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A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans & A Theory of Meaning

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  84 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
Is the tick a machine or a machine operator? Is it a mere object or a subject? With these questions, the pioneering biophilosopher Jakob von Uexküll embarks on a remarkable exploration of the unique social and physical environments that individual animal species, as well as individuals within species, build and inhabit. This concept of the umwelt has become enormously impo ...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published November 1st 2010 by Univ Of Minnesota Press (first published January 1st 1934)
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Billie Pritchett
Nov 21, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: philosophy, biology, media
This is a weird book, which is, I suppose, two books put into one volume, one being A Foray Into the Worlds of Animals and Humans and A Theory of Meaning. Jakob Johann von Uexkull was a biologist in the late 19th-early 20th century who made a couple of major contributions to the field. But in addition to his contribution, he also had some views that would not be accepted in mainstream biology or mainstream science today.

One of his major contributions was his concept Umwelt. Uexkull went to great
Tim Mclaughlin
Oct 18, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: those interested in phenomenology in general or Jonas in particular
Recommended to Tim by: University professor
This is truly one of the most unusual books that I have ever read. After reading, I'm left with one overall impression: "quirky."

I'm presently taking a course broadly focused on the "phenomenology of life," and this was required reading. Von Uexküll had a clear influence on several phenomenologists, most explicitly Heidegger (cf. The Fundamental Concepts of Metaphysics), Merleau-Ponty (cf. The Structure of Behaviour and the "Nature" Course Notes), and Hans Jonas (The Phenomenon of Life). Of the
Feb 05, 2015 rated it liked it
A unique book about animals bumping around in meaning-bubbles.

"At least for me, no imperfection was apparent even in the simplest animals. As far as I could judge, the material available for construction was always used in the best possible way. Every animal had its own life stage, populated with all the things and all the fellow players that were meaningful for its life. The characteristics of the animal and those of its fellow players harmonized everywhere with assurance, like the points and c
Barış Özgür
Nov 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
1933. nasyonel sosyalizm dedikleri makinanın aslında neyin önünü almak üzere kurulup işletildiğinin nişanesi. makinalaşmaya karşı bir makina. makinalaşmaya karşı ne varsa makinalaşmaya karşı makinalaştıran bir makina. çok fazla makina, daha fazla makina, hep makina. makinalaşmamasızlık. deus ex machina'dan lâ makina illâ makina. gürültüden deus arada kaynıyor tabii. gürültüden önceki son şarkılardan.
Feb 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Read a few chapters for a class, plan on finishing it as soon as I get the time. Uexküll has a hatred for Darwin based on a misinterpretation of his work. He posits a theory far weaker than Darwin's of natural selection. That said, he writes beautifully and the analogies he makes in this book to illustrate his points are truly exhilarating
Oct 29, 2013 rated it really liked it
Surprisingly easy to read and understand for a profane (as I am), this book builds interesting bridges with philosophy, especially in relocating the animal as a conscious subject, capable of subjective decisions, rather than a primitive and instinctive creature.
Feb 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: philosophers, fans of Gilles Deleuze, ecologists
Shelves: natura-naturans
The creator of biosemiotic approach to nature leads you to the wonderful world of animals. (First) Jakob von Uexkull (1864-1944) offers a fresh perspective and treats animals as subjects, philosophical subjects, not objects. Revolutionary!
Yannic Meursault
Brillanter und leicht verständlicher Versuch den Anthropomorphismus aufzulösen. Nicht nur biologisch, sondern auch anthropologisch und philosophisch interessant.
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Jakob Johann Baron von Uexküll was a German biologist.

He was the father of Thure von Uexküll, M.D. and grandfather of Jakob von Uexküll.
More about Jakob Johann von Uexküll...

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“but now we see that the subject controls the time of its environment. While we said before, "There can be no living subject without time," now we shall have to say, "Without a living subject, there can be no time.” 1 likes
“We ask a simple question: Is the tick a machine or a machine operator? Is it a mere object or a subject?” 1 likes
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