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From the 1960s on, and after the development of the field of semiotics, a number of fundamental matters converged into the so-called class of “iconic” signs, ruled by phenomena of “analogy”, “similarity” or “resemblance”. The iconicity debate thus left the mere philosophical grounds to gradually turn into a real interdisciplinary discussion, involving empirical analyses and skills as well as more and more complex theoretical models. In the first part of the paper we sketch the story of the main steps of the iconism quarrel from the birth of semiotics, so as to highlight some confusions and deadlocks which may have obstructed it and should be ridden of in a newly grounded approach. Our second part gets back to Peirce's original approach of the class of icons, and argues for the necessary preservation of the concept of similarity. We try to show its main strengths as well as its quandary, and, once the trichotomy of signs understood in the more general framework of semiotics as a cognitive activity, its possible interpretations. The last part of the paper compares such a systemic approach of iconicity with some current developments in cognitive research, in order to better integrate semiotic and cognitive studies.
Pour citer cet article :Morgagni Simone, Chevalier Jean-Marie (2012/2). Iconicity and Resemblance: Semiotic Roots for Cognition. In Morgagni Simone (Eds), Semiotics and Thought, Intellectica, 58, (pp.91-172), DOI: 10.3406/intel.2012.1102.