On the modes, amodality, supramodality and plurimodality

I posted this initially in another thread highlighting my use of the term amodal in the theurism 'amodal hier(an)archical synplexity.' In trying to justify the phrase I starting looking into the meaning of the word amodal. I meant it in the sense not of there being no embodied modes involved in the process but rather, given the other words in the phrase, a synergy of bodily modes organized by none in particular. And not in the sort of hierarchy that subsumes the body in higher abstract functions but more of a dynamic structural coupling grounded in Derrida's non-concept of differance.

It turns out to be a highly specific thing in neuroscientific literature. This article discusses both modal and amodal representations with some recommendations. The embodied thesis claims that sensorimotor modes are fundamental in forming more abstract concepts and representations. It is critical of the amodal representation thesis, the pure expression of the latter claiming representational meaning is divorced from bodily experience.

Given the neuroscientific research to date, there is evidence for both systems, so the authors propose a hybrid. There is an amodal conceptual hub located in the anterior temporal cortex which integrates the information from the modal sensorimotor areas. Working together they create a supramodal representational space. This is much more akin to what I intuited by my using amodal in the phrase.

From what I gathered amodal just means that conceptual representation doesn't require sensorimotor 'modal' input. The amodal conceptual hub is what does the integration of the modal input, and according to the article, together they form a supramodel 'space.' Hence its a hybrid theory between the two. By the way, this definition supramodal was more in line with what I was trying to convey by amodal in the first place.

There's also amodal perception, a related notion. It's when one sees just a part of an object but can fill in rest of it in their imagination. It seems it's the amodal hub that does this. E.g., from this source:

"The spatial structure that is our amodal experience of the world is the common ground, or lingua franca, that unites all sensory experience in a modality-independent structural representation of the world, and that amodal structure represents our perceptual and cognitive understanding of the world."


Btw, that last link has several chapters before and after that one with links to them. This looks to be an invaluable resource on this and related topics. E.g., Ch. 1 is on Lakoff & Nunez's work on image schema in math, Ch.2 on image schemas and so on. Which is exactly what I'm looking for, how all this relates.

My first thought in using the term 'amodal' was previous discussion of Latour. This is where I got the tie of amodality with differance (aka Khora). In the opening post of the Latour thread he was using Soriau to discuss how the separate modes are enchained. What is required is a "second order" mode called the plurimodal, "which is defined this time by the movement and the variation or modulation of one mode into another."  He goes on: "But now it is variation itself that has to be considered equivalent to true beings. Alterity alters yet another degree. Difference differs even more differently."

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See this new thread which expands on the above.

Also see this post and the one following relevant to this thread.

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