Hans Blumenberg: The transformation of uexküll’s bioepistemology into phenomenology

Cornelius Borck*

*Corresponding author for this work
1 Citation (Scopus)


Blumenberg discusses Uexküll only once in his published writings, notably in a dense chapter of Lifetime and Worldtime [Lebenszeit und Weltzeit], where he comments on the shortcomings of Uexküll’s conceptualization of individual worlds in comparison to Edmund Husserl’s notion of Lebenswelt. With the availability of Blumenberg’s unpublished writings, that is, his anthropology, Description of Man [Beschreibung des Menschen] and his phenomenology, Theory of the Life-World [Theorie der Lebenswelt], however, it becomes clear how carefully, and critically, he integrated Uexküll’s notion of a functional circle [Funktionskreis]-that is to say, the interrelatedness of perception and action as basic organismic principle-into his philosophy. The anthropologically fundamental dimension of distance emerges in and from the functional circle of programmed responses that get transgressed by means of the specifically human faculty of survival and enculturation. Based on these writings, Blumenberg’s philosophy can be described as a transformation of Uexküll’s bioepistemology into phenomenology.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationJakob von Uexküll and Philosophy: Life, Environments, Anthropology
Number of pages17
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Publication date09.12.2019
ISBN (Print)9780367232733
ISBN (Electronic)9781000765786
Publication statusPublished - 09.12.2019


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