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The Artful MindCognitive Science and the Riddle of Human Creativity$
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Mark Turner

Print publication date: 2006

Print ISBN-13: 9780195306361

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306361.001.0001

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Form and Meaning in Art

Form and Meaning in Art

Chapter:
(p.171) 9 Form and Meaning in Art
Source:
The Artful Mind
Author(s):

Per Aage Brandt

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195306361.003.0009

The theory of form in art presented in this chapter rests on the Cog Hypothesis: There are neural structures in the sensory-motor system that are “secondary” in the sense that they are connected neurally to “primary” neural ensembles that are more directly involved in either perception or movement. An obvious example would be premotor cortical structures that carry out highly structured complex motor actions via connections to the primary motor cortex, which controls simple actions. When the premotor-to-motor connections are inhibited, the secondary premotor circuitry can function as a “cog”—it can still compute complex patterns that permit inferences and can evolve over time. Such patterns can structure what we see as form in art. Many kinds of cogs have been hypothesized and each type corresponds to an aspect of form. Rudolf Arnheim (1969), in Visual Thinking, argues that form is not just form; metaphors apply to forms to give meaning. Form is therefore a vehicle for inference, and the content of the inference depends on the metaphor.

Keywords:   Rudolf Arnheim, art, form, Cog Hypothesis, cogs, neural structures, perception, movement, metaphor, inference

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