Writing, talking, and other communication actions are complex, constructive activities. They create exchange processes that construct and co-construct universes of meaning that we call schematizations. They are inhabited by objects of discourse, by objects constructed in discursive activities. They are related to one another, are specific and are embedded in reasons and arguments domains shaped by discourse.
Universes of meaning are the expression of progressive discursive constructions built by interlocutors, rooted in situations shaped by objectives and the audiences to which they are directed. Thus, they always develop within specific communication contexts. In view of communication challenges, each interlocutor must develop his / her speech as well as other communication forms. They end up inducing reconstructions according to goals suited for the intended audience. Accepting this way of thinking about discursive activities means that interlocutors must be convinced that the intended reader, listener or viewer is capable of recognizing objects of knowledge, forms of the words, sounds and images, and subjacent pre-built socio-cultural representations. These forms and representations, by resonance, are organized as schematizations, in which reasoning shape expert and common sense arguments.
From this perspective, the activities of reading, listening to, viewing, feeling through tact, decoding, integrating information, and so forth, represent all dimensions of knowledge that are present in communication, are regarded as reconstructions made by the interlocutors. If we share this way of understanding concerning all kinds of communication forms, we also need to share the idea that there are recognizable signs capable of revealing complex discursive constructions. These signs are inferred by the participants of communication processes. They refer to, induce, and implement logical-discursive activities underlying the construction of micro-universes of representations. Natural Logic is, thus, the study of logic-discursive operations contributing to the construction of schematizations. We consider that it is essential to « dis-cover » textual clues of many kinds. In other words, the signs that, firstly, reveal and induce the operations constituting schematized universes, and secondly, the operations that govern the organization of reasoning and consequent argumentation processes in which objects of communication are embedded.
Natural Logic is, at the same time, a theory, as a representation system, and a method. It is a theory in terms of how decoding texts is an activity oriented towards highlighting explicit logic-discursive operations. In this sense, it is a representation system of the creative construction of a discursive ontology. It is also a method, because it can be applied to discourse in order to describe co-built representations, enabling deeper and rigorous understandings of communication processes. Natural Logic reconsiders the fundamental problem of discourse analysis, going beyond the stage of explaining what we understand from a given communication by exploring the reasons underlining this understanding. Present research intends to go beyond traditional text analysis to enable Natural Logic as a critical-constructivist semiotics able to deal with multiple language dimensions.
Developed under the direction and the leadership of Professor Jean-Blaise Grize at the Semiological Research Centre at the University of Neuchâtel, Natural Logic has attracted researchers interested in contributing to its development and refining, among which we find Milton N. Campos, Emilio Gattico, Cristina Grabovschi and, most importantly, Denis Miéville, who was his closest collaborator.