Cognitive Semiotics Seminar: "The Origins of Money: A Motivation & Sedimentation Model (MSM) Analysis" (Todd Oakley, Case Western Reserve University)
We are happy to have this guest seminar, given from Cleveland, USA by Prof. Todd Oakley, who among other things has been the President of the International Association for Cognitive Semiotics. In his recent book "Rhetorical Minds", Todd delves into many cognitive semiotic topics, including money, see: https://www.berghahnbooks.com/title/OakleyRhetorical In his CogSem presentation, he has promised to combine his own theoretical framework with that of MSM, which we have been developing in Lund over the past years. All are warmly on zoom, with cameras turned on at the beginning for introductions! NOTE: Tuseday, and not the usual Thursday
Money is arguably the most puzzling semiotic system, and a conspicuous test case for the Motivation & Sedimentation Model (MSM) model of meaning (e.g. Zlatev, Jacobsson & Paju 2021). On the one hand, monetary systems exemplify a pan-human (nearly universal) system of valuation, the origins of which remain murky. On the other hand, money is deeply conventional, implying layers of sedimentation. A pooling of resources from archeology, anthropology, distributed cognition, history, and semiotics can help understand the relevant dynamics of processes of motivation and sedimentation. A first step is to account for the transition from the Embodied level to the institution of the Sedimented level. This is addressed by applying the study of the anthropologist Mary Douglas (1986) on how pan-human analogy is a principal method by which institutional formations gain legitimacy, largely through interactions on the Situational level.
The presentation proceeds to examine the establishment of sedimented norms associated with the
meaning of “precious metals” among the archaic Greek aristocracy as the basis for coinage among the larger polis in post-Homeric Greece, with the fusion of coinage and citizenry. This history provides the necessary historical and archeological background for explicating money as systems of credit and debt that drive a broad range of monetary phenomena throughout history, a few examples of which will be discussed in the talk.
Douglas, M. (1986). How institutions think. Syracuse, NY: Syracuse University Press.
Zlatev, J., Jacobsson, G., & Paju, L. (2021) Desiderata for metaphor theory, the Motivation & Sedimentation Model and motion-emotion metaphoremes In A. S. d. Silva (ed.), Figurative language: Intersubjectivity and usage. Amsterdam: Benjamins, 41-74