A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with A Theory of Meaning (Posthumanities)

A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans: with A Theory of Meaning (Posthumanities)

Jakob von Uexküll

Language: English

Pages: 248

ISBN: 0816659001

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub


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 important within posthumanist philosophy, influencing such figures as Heidegger, Merleau-Ponty, Deleuze and Guattari, and, most recently, Giorgio Agamben, who has called Uexküll "a high point of modern antihumanism."
A key document in the genealogy of posthumanist thought, A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans advances Uexküll's revolutionary belief that nonhuman perceptions must be accounted for in any biology worth its name; it also contains his arguments against natural selection as an adequate explanation for the present orientation of a species' morphology and behavior. A Theory of Meaning extends his thinking on the umwelt, while also identifying an overarching and perceptible unity in nature. Those coming to Uexküll's work for the first time will find that his concept of the umwelt holds out new possibilities for the terms of animality, life, and the whole framework of biopolitics itself.

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With a muscle which sets a n effector into motion, whether this is t h e a p p a r a t u s for locomotion or for boring. "The sensory cells, which activate sensory stimulation, and the motor cells, which activate the movement impulse, are only connectors which transmit the completely physical waves of excitation, produced \ f \ ( j X by the receptor in the nerves in D 77 \i7 r response to an external impulse, response to the muscles of the effector. The whole reflex arc works with the transfer of.

Bizarrely Kantian or too creationistic for most modern readers. Worse still, Uexkull's talk of a "master plan" may sound outright Nazi—although this may be partly the result of translation. 6 If the real world of h u m a n toes, parasitic wasps, and penguin wings suggests more a cosmic hack t h a n an allpowerful creator, the history of Faustian eugenics at the time Uexkiill was writing renews the question of.where Uexkiill, in his view of life as a unified entity, thought purposeful life was.

Encompassing p a r t s of the outside world are covered by one place. As a result of this, all the objects t h a t move away from the eye grow smaller and smaller until they vanish into one place, for the place represents the smallest spatial vessel inside of which there are no distinctions. In tactile space, the objects' growing smaller does not take place. And t h a t is the point a t which visual and tactile space come into competition. If one reaches out one's arm to 81 62 A FORAY INTO.

Sign must also come into play in order for the second functional cycle to be activated, which, through flight, brings the scallop out of proximity to its enemy and extinguishes the enemy's perception marks once and for all through this effect mark. For a long time now, it has been supposed t h a t there is a perception m a r k for form in t h e environment of the earthworm. Darwin pointed to the fact t h a t earthworms t r e a t leaves and pine needles differently according to the form of each.

Bring it to its burrow. 31 ) And certain impediments for some humans, such as the curb of a sidewalk for a blind man, a dog navigates without a second thought. So, too, as dog whistles attest, the ears of a canine perk up a t the sound of ultrasounds we miss. With regard to H 16 INTRODUCTION language, as Uexkull points out in a letter, some languages are innate, making it possible for pheasant chicks to be raised by turkey hens, whose warning cries they respond- to, but not to ordinary hens,.

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