The ontological primacy of umwelt

Keywords: umwelt theory, ontology, dualism, transaction, schismogenesis, individuation


Where do the basic composite parts of an umwelt – the organism and the environment – come from? Customarily, in umwelt theory, the emphasis is on their mutual co-construction or constitution through functional cycles. But another question could be added to this inquiry: what is the origin, the genesis of organisms and their environments which are now to be indivisibly united once again? On the basis of the transactional conception of relations proposed by John Dewey, the concept of schismogenesis as described by Gregory Bateson, and the process of individuation as explicated by Gilbert Simondon, it is proposed that it is the umwelt which is ontologically primary, and that it is its internal division, separation and individuation, which results in the appearance of organisms with their environments.


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How to Cite
Rattasepp, S. (2023). The ontological primacy of umwelt. Sign Systems Studies, 51(1), 101-113.