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Licensed Unlicensed Requires Authentication Published by De Gruyter Mouton September 1, 2011

The Occurrence of Thinking and Symbols

Xiaoying Dong
From the journal Chinese Semiotic Studies


This paper is part of Chapter One "The Origin of Art and Artistic Thinking" in the book An Introduction to the Logic of NarrativeArt. But before discussing artistic thinking, we find it necessary to investigate the origin of thinking and its relation with symbols. Since it's impossible for us to go back to the ancient times, what we can do is to examine the occurrence of thinking and symbols and their relation by means of studying babies' and aborigines' thinking methods and animals' cognition of symbols. The developmental process of thinking proves that thinking is undoubtedly prior to each conscious action. It's not the case that labor creates human beings or language, but that labor, language and writing mark the developmental level of thinking. It also proves that the two-way motion ("concrete to abstract ←→ abstract to concrete") of thinking occurs at all times. Human modes of thinking experience a gradual evolutionary process from primitive thinking to mythological thinking and then to abstract thinking. And mythological thinking is retained in artistic creation and becomes various figures of speech which are still in use now.

Published Online: 2011-9-1
Published in Print: 2011-9-1

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