br />
  7. 7. Possible fictional worlds<br />Are translatable into “world matrices” that … <br />“provide the possibility of comparing different states of affairs under a certain description” and <br />“making clear whether they can be mutually accessible or not and in which way they differ.”<br />
  8. 8. Possible and impossible worlds<br />“We explore the plurality of possibility to find a suitable model for realia”<br />The Actual/ Reference world as we experience it is also a cultural construct, and thus a possible world<br />Fictional worlds (of texts), and subworlds (of their characters) activate<br />Doxastic worlds & subworlds (of desires, hopes, beliefs etc. on the part of empirical readers)<br />
  9. 9. Transworld Identity <br />The problem of transworld identity:<br />How to single out what “persists” over the course of different states of affairs in, and between, different possible worlds? <br />Shared textually essential properties (s-properties) are a condition for determining the potential for mutual accessibility between possible worlds.<br />Fictional necessity differs from logical necessity. Fictional necessity is an individuationprinciple.<br />
  10. 10. Rhetoric<br />Some classical and more contemporarydefinitionsofRhetoric:<br />Aristotle: “the faculty of discovering in any particular case all of the available means of persuasion.”<br />Cicero: "speech designed to persuade.”<br />George Campbell: “that art or talent by which discourse is adapted to its end. The four ends of discourse are to enlighten the understanding, please the imagination, move the passion, and influence the will.”<br />Sonja and Karen Foss: “an action human beings perform when they use symbols for the purpose of communicating with one another . . , a perspective humans take that involves focusing on symbolic processes.”<br />Lloyd Bitzer: “a mode of altering reality, not by the direct application of energy to objects, but by the creation of discourse which changes reality through the mediation of thought and action.”<br />
  11. 11. Rhetoricaspersuasion<br />A. N. Whitehead: <br />“The wholequestionof the symbolic transfer ofemotionlies at the base ofanytheoryof the aestheticsof art.” (Symbolism, itsMeaning and Effect, 1927)<br />“The art of a free society consists first in the maintenanceof the symbolic code; and secondly, in the fearlessnessofrevision, to securethat the code servesthosepurposeswhichsatisfyanenightenedreason.” (Symbolism, itsMeaning and Effect, 1927)<br />“In itsmostgeneralsense, the commerceofmankindinvolveseveryspeciesofinterchangewhichproceedsby way ofmutualpersuasion.” (AdventuresofIdeas, 1933)<br />
  12. 12. Persuasion, betweenpossibility and actuality<br />“The creationof the world–saidPlato–is the victoryofpersuasionoverforce. The worthofmenconsists in theirliablity to persuasion. They can bepersuadedby the disclosureofalternatives, the better or the worst.” (AdventuresofIdeas, 1933)<br />“Civilizationis the maintenanceof social order, byitsowninherentpersuasivenessasembodying the nobler alternative. The recourse to force, however, unavoidable, is a disclosureof the failureofcivilisation, either in general society, or in a remnantofindividuals.” (AdventuresofIdeas, 1933)<br />
  13. 13. Reality: continuous, autonomous, creative process<br />A.N. Whitehead:<br />“Cognitionis the emergence, into some measureofindividualised reality, of the generalsubstratumofactivity, poisingbeforeitselfpossibility, actuality and purpose.”<br />“The principlethat I amadoptingisthatconsciousnesspresupposesexperience, and notexperienceconsciousness. Itis a specialelement in the subjectiveformsof some feelings. Thusanactualentitymay, or maynotbeconsciousof some part ofitsexperience.”<br />
  14. 14. (… (Past((Present))(Future) …)<br />Each moment ofexperienceconfessesitselftobe a transitionbetweentwoworlds, the immedatepast and the immediate future. […] <br />This immediate future is immanent in the present with some degree of structural presence (AoI 192)<br />
  15. 15. Self(hood): Feeling SubjectivityOther(ness)<br /> World: Reality/ Novelty/ Satisfaction/ Actuality<br />Actualisation: <br />Processual realisationofpossibility<br />Process/ Being/ Cosmos/ Evolution/ Possibility<br />RelationalityofBeing, Self(hood), Other(ness)<br />
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  17. 17. Rhetoricastransworldmediator<br />Rhetoricuses the meaningpotentialinherent in the interplay betweenaspectsofpastpossible and actualworldsthatmergewithaspectsofoursubjectivelyexperiencedpresentpossible and actualworlds, toconstruct and advance (more or less) persuasive visionsoffuture possible and actualworlds.<br />In doing so, itseeks (amongstotherthings) to create conditionsfor cultural and material change.<br />
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  19. 19. Second Life<br />
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  26. 26. Columbine Game<br />
  27. 27. Columbine Game<br />
  28. 28. Semiotics and the Real<br />Eco: “Kant and the Platypus”<br />Aristotle: “Being is/ may be spoken/ said/ speaks itself in many ways”<br />“Lines of resistance in Being”<br />However, we must “take” Being/ the Real World as a cultural (cognitive, emotional, sensory etc.) construct, since we cannot really “know it” in any other way<br />Our meanings and actions “emerge” throught our myriad cultural practices<br />
  29. 29. Semiotics and the Real<br /><ul><li>Eco:
  30. 30. “Semiotics is concerned with everything that can be taken to be a sign”
  31. 31. “A sign is everything which can be taken as significantly substituting for something else.”
  32. 32. “Semiotics is […] the discipline that studies everything that can be used in order to lie.”
  33. 33. Ideological discourses tend to “narcotize” certain aspects of reality, and “blow up” others at the expense of a wider, more “truthful”, view of things.</li></li></ul><li>Negotiating between Actuality and Possibility?<br />Turner, Fauconnier: <br />Conceptual Blending (in Parable):<br />To accept the actantial role of a talking duck in a parable, cartoon, game or other fictional narrative world requires the ability to see the significance and coherence (within the possible world and subworlds offered by the given narrative framework) of specific blends of semantic and pragmatic meanings between (at least) two experiential spaces or fields, as a basis for the establishment of some degree of transworld identity<br />