Welt and Umwelt
We were discussing worlds and ‘Umwelts’ at the pub, after the talk. I said maybe living in an Umwelt is somehow less than living in a ‘world’. People weren’t sure.
I’ve spotted where I (recently) picked this up from: A. D. Smith (The Problem of Perception, 2002, p.102-3). Apparently Gadamer and Heidegger both use the Welt/Umwelt distinction. And more recently McDowell uses it, too, in his (non-standard) translation “world”/”environment”. And all these authors’ usages trace back to von Uexküll. And all three of McDowell, Gadamer and Heidegger trace back to Heidegger’s slant on the term where, apparently, an animal has a ‘mere’ environment, whereas we have an objective world: “Heidegger … states that animals are separated from us by an “abyss”, and even questions the propriety of speaking of an animal “Umwelt” at all, because of its suggestion of “Welt”” (Smith, p.103).
Does anybody know what von Uexküll would have made of this usage of his distiction? (Smith doesn’t say, he just says that Heidegger put his own slant on it!) Or have thoughts about it themselves?