Uexküll's Kompositionslehre and Leopold's "land ethic" in dialogue. On the concept of meaning

Jean-Claude Gens


Uexküll's famous umwelt theory, which is simultaneously a theory of meaning, remains almost unknown in American environmental thought. The purpose of this article is to create a dialogue between the umwelt theory – a source of inspiration for biosemiotics – and one of the major figures of the environmental thought, namely Aldo Leopold. The interest of this dialogue lies in the fact that the environmental thought has much to gain by relying on Uexküll's theory of meaning and, conversely, that Leopold's land ethic is likely to extend Uexküll's thought in terms of ethics.


land ethic; Leopold; Uexküll; umwelt

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.12697/SSS.2013.41.1.04

SIGN SYSTEMS STUDIES. ISSN 1406-4243 (print), 1736-7409 (online). E-mail: sss@ut.ee. Postal address: Sign Systems Studies, Dept. of Semiotics, University of Tartu, Jakobi St. 2, 51014 Tartu, Estonia