According to the influential psychologist Paul Ekman, emotions have a dis-tinctive and universal facial expression, whose functioning is essentially grounded in biology, and is only marginally influenced by culture. But then, as I will discuss in the present essay, if we accept Eco’s construal of the boundaries of semiotics, (natural) facial expressions of emotions so as described by Ekman would fall below the prop-er domain of semiotics. Two non-mutually exclusive theoretical alternatives can be adopted to resist this aporia. The first move consists in lowering the lower threshold of semiotics, thus enlarging the scope of the discipline beyond the sole domain of culture. The second move consists in taking into account alternative psychological accounts of facial expressions according to which either they express an emotional state that is both biologically-and culturally-rooted, or they are best interpreted as strategic communicative actions rather than as emotion.

Le espressioni facciali e i confini della semiotica

Viola M.
First
2021

Abstract

According to the influential psychologist Paul Ekman, emotions have a dis-tinctive and universal facial expression, whose functioning is essentially grounded in biology, and is only marginally influenced by culture. But then, as I will discuss in the present essay, if we accept Eco’s construal of the boundaries of semiotics, (natural) facial expressions of emotions so as described by Ekman would fall below the prop-er domain of semiotics. Two non-mutually exclusive theoretical alternatives can be adopted to resist this aporia. The first move consists in lowering the lower threshold of semiotics, thus enlarging the scope of the discipline beyond the sole domain of culture. The second move consists in taking into account alternative psychological accounts of facial expressions according to which either they express an emotional state that is both biologically-and culturally-rooted, or they are best interpreted as strategic communicative actions rather than as emotion.
2021
37-38
51
67
Emotion; Facial Expression of Emotion; Lower Threshold of Semiotics; Psychology
Viola M.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/1824242
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