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Exploring the Philosophy of Development through Uexküll’s Notion of Umwelt

Yuhi Fujita

Abstract

This paper aims to depict the development of human beings as a transformative relationship between individuals and their world. Anchored on Uexküll’s concept of the environment, “Umwelt,” and further developed through the works of Heidegger, Kokubun, and Merleau-Ponty, I present the relationship between man and the world through the formation of the world and the movement of organisms between Umwelts. For Heidegger, humans live while forming their own world whereas animals can only be “poor in world.” Kokubun further emphasizes that human beings live while moving through various Umwelts. But according to Merleau-Ponty, human bodies reconfigure their fields of action, and through this, new meanings are conceived. As a result of the movement of humans through different Umwelts, humans also transform themselves accordingly. Human development, therefore, is a dynamic process of
interaction between humans and their world.


Keywords

development; Heidegger; Merleau-Ponty; Uexküll; Umwelt

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