Submit to Biosemiotics?

Thursday, 31 July 2008

´Umwelt transition - Uexküll and environmental change´

Just finished the second, after all likelihood final draft of ´Umwelt transition. Uexküll and environmental change´. 28 pages manuscript.


What role does environmental change play within Jakob von Uexküll's thought? And what role can it play, within a up-to-date Uexküllian framework? Admittedly, in hindsight it appears that the Umwelt theory suffers from its reliance on Uexküll's false premise that the environment (including its mixture of species) is generally stable. In this article, the Umwelt theory of Uexküll is reviewed in light of modern findings related to environmental change, especially from macroevolution and anthropology. Uexküll's thought is interpreted as a distinctive theory of phenomenology - an 'Uexküllian phenomenology', characterized by an assumption of the (in the realm of life) universal existence of a genuine first person perspective, i.e., of experienced worlds. It is suggested that acknowledging this distinctiveness is critical for eco-phenomenology as well as for biosemiotics; the latter of which can only thus thrive as a true 'semiotics of being', rather than a mere 'semiotics of functioning'. The ecological crisis is interpreted as an ontological crisis with historical roots in humankind's domestication of animals and plants, which can be taken as archetypical for our attempted planet-scale taming of the wild. In addition to domestication, a 'semiotics of economy', or 'semiotic economy', treating the economy as an interface between culture and nature, is suggested as a prioritized subject for bio- and eco-semiotic research. Furthermore, the importance of 'Umwelt mapping', i.e., the drawing of a relational map of nature, for conservation efforts is stressed.


From 'the balance of nature' to 'environmental change'
On the forms of life
On the niche of life
Uexküllian phenomenology - a 'semiotics of being'


The virtuality of contemporary life
The ontological crisis
The wild and the tame
The aftermath

Friday, 11 July 2008

Seminar on Peircean habits

I will attend - though (due to late information) unfortunately not present at - the IV Advanced Seminar on Peirce's Philosophy and Semiotics, arranged in São Paulo September 4-5th this autumn accompanying the 11. Jornada do Centro Internacional de Estudos Peirceanos (CIEP), at PUC-SP, the catholic university of São Paulo.

Among the (more or less) foreign guests are Mats Bergman, Helsinki ('Improving our habits') and Winfried Nöth (Kassel, Germany/São Paulo - 'Habit and the symbol'). Lucia Santaella will not be presenting, but will open one of the sessions, with half an hour at her disposal.

Biosemiosis - the blog

I have joined the blog Biosemiosis, administered by Claus Emmeche and Marcello Barbieri, as one of its authors. The registration of me and many others follows an email debate that has been going on for the last few days about pansemiotics and the semiotic status of phenomena outside of the realm of the living - as it has become clear that there is a need for a forum for regular discussions within the biosemiotic community.

Contributors by now includes

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Academic texts at Scribd

My page at has been updated with several texts, including the following academic ones:
- 'Jakob von Uexküll og øyets verden' (in Norwegian - 'Jakob von Uexküll and the world of the eye')
- 'Environmental problems in light of Gabriel Marcel's distinction problem/mystery' (abstract)
- 'Umwelt transition: Uexküllian Phenomenology - Research plan'
- 'Om fluer og filosofi' (in Norwegian - 'On flies and philosophy', an interview with Arne Næss)

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

Update on 'Umwelt transition'

My journal article 'Umwelt transition. Uexküll and environmental change' is still in process. It now seems to be destined for publication - com a graça de Deus - at some point in 2009. I hope to finish a second draft (a thorough revision, and expansion) in a few days. Changes include a more systematic outline, more ecological context (especially from macroevolution) and more references to other Uexküll scholars within biosemiotics.

No trip to Europe

There will be no trip to Europe for me this year, after all, as the required funding did not fall in place.

A pity, considering the plans that had gradually taken form in my mind, with possible stops not only in Tartu but also Oslo, and possibly Helsinki...

All my academic work, therefore, will this year be carried out from Brazil. Gosh, I would like to go to the Amazon...