Workshop at the University of Tartu, May 13, 2004
Cassirer, Lotman, Uexküll: between biology and semiotics of culture
Cassirer's late programme brings together both strands of research pursued at
the University of Tartu's Department of Semiotics.
It continues the work of Juri
Lotman, who taught at Tartu and who developed the semiotic theory of culture
in early 1970s. Cassirer's programme for a semiotic theory of culture bears
close comparison to the approach developed by Lotman, which he and his
colleagues developed without knowing much of the work of Cassirer. No
comparison of these approaches has ever been undertaken.
The Jakob von Uexküll
Centre, which is affiliated with the Department, is dedicated to research on
Uexküll's pioneering work on biosemiotics. Uexküll and Cassirer were
colleagues in Germany in the late 1920s and early 1930s. Cassirer's late
writings reveal hitherto unknown and unexamined attempts to develop a theory
of culture in conjunction with a biosemiotic approach inspired by Uexküll.
Cassirer's influence on contemporary biosemiotics has not been strong due to
the fact that Cassirer's late papers have not been accessible to
biosemioticians. However, preliminary analysis shows that the ideas Cassirer
developed are quite compatible with current thinking and that further work
may mean that Cassirer will be considered as a classic of biosemiotics in
Peeter Torop (Tartu) - Opening words
Introductiory words from the organisers
John Krois (Berlin/Uppsala) - Cassirer's philosophy of biology
Kalevi Kull (Tartu) - Biosemiosis, umwelt, semiosphere
Manfred Laubichler (Arizona/Berlin) - Ernst
Cassirer: Theoretical biology, philosophical anthropology, and the search
for an integrated theory of life and culture
Aleksei Turovski (Tallinn) - Signs in dynamic in the animal park
Frederik Stjernfelt (Copenhagen) - Cassirer and Uexküll - a critical
Dario Martinelli (Helsinki) - The musical circle: The umwelt theory, as
applied to zoomusicology
Andreas Weber (Hamburg) - 'Mind is a symbol of the body': Embodied
meaning as a central problem in Ernst Cassirer's semiotics of culture
The symposium will be opened at 9.00, Struve St. 2, in the lecture hall of the
Naturalists' Society Building.
Each talk, except the first one, will be 35 minutes, followed by discussion.
This workshop is funded in part by the
VolkswagenStiftung and SCASSS, Uppsala.
Department of Semiotics, University of
Jakob von Uexküll Centre
Zoosemiotics Home Page
Juri Lotman homepage
Begriff des Mythos bei Ernst Cassirer.
sind und was sollen Bilder?.
On semiosis, umwelt, and
in the Land of Dichter and Denker
Symptomatology of a
semiotic research: methodologies and problems in zoomusicology
The idea that
changed the world.
Cognition as expression: On
the autopoietic foundations of an aesthetic theory of nature.
Craig Brandist, Bakhtin,
Cassirer and symbolic forms.