Diagrams and gestures: two key terms, two theoretical galaxies. Accounting for them has been, over the last 50 years, the aim of significant portions of the work conduction in philosophy (Deleuze, Foucault, Merleau-Ponty), mathematics (Grothendieck, Lawvere, Thom), semiotics (Peirce), and theoretical linguistics (Culioli, Langacker, Pottier). In particular, Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology has represented an excellent framework for developing and evaluating the theoretical status of such concepts: On the one hand, the concept of gesture has been framed as the body’s expressive potentialities, with particular reference to the language of human activity (e.g. the concept of “linguistic gesture”); on the other hand, the concept of diagram has been developed so as to reframe the concept of the imaginary in terms of the deep and hidden possibilities of real-world things.
For as much as several other disciplines have engaged in a fine-grained analysis of the nexus between such concepts, it is possible to obtain a precise cartography of the main issues at stake. Consider, for instance, semiotics, a research field in which outstanding scholars have conducted in–depth examinations of the cognitive advantages of diagrammatical reasoning and of diagrammatic manipulation, in both the concrete sense and in the abstract or imaginative sense, in order to test such notions applied to scientific discourse and to experiments with images in science. In this regard, we may consider the role played by diagrams in a variety of practices, including the use of diagrams in mathematical thinking and modeling, the use of infographics in the analysis of economic trends, the role of diagrams in computer-based analyses of population dynamics, or the diagrammatization of experience in the experimental sciences (biology, astrophysics) – to name but a few.
In more recent years, the notion of “diagrammatic gesture” has generated considerable debates in fields such as aesthetics and the epistemology of modeling. The main themes addressed within such theoretical frameworks have been the following:
- 1. The diagrammatic gesture as a bodily movement in which it is possible to recognize a historical stratification of various forms of knowledge (mathematics, linguistics, morphology, and so on);
- 2. The diagrammatic gesture as a regulated practice within a discipline of the body – such discipline consisting, in turn, of actions (or of praxeologies) constrained by the aforementioned forms of knowledge;
- 3. The diagrammatic gesture as a trigger of virtualities, insofar as such virtualities are unpredictable future movements.
The analysis of each of these themes has played a pivotal role in the development of several research programs, including the foundation of an epistemology of the mathematical gesture, the construction of manipulation strategies in fine arts projects, and even the hypothesis of a diagrammatology of enunciative forms in linguistics.
Furthermore, many results obtained in such fields of research have proved to be consistent with embodied and enactive approaches to cognition. Such is the case, for instance, of some analyses conducted in the field of the epistemology of the mathematical gesture. This framework has highlighted the Metodo. International Studies in Phenomenology and Philosophy possibility for retrieving the gestures that have been internalized within diagrammatic manipulations and, on the other hand, the possibility for accessing the way in which mathematical experiments constrain such gestures.
Given this state of affairs, this upcoming thematic issue of Metodo intends to promote studies concerning the heuristic role played by the concept of diagrammatic gesture in the domains of the mathematical sciences and of the humanities.
In particular, the editors would welcome contributions related to the following topics:
- Diagrammatic gestures in fine arts
- Diagrammatic gestures in linguistics
- Diagrammatic gestures in semiotics
- Diagrammatic gestures in cognitive science
- Diagrammatic gestures in mathematics and physics
Confirmed contributors: Charles Alunni, Noëlle Batt, Fabien Ferri, Bruno Leclercq, Tiziana Migliore, Marco Panza, Joao Queiroz,Fernando Zalamea
Abstracts and papers must be submitted to the following e-mail addresses: firstname.lastname@example.org Submitted papers (in English, German, French, Spanish or Italian) must follow the basic principles of Metodo and follow the Author Guidelines. The editorial board highly suggests all authors writing in a non-native language to have their texts proofread before submission. All contributions will undergo anonymous peer-review by two referees. The final deadline for submissions will be December 31, 2020.