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1. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Kalevi Kull, Torsten Rüting From the editors of this volume
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2. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
John Deely Semiotics and Jakob von Uexküll’s concept of umwelt
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Semiotics, the body of knowledge developed by study of the action of signs, like every living discipline, depends upon a community of inquirers united through the recognition and adoption of basic principles which establish the ground-concepts and guide-concepts for their ongoing research. These principles, in turn, come to be recognized in the first place through the work of pioneers in the field, workers commonly unrecognized or not fully recognized in their own day, but whose work later becomes foundational as the community of inquirers matures and ‘lays claim to its own’. As semiotics has matured, the work of Jakob von Uexküll in establishing the concept of Umwelt has proven to be just such a pioneering accomplishment for the doctrine of signs, and in this paper I trace out some of the lines of development according to which Uexküll’s concept came to occupy its central place in semiotics today.
3. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
John Deely Semiootika ja Jakob von Uexkülli omailma mõiste. Kokkuvõte
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4. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
John Deely Семиотика и понятие умвельта Якоба фон Юкскюлла. Резюме
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5. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Torsten Rüting History and significance of Jakob von Uexküll and of his institute in Hamburg
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This paper aims to give an insight into developments that contributed to the significance of the work of Jakob von Uexküll and stresses the importance of his occupation in Hamburg. A biographical survey pays tribute to the implication of the historical pretext and context. A scientific survey describes findings and ideas of Uexküll that proved important for the development of biology and the cognitive sciences. In addition, this paper sets out to reject the common notion that Uexküll’s concepts were ideas of a purely theoretical and philosophical character. It confirms that in fact the central aims of his work were to sustain the empirical method in biology and to give biology a sound epistemological basis. Some examples show how historical and theoretical developments converged at Uexküll’s Institut für Umweltforschung in Hamburg and ignited a productive research activity.
6. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Torsten Rüting Jakob von Uexküll ja ta instituut Hamburgis: Ajalugu ja tähtsus. Kokkuvõte
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7. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Torsten Rüting Якоб фон Юкскюлл и его институт в Гамбурге: история и значение. Резюме
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8. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Jesper Hoffmeyer Uexküllian Planmässigkeit
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In strict opposition to the prevailing positivist conception of nature as senseless and deprived of meaning Jakob von Uexküll claimed that a certain planmässigkeit was operative in nature. This idea however might be taken to mean that organic evolution is not itself a creative process but a gradual, if majestic, unfolding of Nature's own master plan. Such an idea would threaten to restore determinism in the center of biological theory, and this would seriously contradict the vision of biosemiotics shared by most of its proponents. It lies at the heart of biosemiotics and of Peircean cosmological philosophy that indeterminacy is primary, that “habit taking” or interpretation are real processes in the world, and therefore that belief in the law of necessity is unfounded. It is suggested that Uexküllian planmässigkeit is in fact reconcilable with a modern non-deterministic understanding. In a certain sense the Umwelten of animals have indeed developed in accordance to a natural planmässigkeit, but this is a plan that incessantly traps life in certain strategic choices and in the same time diversifies the dimensionality of options for dealing with these choices, i. e. “the adjacent possible” in the terms of Stuart Kauffman.
9. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Jesper Hoffmeyer «Плановость» Юкскюлла. Резюме
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10. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Jesper Hoffmeyer Uexkülli ‘plaanipärasus’. Kokkuvõte
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11. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Kalevi Kull Uexküll and the post-modern evolutionism
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Jakob von Uexküll’s evolutionary views are described and analysed in the context of changes in semiotic and biological thinking at the end of Modern age. As different from the late Modernist biology, a general feature of Post-Modern interpretation of living systems is that an evolutionary explanation has rather secondary importance, it is not obligatory for an understanding of adaptation. Adaptation as correspondence to environment is a communicative, hence a semiotic phenomenon.
12. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Kalevi Kull Uexküll ja uusajajärgne evolutsionism. Kokkuvõte
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13. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Kalevi Kull Юкскюлл и постмодернистский эволюционизм. Резюме
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14. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Han-liang Chang Semiotician or hermeneutician? Jakob von Uexküll revisited
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Like other sciences, biosemiotics also has its time-honoured archive, consisting, among other things, of writings by those who have been invented and revered as ancestors of the discipline. One such example is Jakob von Uexküll who has been hailed as a precursor of semiotics, developing his theory of “sign” and “meaning” independently of Saussure and Peirce. The juxtaposition of “sign” and “meaning” is revelatory because one can equally legitimately claim Uexküll as a hermeneutician in the same way as others having claimed him as a semiotician. Such a novel temptation can be justified by Uexküll’s prolonged obsession with Sinn and Bedeutung since his first book in 1909. This paper attempts to reconstruct the immediate intellectual horizon of Uexküll’s historicity, a discursive space traversed by his contemporaries Frege and Husserl, in order to see how Uexküll’s discussions of Zeichen and Gegenstand, Sinn and Bedeutung, were informedby other philosophers of language, and to establish Uexküll as a phenomenological hermeneutician in the tradition of Husserl, Heidegger and Gadamer. To forestall and counter possible criticism that hermeneutics is primarily concerned with textual interpretation, while Uexküll is at most an interpreter of animal life, the paper will discuss his unfinished parody of the Platonic dialogue Meno, which is entitled Die ewige Frage: Biologische Variationen über einen platonischen Dialog (1943). It is through such textual practice that one witnesses the emergence of an Uexküll who embodies at once the addressee exercising his understanding of ancient texts as well as the second addresser recoding his explanation to another group of targeted addressees. This textual practice already goes beyond the confines of biology and in fact involves the linguistic pragmatics of rhetoric and speech act.
15. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Han-liang Chang Семиотик или герменевтик: Якоб фон Юкскюлл. Резюме
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16. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Han-liang Chang Semiootik või hermeneutik?: Jakob von Uexküll, taas. Kokkuvõte
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17. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Tobias Cheung From protoplasm to Umwelt: Plans and the technique of nature in Jakob von Uexküll’s theory of organismic order
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For Uexküll, biology is the science of the organization of living beings. In the context of Entwicklungsmechanik, he refers to Driesch’s and Spemann’s experiments on the development of embryonic germ cells to prove that self-differentiating processes constitute organisms as natural objects. Uexküll focuses on the theory of such self-differentiating processes or organizations. The notion of organization implies for him a “technique of nature” that is capable of structuring organic and inorganic material according to plans and rules. These plans and rules are part of the overall order of the world. As preformed sign systems or codes, they determine and regulate the development and existence of individual animal subjects in their specific Umwelten.
18. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Tobias Cheung От протоплазмы до умвельта: планы и природная техника в теории порядка организмов Якоба фон Юкскюлла. Резюме
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19. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Tobias Cheung Protoplasmast omailmani: Plaanid ja loodustehnika Jakob von Uexkülli organismilise korra teoorias. Kokkuvõte
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20. Sign Systems Studies: Volume > 32 > Issue: 1/2
Mathias Gutmann Uexküll and contemporary biology: Some methodological reconsiderations
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Philosophical anthropology and philosophical biology were both very powerful and influential movements in the German academic discussion of the early 20th century. Starting with a similar conceptual background (particularly with reference to Hans Driesch’s bio-Aristotelism) they aimed at a synthetic philosophy of nature, which was supposed to include human nature into the realm of a monist description of nature itself. Within this field of biophilosophical reasoning, Jakob von Uexküll’s theory of organism and his theoretical biology hold a central place. In this paper, Uexküll’s theoretical biology is reconsidered as a resumption and reformulation of a theory of knowledge from a “Kantian” provenience. Its specific structure as a generalized theory of knowledge is reconstructed and the pitfalls of a biological interpretation of the condition of the possibility of knowledge are outlined. The theory of organism is reconstructed as a centrepiece of Uexküll’sapproach. The last section of this paper presents a proposal of engineering morphology which allows the full application of Uexküll’s insights into the relativity of organismic constitution. The usefulness of functional modeling for evolutionary reconstructions on the basis of a theory of organism of uexküllian type and its relevance for biological research is evaluated.