How do brain signals interface with signs in language and thoughts in our minds? This trilogy of books explores the many ways in which brain and sign activities intersect, using insights from neuropsychology, semiotics, and philosophy.
While The 3-D Mind 1 started the trilogy on the lateral plane (right and left hemispheres), The Corpus and the Cortex looks at brain and sign processing from an axial, or vertical, perspective, with an emphasis on neural projections that divide and connect the neocortex and the lower emotional system. It is on this plane that the mind draws lines between right and wrong, pleasure and pain, the practical and the impractical, the lawful and the lawless. The vertical axis also generates variations in levels of attention, ranging from the full awareness of "higher mental faculties" to the inhibitions of hyperpolarization and the autonomic impulses of lower brain and body activity. Signs and synapse are thus constantly wrapped in the foldings of judgments, emotions, and impulses of all kinds.
Chevalier shows how the attentions and inhibitions of affect and norm are best understood at the crossroads of several disciplines, including neuropsychology, semiotics, and philosophy. He delves into these linkages, with an emphasis on the reciprocal concessions between the pleasure principle and the teachings of normative language (moral, rational). These mutual allowances of sentiment and judgment go far beyond cognitive models of the mind. They also bridge the Freudian and Kantian gap between self-enjoyment and morality. Far from being constantly in struggle, The Corpus and the Cortex shows that norms and infractions are the warps and wefts of a single "neurosemiotic" fabric. Symbolic analyses illustrating these intriguing manifestations of brain, language, and culture range from personal anecdotes to cultural identity rhetoric, animal farm imagery, shoe fetishism, and body piercing. The 3-D Mind 2 presents these analyses against the background of theories and debates concerning concepts of identity construction, metaphor, rhetoric, simulation, consciousness, morality, and eroticism.