This study explicates conditions of application of the terms ‘subject’ and ‘subjectivity’ in both contemporary biosemiotic discourse and the theory of umwelt by Uexkull. The article contrasts biosemiotics with the posthumanist attempt to bridge an ontological gap between human and animal by way of transforming the concept of subject. The limitations on the introduction of ‘subject’ and ‘subjectivity’ in biosemiotics are specified with reference to the biosemiotic project of Jesper Hoffmeyer. The imposition of metaphysical connotations of ‘subject’ are avoided here due to the self being regarded as a result of semiotic processes and the accent on the first-person perspective of experiential life in the notion of subjectivity. The theory of umwelt is examined in view of preconditions of a biosemiotic approach to self.
© 2014 by Walter de Gruyter Berlin/Boston