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Review of Glen Mazis, Humans, Animals, Machines: Blurring boundaries

Albany, State University of New York Press, 273 pp. ISBN: 978-0-7914-7555-3 (hardcover), 978-0-7914-7556-0 (pbk)

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Notes

  1. Put briefly, for von Uexküll, a living organism's environment, understood to be constituted by the interplay of the organism's actions and perceptions, is organized as a closed unity, and thus strictly demarcated from the specific environment of other organisms.

  2. Von Uexküll calls this the functional cycle or Funktionskreis constituted by the interaction of the animal organism and its environment. As he states in his classic work Theoretische Biologie: “Jedes Tier ist ein Subjekt, das dank seiner ihm eigentümlichen Bauart aus den allgemeinen Wirkungen der Außenwelt bestimmte Reize auswählt, auf die es in bestimmter Weise antwortet. Diese Antworten bestehen wiederum in bestimmten Wirkungen auf die Außenwelt, und diese beeinflussen ihrerseits die Reize. Dadurch entsteht ein geschlossener Kreislauf, den man den Funktionskreis des Tieres nennen kann” (von Uexküll 1973, 150).

References

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  • von Uexküll, J. (1973). Theoretische Biologie. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp. (Original Work published 1920).

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Woelert, P. Review of Glen Mazis, Humans, Animals, Machines: Blurring boundaries. Phenom Cogn Sci 8, 603 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11097-009-9145-3

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