200 Years of Syntax: Marty

Graffi, Giorgio 2001. 200 Years of Syntax: A critical survey. Amsterdam: John Benjamins.

An anti-Herbertian attitude is therefore what is shared by Brentano and Wundt: both reject the assumption of a substance called 'mind' and of an 'unconscious space'. (Graffi 2001: 58)
Hmm. The rejection was apparently so powerful that the study of "mind" receded to the background for a while and "unconscious space" (such as Peirce's lake of consciousness) became something like a poetic metaphor.
[...] quoting Tichener (1921[1976]:84), one would say that "Brentano's psychology is essentially a matter of argument, and that Wundt's is essentially a matter of description". In other words, Wundt is mainly interested in describing the origin and the development of our psychic pxperiences (Erlebnisse), which he conceives as process, whereas Brentano investigates their structure. (Graffi 2001: 58)
The distinction is quite similar with cultural anthropology or psychology, e.g. Tim Ingold's comparison of Bateson's processual view and Levi-Strauss's structural view.
The two fundamental features of the psychic act, according to Brentano (cf. Gilson 1955:51) are: 1) every psychic act is conscious; 2) every psychic act is directed towards an object, i.e., as Brentano says borrowing a term used within Scholasticism, it is 'intentional'. The first of these two features is ascribed to psychic acts also by Wundt (even though with totally different motivations) but the second one is peculiar to Brentano's framework. The care of defining the relationship between psychic act and its object is wholly extraneous to Wundt. (Graffi 2001: 59)
Is this difference why Brentano-inspired phenomenology is philosophy and Wundt-inspired psychology is science? I have yet to figure out what Brentano's intention consists of.
The care for 'objectuality' led Brentano to discuss also the ways in which our linguistic expressions describe the relationship between our thought and things. For Brentano, not all linguistic expressions have an autonomous meaning; that is, not all of them indicate a given object, a given 'real'. Many of them have a meaning only together with other expressions, i.e. they are 'cosignificant' (mitbedeutend). As is plain, the most typical expressions belonging to this class are conjunctions, prepositions and adverbs. According to Brentano, adjectives and nouns are also cosignificant, if they do not indicate any 'real'. (Graffi 2001: 59)
At first sight "cosignificant" sounds a lot like "context-dependent", but the issue is much more radical. That is, it's an issue of reference. Brr, objectionality.
Funke (1923:182) illustartes the problem by sketching a confrontation between Marty and Wundt. Wundt would interpret the difference between Latin amavi, French j'aimé, German ich habe geliebt (all meaning 'I loved') as instances of the opposition between synthetic vs. analytical thought. Marty, by contrast, considers them as different 'constructive inner forms'. The meaning of all such expressions is identical: what differs is their inner (and obviously their outer) linguistic form. (Graffi 2001: 62)
The examples are worth noting down in themselves. But the issue of inner form and especially "different 'constructive inner forms'" seems analogous to Jakobson's discussion of variant/invariant stuff. One could even say that they are both variants of the same invariant idea. (Damn you, Jakobson, for making these notions so applicable!)
Language is no langer treated as the most authoritative witness of thought, both individual and ethnic: rather it is thought, viewed as an autonomous and universal entity, which dictates the criteria according to which linguistic expressions are to be classified. (Graffi 2001: 62)
"Keelelised opositsioonid ise ei räägi meie arvates midagi teadvusest." (Mamardašvili & Pjatigorski [1997])
In this perspective, the distinction traced by Marty between 'autosemantic' and 'synsemantic' signs is a fundamental one. The signs of the first kind are those which "taken in isolation, express a psychic content which is communicable in itself"; the other signs do not have such a capacity (see Marty 1908:205). If natural languages were not syntactically constructed, there would be no synsemantic signs (p.532). Note that the terms 'autosemantic' and 'synsemantic' only partially match the Peripatetic notions of 'categorematic' and 'syncategorematic'. Thus, sitzt ('sits'), geht ('goes'), etc., since they are 'predicable', are categorematic, but they are not autosemantic. Only Gehender ('the one who goes'), Sitzer ('the one who sits'), er geht ('he goes'), er sitzt ('he sits'), etc., are autosemantic (Marty 1908:206). (Graffi 2001: 62)
It seems that the notion of "autosemantic signs" could actually be quite useful for the study of nonverbal communication. These would be forms of behaviour that don't need to be "clustered" together with other behaviours (or, alteratively, "considered contextually") in order to be reliable indicators of something. // It is worthwhile to remark that nonverbal communication can be asyntactical and synsemantic.
Autosemantic signs are divided into 'emotives' (exclamatory sentences, commands, questions), 'assertions' (declarative sentences) and 'suggestives of representations' (Vorstellungssuggestive), i.e. nouns (Marty 1908:476). This classification is based on Brentano's taxonomy of psychic phenomena: 'affective movements' (Gemütsbewegungen), 'judgments' (Urteile) and 'represen- [...] (Graffi 2001: 62)
Now one would only have to figure out how Marty's "emotives", Brentano's "affective movements" and Jakobsons "expressive function" interrelate (or, correlate). It is beginning to look as if I cannot avoid reading more about Brentano.
We saw that Marty argued against such a radically psychologistic view: he criticized the 'language/thought parallelism' assumption and the identification of 'inner linguistic form' with meaning. (Graffi 2001: 64)
Since I don't have any considerable context I'll have to take these bits of information as is and try to make sense of them as chance allows.
'Ethnopsychological' approaches, for their part, were a solution agreed on by few linguists to a problem which all felt as fundamental: to explain how language, which is a typically individual product, nevertheless accomplishes the task of communicating. The lingusts of the French school (see next section) solved this problem by maintaining that language was a social phenomenon. As a consequence, they overlooked its creative aspect both in its acquisition and in its usage. Other linguists, like Paul, instead restated the strictly individual character of every linguistic activity. (Graffi 2001: 65)
Oh god damn, yet another special field (ethnopsychology or psychological antropology) I feel I have to look into same day. Also, I'll note that Luhmann similarly neglects the creative aspect of language (I guess it would have complicated his theory of "social systems" too much).


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