A semiotic approach to blind wayfinding: some primary conceptual standpoints
Researchers from a wide variety of disciplines, such as philosophy, art, education or psychology, have over the years sustained the idea that blind persons are incapable or nearly incapable of formulating complex mental diagrammatic representations, which are schema based on the similarities found within internal logical relations between sign and object. Contrary to this widely accepted opinion, we will present an alternative approach in this paper: Our main idea is that blind and visually impaired people relying upon tact as a main knowledge source are capable of diagrammatic reasoning very well, but use a different method for this purpose, namely the method of inductive reasoning. Such method can effectively provide the mind with the data necessary to the elaboration of mental maps. Therefore, wayfinding as a semiotic process in which a route is planned and executed from marks or navigation indexes, is also enabled by tact.