Representations and Cognitive Evolution: Towards an Anthropology of Pictorial Representation
Autor: Szuszanna Kondor
[erschienen in: Homo pictor und animal symbolicum (Themenheft zu IMAGE 14)]
In this paper I will argue for the possibility of a kind of evolutionary anthropology of images. I will rely on the notion of cognitive evolution as Merlin Donald construed it, on the one hand, and on the enactive account of vision, on the other hand. The two approaches can be seen as divergent, since the Donaldian theory is based on the evolution of representational capabilities, while enactivism (both conservative and radical wings) challenges the necessity of mental representation, at least in certain cases. But, as I suggest, this divergence does not lead to a contradiction, rather both illuminate the importance of the extra-cranial context, and the importance of the representational techniques that make ideas, fears, etc. manifest. I will begin by outlining the special character of the image construed as the picture of something; then I will review the necessary cognitive capabilities of perception and depiction, and finally account for the role of pictorial representation in cognitive evolution.