2005 | 14 | 1(53) | 185-195
Article title

Perspicuous Normalization and Prototype Effect

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The author takes Merleau-Ponty's theory to show that the fact that we are living in the world of persistent things with constant features is a result of spontaneous normalization. There are some perceptual norms which decide on creation of typical subjective structures, and due to these structure we experience things as categorised or classified, for example like cats, dogs, trees, people, etc. Therefore Merleau-Ponty's theory can be helpful to explain the origin of the so-called prototype effect, and throw light on relation between the structures of experience and linguistic categories. Experience's orientation on optima, perception's constants, is evidenced in studies on sensory perception and also memory. Attractive, creating a class character of the constants (prototypes) has been emphasised. The prototypes created in the immediate experience create an intentional space, in which each interpretation takes place; they give a measure of all we perceive, see, create, think, etc. Dynamical character of the orientation on prototype makes a basis of the assumption: any actual prototype realisation is only relative, relational, and asymptotic, and linguistic categories (the conceptual structure of our mind) based on prototypes are relative also. The author emphasis that some more detail analyses would question a need of sharp distinction of linguistic and extra-linguistic knowledge, because regularities of categorisation processes, manifested in the meanings of terms denoting natural kinds, are the regularities of the perceptual processes and language. In this way the role of language as one and only determinant of the structure of experience may be limited.
  • M. Maciejczak, Uniwersytet Kardynala Stefana Wyszynskiego, Katedra Teorii Poznania, ul. Dewajtis5, 01-815 Warszawa, Poland
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