Before trying to answer to the first question I have decided to think over the general meaning of representation. The notion of representation is generally used to express: - the act to express something through signs, figures and images; - the mental process to create an imago of reality; - the storage and the recalling of the memories of things seen. What does it mean? After this consideration, let’s try to understand what is a representation for the CTM! In order to achieve this goal I have made a research on the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy and I have found out that the notion of representation is a basic concept of the CTM, according to which the mind literally is a kind of computer and: cognitive states and processes are constituted by the occurrence, transformation and storage (in the mind/brain) of information-bearing structures (representations) of one kind or another. As such, a representation is “an object with semantic properties: content, reference, truth-conditions, truth-value, etc”.
Now that I have learn what is a representation for the CTM, let’s see what is a representation in semiotics and linguistics. First of all, I would like to compare the previous notion of representation with the notion of sign by Charles Sanders Peirce (1839–1914): He argued that, since all thought takes time, “all thought is in signs” and sign processes (semiosis) and that the three irreducible elements of semiosis are: the sign (or representamen), the (semiotic) object, the sign’s subject matter, which the sign represents and which can be anything thinkable—quality, brute fact, or law—and even fictional, and the interpretant (or interpretant sign), which is the sign’s meaning or ramification as formed into a kind of effect that is a further sign, for example, a translation. Even when a sign represents by a resemblance or factual connection independent of interpretation, the sign is a sign because it is at least potentially interpretable. A sign depends on its object in a way that enables (and, in a sense, determines) interpretation, forming an interpretant which, in turn, depends on the sign and on the object as the sign depends on the object and is thus a further sign, enabling and determining still further interpretation, further interpretants. That essentially triadic process is logically structured to perpetuate itself and is what defines sign, object, and interpretant.An object either (1) is immediate to a sign, and that is the object as represented in the sign, or (2) is a dynamic object, which is the object as it really is, on which the immediate object is founded. […]Peirce said that, in order to know to what a sign refers, the mind needs some sort of experience of the sign’s object, experience outside, and collateral to, the given sign or sign system. In that context he spoke of collateral experience, collateral observation, collateral acquaintance, all in much the same terms. […]Peirce concluded that there are three ways in which signs represent objects. They underlie his most widely known trichotomy of signs: 1. ICON-This term refers to signs that represent by resemblance, such as portraits and some paintings though they can also be natural or mathematical. Iconicity is independent of actual connection, even if it occurs because of actual connection. An icon is or embodies a possibility, insofar as its object need not actually exist. 2. INDEX- Peirce explains that an index is a sign that compels attention through a connection of fact, often through cause and effect. 3. SYMBOL- Peirce treats symbols as habits or norms of reference and meaning. Symbols can be natural, cultural, or abstract and logical. They depend as signs on how they will be interpreted, and lack or have lost dependence on resemblance and actual, indexical connection to their represented objects, though the symbol’s individual embodiment is an index to your experience of its represented object.