Doctoral defence: Tuuli Pern “Affective-imaginative modelling in semiotic context: A Vichian perspective”

On 18 December at 12:00, Tuuli Pern will defend her doctoral Thesis “Affective-imaginative modelling in semiotic context: A Vichian perspective” for obtaining the degree of Doctor of Philosophy (in Semiotics and Culture Studies).

Professor Kalevi Kull, PhD, University of Tartu    

Professor Jaan Valsiner, University of Aalborg (Denmark)  
Professor Luca Tateo, University of Oslo (Norway)


The doctoral thesis explores the work of the notable Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico in the light of contemporary semiotics. Vico was one of the first thinkers to describe processes that we now recognise as the concept of embodied mind: he emphasised that human thinking is not solely rational but also involves sensory perception, human passions, and imagination, all of which are inherently embodied. In addition to Vico’s connection to semiotics, this thesis also illustrates his relationships with contemporary cultural psychology. A concept central to Vico’s works is imagination, which serves as the foundation for making sense of the world. In semiotics, the capacity for human sensemaking can be described, among other concepts, through two essential notions: modelling or the creation of models, and the umwelt or the subjective world of the organism. The doctoral thesis employs these concepts crucial for Tartu semiotics to demonstrate how imagination, as Vico conceives it, provides individuals with the flexibility to attribute new meanings to their experiences. The models created through imagination are motivated by subjective embodied experiences and affective reactions. The doctoral thesis introduces the concept of affective-imaginative modelling to describe the creation of such models. It also places the Vichian concept of imagination into a broader semiotic context, specifically focusing on the semiotic tradition of Tartu.

The defence can also be viewed in Zoom (Meeting ID: 943 8678 7896, Passcode: 897583).

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