At the beginning of the 20th century, German biologist Jakob von
Uexkull created the concept of "Umwelt" to denote the environment
as experienced by a subject. This concept of environment differs
from the idea of passive surroundings and is defined not just by
physical surroundings, but is rather a "subjective universe," a
space weighted with meaning. Today, neuroscience provides a new way
to look at the brain s capability to create a representation of the
world. At the same time behavioural specialists are demonstrating
that animals have a richer mental universe than previously known.
Philosophical reflection thus finds itself with more experimental
and objective data as well. Nearly a century after the publication
of von Uexkull s founding work ("Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere"
was published in 1909), neurobiologists, psychologists,
sociologists, anthropologists, ethologists, and philosophers
revisit his mail concept at the light of modern science"
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