Wednesday, 18 November 2009

Course work on Uexküll - meetings at UiA - the philosophy business

I'm following the course "Readings of Juri Lotman and Jakob von Uexküll", and the first half, considering the work of Uexküll, has now finished. A couple of days ago I submitted the (first) term paper, "An Uexküllian Theory of Evolution?" (7 pp). I have further - since I literarily take the course as a reading course, from a distance - submitted 6 c3 pp papers with Q&As, covering the reading material.
“Uexküll and evolution” for many sounds like a topic that spells out a contradiction in terms. That, I believe, does not necessarily have to be the case. Whereas some biosemioticians (e.g. Stjernfelt 2001) have asserted that Uexküll was anti-evolution, others (e.g. Salthe 2001; Kull 2004) have concluded that he was anti-Darwinian, but not hostile to the idea of evolution as such. Here I must agree with the latter group, as I hope will shine through in the rest of this exposition. And not only do I think Uexküll was not anti-evolution (though, as I explain in Tønnessen 2009, he was programmatically not historically-minded) – more than that; I believe that an Uexküllian perspective might actually prove to be enriching within the field of evolutionary theory. There’s proof that Uexküll did not only have negative, but also positive, thought about evolution in his dictum (1928: 198) that “each new appearing functional cycle verifies [the appearance of] a new animal species” (my translation).
Meanwhile, the committee for the UiA Philosophy Forum has held its first meeting (this Monday).

So has - today - UiA's "Fagfilosofisk seksjon" (Academic philosophical section), consisting of the philosophers at Department of religion, philosophy and history. The topic, which has been discussed at one previous meeting as well and will be discussed further at the institute level in December, concerns establishing new (more advanced) courses in philosophy as part of a revised bachelor degree (which is today a bachelor in religion). One day, some say, we might offer a master in philosophy. That would truly be of great value for the philosophy milieu at UiA, and its attraction for students and scholars alike. Today only a one-year studium is offered (apart from the broader introductory course, Examen Philosophicum).

Meanwhile ... I have finished (yesterday) a catalogue, or leaflet (4 pp), presenting the paid services offered by my one-man company, SPØR FILOSOFEN (Ask the philosopher) - ranging from lectures and courses via writing and editing to consultancy activities. You'll find it on Scribd.

And thus the world advances...

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