ABSTRACT

Reciprocity has been an issue in the interchange between humanities and sciences in view of divided observations concerning our motivation for relating to other people and their opinions. This study proposes to deal with the problem by way of reexamining Uexküll’s theory of Umwelt, seeking to deepen our appreciation of instincts, emotions, and intuitions in our absorption of alternative views. It is revealed that followers and interpreters of Uexküll’s work have actually embraced his functional cycle [Funktionskreis] as a sort of mental work that induces pleasure, knowledge, and self-governance, regardless of the exact identities or even of the very being of others we are engaging with. From this point of view, we appear as really generous and brilliant agents by virtue of our capacity of ignoring certain traits or disparities that may reduce our chances of relating to others. It is argued that such a viewpoint is compatible with the idea of genuine altruism and reciprocity, much promoted in various fields of study today. The updated sense of Umwelt serves to explain why we may still work out intriguing ideas and relationships even with the least amount of feedback or payback from others.