Connecting visual and verbal space: Preliminary considerations concerning the concept 'mental image'
In Miriam Bras, Michel Aurnague, Mario Borillo & Andree Borillo (eds.), Semantics of Time, Space, and Movement. IRIT (1994)
AI research concerning the connection between seeing and speaking mainly employs what is called reference semantics. Within this framework, the notion of `mental image' is often used while explaining how somebody not situated in the same perceptual context is able to anchor his understanding of an utterance describing the scene visually perceived by the speaker. We give a foundation for considering mental images as propositions with respect to a certain field of concepts: these fields have to provide a syntactically dense set of concepts distinguishing locations. The use of such propositions in the reference semantic explanations of understanding utterances about visually perceived scenes is motivated by applying Kant's idea of the introduction of new types of objects: we conceive spatial relations as relations only applicable to sortal objects, i.e., individuated objects which are synthetically introduced on a syntactically dense field providing their potential locations. The concept `mental image' which results from these preliminary studies is applied to two current projects in AI, one dealing with the semantics of particular spatial prepositions, and the other more generally concerned with the logic of the connection between visual and verbal space.
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