Thursday, 31 July 2014
My paper "Will the agents of nature please rise: What is agency?" was quite some time ago accepted for presentation at the First International Association for Cognitive Semiotics (IACS) Conference (Lund, Sweden, September 25-27, 2014). Three reviews of my abstract as originally submitted (see also updated abstract) was communicated to me. Of these two were strong accepts, whereas one was strong reject.
Wednesday, 30 July 2014
During the night April 4-5th I finished the academic essay "Menneskedyret og dets plass i verden" [The human animal and its place in the world] (see also previous posts on this essay).
Today I was informed about Biosemiotics' Impact Factor for 2013, calculated by Thomson Reuters (Journal Citation Reports): 0,488. This is up from 2012's 0,364 and above 2011's 0,444, which was the first year the journal had an Impact Factor. Last year's Impact Factor is thus the highest yet for the journal.
An Impact Factor of 0,488 in 2013 means that citable publications in Biosemiotics in 2011 and 2012 were on average cited 0,488 times each in 2013 in publications in other listed journals.
Tuesday, 29 July 2014
Monday, 28 July 2014
My academic essay "Visjon 2040: Fra overlagt rovdrift til Utopi Buane" [Vision 2040: From deliberate exploitation to Utopia Buane], written and first published in 2011 entitled "Fra by og land, mann mot mann til visjon 2040 [From city against countryside, man against man to vision 2040], is now available online (for viewing and download) via Academia.edu, ResearchGate and Scribd, after I withdrew it from Kulturverk.com, where it was originally published, about three months ago. At ResearchGate it has been given a DOI. See below for the DOI and links.
Tønnessen, Morten 2011. Visjon 2040: Fra overlagt rovdrift til Utopi Buane [Vision 2040: From deliberate exploitation to Utopia Buane]. Available online (Academia.edu, ResearchGate (DOI: 10.13140/2.1.4708.9289), Scribd). 18 pp.
Analysis of mentions of animals in political party programs: Reference incl. DOI; available online x 4
My report "Analyse av partiprogrammer for 2013-2017 utført for Dyreetikkonferansen 2013" [Analysis of political party programs for 2013–2017 – conducted for the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2013] is now, in addition to via the webpage of Dyreetikkonferansen, available online (for viewing and download) via Academia.edu, ResearchGate and Scribd. At ResearchGate the NGO report has been given a DOI, see below.
Tønnessen, Morten 2013. Analyse av partiprogrammer for 2013–2017 – utført for Dyreetikkonferansen 2013 [Analysis of political party programs for 2013–2017 – conducted for the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2013]. NGO report. Oslo 2013: Dyreetikkonferansen. Available online (incl. via ResearchGate, DOI: 10.13140/2.1.3693.1203). 21pp.
Sunday, 27 July 2014
On April 7th (while in parliament, as it happened) I was asked, and agreed, to be coordinator for the course "Philosophy of Science and Health Care Ethics" in the master program Pre-Hospital Critical Care (PHCC) - see previous posts, including on more recent developments - to be offered by University of Stavanger (UiS EVU) starting this fall.
Minding Animals Norway was featured in a press release from Norway's Green Party released April 3rd and entitled "Vil ha kylling på Stortinget" [Want(s) chicken in Parliament]. The occasion for the press release was the seminar on animal welfare in the poultry industry co-arranged by Minding Animals Norway and the Green Party on April 7th. The seminar program was attached to the press release, where the Green Party states that they want animal welfare for chickens to be on the political agenda, and want the Norwegian parliament to discuss the poultry industry's future.
Thursday, 24 July 2014
My essay "Menneskedyret og dets plass i verden" [The human animal and its place in the world], in Norwegian, has been uploaded as a full-text PDF to Scribd, Academia.edu and ResearchGate. The latter venue it has been given a DOI: 10.13140/2.1.3365.4402. Reference:
Tønnessen, Morten 2014. Menneskedyret og dets plass i verden [The human animal and its place in the world]. Published online in the blog of Minding Animals Norway July 23rd 2014; ResearchGate July 23rd 2014 (DOI: 10.13140/2.1.3365.4402).
My text "Utenfor sirkelen" [Outside the circle], in Norwegian - see previous posts - written on invitation for an art exhibition by Jørund Aase Falkenberg and addressing the history of human-animal relations, has been posted in the Minding Animals Norway blog - see here. The text has previously been published on the artist's webpage.
Yesterday I called, on behalf of the board of Minding Animals Norway, for the 2014 general meeting of this organisation, in its 5th newsletter. The general meeting will take place at the Blindern campus (University of Oslo) on Friday September 5th straight after the 4th research seminar of Minding Animals Norway (theme: Animals and death) the same day. A preliminary agenda has been distributed to members of MAN.
Wednesday, 23 July 2014
On April 22nd, I was notified that my article "Menneskedyret og dets plass i verden" [The human animal and its place in the world], written on invitation by guest-editor of an issue of the Norwegian philosophy journal Agora, Roar Høstaker, had not been accepted for publication. His explanation was, mainly, that my manuscript spanned over too many diverse topics without going sufficiently in depth. I declined to conduct radical revisions.
My book chapter "Mapping Human Impact – Expanding Horizons: Interdisciplinary Integration" (2011) is, along with the rest of the book The Space of Culture - the Place of Nature in Estonia and Beyond (= Approaches to Cultural Theory vol. 1; ed. Tiina Peil, Tartu University Press 2011), now freely available online via OAPEN.org (Open Access Publishing in European Networks) - see here. For my chapter, see pp. 93-106.
See also the link collection "Publications available online" in the right-hand sidebar.
Tuesday, 22 July 2014
On Thursday July 3rd, during the 14th International Gathering in Biosemiotics (London, 30th of June to 4th of July), I attended the annual meeting of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS).
Among the topics were the proposed "Biosemiotic Discovery Prize" - a draft of the statutes for this prize, composed by Timo Maran, Alexei Sharov and myself (and language edited by Paul Cobley), was presented at the ISBS annual meeting and at the preceding panel presentation of the journal Biosemiotics. Different concerns were raised. At the annual meeting it was decided, on the suggestion of Jesper Hoffmeyer (the ISBS President), that the three mentioned Editors-in-Chief of Biosemiotics will invite the GiB14 participants to suggest changes in the prize statutes, and then decide on the final version of the statutes. We are currently in the process of receiving such suggestions.
On Thursday July 3rd, during the 14th International Gathering in Biosemiotics (London, 30th of June to 4th of July), I participated in a panel presentation of the journal Biosemiotics, along with Alexei Sharov, Timo Maran and Springer's Izabela Witkowska. Here I presented the biosemiotic glossary project and plans for an annual prize which is for now entitled the "biosemiotic discovery prize". There was discussion about the latter.
Monday, 21 July 2014
The program for the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2014, to be held during the fishery fair Nor-Fishing 2014 in Trondheim August 20th, has been launched, see the conference website (specifically here). The program, which spans over 4 hours, includes presentations by Tore Kristiansen, Henrik Stenwig and Susanna Lybæk.
The questionnaire for the second survey in the biosemiotic community conducted by the journal Biosemiotics as part of the biosemiotic glossary project has just been presented. See the blog post 2nd survey conducted by Biosemiotics - 'Umwelt' (the biosemiotic glossary project) in the Biosemiosis blog. The questionnarie is also to be found on my Academia.edu profile page - see here. Deadline for participation in the survey is August 20th.
Saturday, 19 July 2014
A few days ago I updated the homepage of the annual conference series the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference (Dyreetikkonferansen). Specifically the following subpages were updated (all but one in Norwegian):* Home
* Bidragsytere [Contributers]
* Om påmelding (2014) [On registration (2014)]
* Om konferansen [About the conference]
* Program [Program]
* Videoer [Videos]
The 5th issue of the newsletter of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS), the Spring 2014 issue, has this week been distributed via email to subscribers (free, in PDF) and uploaded to the NASS homepage. At 15 pages, it was as usual composed by Inesa Sahakyan and myself.
Thursday, 17 July 2014
The Czech-Norwegian grant application I have taken part in (see previous posts) along with Anton Markoš and Dan Faltýnek, entitled "Living beings as sign systems in evolution and development", was not successful. This became clear as results were announced July 15th. 19 of around 400 applications were funded.
The book chapter "Beyond sentience: Biosemiotics as foundation for animal and environmental ethics", co-written by Jonathan Beever and myself (see previous posts), which is to appear in John Hadley and Elisa Aaltola (eds), Animal ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers), has now been scheduled for publication in December 2014 (previously 2015).
Chapter "The semiotics of animal representations: Introduction" available at ResearchGate and Academia
Monday, 14 July 2014
The Springer journal Biosemiotics, for one I am one of three Editors-in-chief along with Alexei Sharov and Timo Maran, has revised its "Aims and scope" section, which now reads:
Biosemiotics is dedicated to building a bridge between biology, philosophy, linguistics and the communication sciences. If it is true that biosemiotics is "the study of signs, of communication and of information in living organisms" (Oxford Dictionary of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 1997, p. 72), it is also true that, in time, it has acquired a more general scope. Today, its main challenge is the attempt to naturalize biological meaning, in the belief that signs are fundamental, constitutive components of the living world. Biosemiotics has triggered revision of fundamentals of both biology and semiotics: biology needs to recognize the semiotic nature of life and reformulate its theories accordingly, and semiotics has to accept the existence of signs in animals, plants, and even individual cells. Biosemiotics has become in this way the leading edge of the research on the fundamentals of life, and is a young exciting field on the move.
By providing both a place for – and access to – exceptional peer-reviewed papers on the emerging discipline of biosemiotics, the journal will offer an instrument of its development by publishing papers in all relevant areas of the natural sciences and the humanities. In particular, the journal is focused on publishing original papers that explore deep links between biology and semiotics. Special issues are dedicated to some of the most interesting and provoking ideas in biosemiotics. In addition, the journal helps the readers to navigate in the current literature by publishing subject reviews and book reviews.
Sunday, 13 July 2014
At today's meeting in the local organising committee of the 2015 conference which is to be organised in Stavanger by the Norwegian research group of the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis", it was decided that I am the chair of this local organising committee. I will thus be the main responsible for convening the conference, which will be held September 17-19th 2015.
The 2015 conference which is to be organised by the Norwegian research group of the Estonian-Norwegian research project "Animals in changing environments: Cultural mediation and semiotic analysis" has been rescheduled from September 16-18th (Wednesday to Friday) to September 17-19th (Thursday to Saturday) 2015. This is done to facilitate cheaper accommodation for the participants.
Friday, 11 July 2014
The second review article in the biosemiotic glossary project will address the term 'Umwelt'. It will be written by Carlo Brentari, Riin Magnus and myself. The first article in this series, published in the journal Biosemiotics, addresses the terms 'agent' and 'agency' and is currently in review. While the first article will appear in #3/2014 (December), the second is scheduled for #1/2015 (April). A full paper of the 'Umwelt' review article is due December 1st.
See also previous posts on the biosemiotic glossary project.
The Springer journal Biosemiotics, for which I am one of three Editors-in-Chief, is in a process of reorganizing its Editorial Board. Candidates with documented competence in biosemiotics can contact the editors in order to be considered for the new and revised editorial board. For details see "Message on the editorial board of Biosemiotics (Springer)", posted in the Biosemiosis blog.
Thursday, 10 July 2014
In an article entitled "Petroleumsforskning har en rolle å spille" [Petroleum research has a role to play], the CEO of Research Council of Norway, Arvid Hallén, gives a number of somewhat apologetic statements after the statement issued recently by Norway's National Committee for Research Ethics in Science and Technology (NENT) on the research ethics of petroleum research. Hallén basicly claims that the Research Council of Norway's research policy is already in line with NENT's statement. He thus does not go into any of the difficult questions raises by NENT's statement. That is disappointing.
See also previous posts on NENT.
Wednesday, 9 July 2014
On July 1st 2013, Anu Sarv defended her doctoral thesis at University of Tartu's Institute of philosophy and semiotics. Her thesis was the first to be defended within semiotics after mine, in December 2011. Reference:
Sarv, Anu 2013. Õppejõu enese reﬂeksioon ja professionaalne identiteet [Self-reflection and professional identity of a university teacher] (= Dissertationes Semioticae Universitatis Tartuensis 17). Tartu: Tartu University Press.
My thesis is listed at the very end of the last page, as the 16th thesis in the series:
16. Morten Tønnessen. Umwelt transition and Uexküllian phenomenology. An ecosemiotic analysis of Norwegian wolf management. Tartu, 2011. 231 p. [Introduction available online]
7 of the PhD theses in this series, published since 2000, have been written in English, 5 in Russian and 5 in Estonian.
The 4th annual research seminar of Minding Animals Norway will be arranged at Blindern, the main campus of the University of Oslo, on Friday September 5th (starting 10 am.). The call for papers (in Norwegian), with deadline for abstract submission August 25th, has been posted on the homepage of Minding Animals Norway and also in my Norwegian language blog Utopisk Realisme. This year's topic is "Dyrene og døden" [Animals and death].
Tuesday, 8 July 2014
Yesterday, on Monday July 7th, I attended and chaired the bimonthly board meeting of Minding Animals Norway.
Issues discussed included updates from the Norwegian Animal Protection Day (Dyreverndagen), which now has around 20 volunteers at work, and documents on media guidelines and communication strategy for that event. The agenda also included preparation of MAN's upcoming annual meeting (September 5th, Oslo), and evalutation of recent activities (stand on Oslo Vegetarfestival (2 days) in May; informal summer party for animal protection activists in Oslo in June with some 20 people attending).
On Monday April 7th Minding Animals Norway and Norway's Green Party co-arranged a seminar on animal welfare in the poultry industry in Norway's parliament. The programme included presentations by representatives of Norwegian Food Safety Authority (Ole Fjetland, Mattilsynet), The Council for Animal Ethics (Solveig Marie Stubsjøen, Rådet for dyreetikk), Norwegian Veterinary Institute (Cecilie Mejdell, Veterinærinstituttet) and the poultry industry itself, Norwegian poultry association (Jan Arne Broen, Norsk fjørfelag). Also, a farmer, Halvor Olsen (running Holte gård) presented his experiences after investing in animal welfare.
I was responsible for organising the seminar along with Une Aina Bastholm, and also gave a 10 minute introductory talk, entitled "Dyrevelferd i kyllingnæringen - innledning" [Animal welfare in the poultry industry - introduction]. Some 30 people representing 12 NGOs and industry bodies attended.
Sunday, 6 July 2014
On the annual meeting of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS) in London July 3rd it was officially decided that the 15th International Gathering in Biosemiotics will take place in Copenhagen, Denmark (Aalborg University - Copenhagen campus). Luis Emilio Bruni will convene the gathering, which will be arranged approximately June 29th to July 3rd 2015.
In the last issue of the Bulletin of Minding Animals International there is a 1-page report from the April 7th Minding Animals Norway/Norway's Green Party seminar on animal welfare in the poultry industry arranged in the Norwegian parliament, written by Une Aina Bastholm and myself and entitled "Report from seminar on animal welfare in poultry production in Norway's parliament".
Saturday, 5 July 2014
On Thursday July 3rd I presented my paper "Descartes’ dualisms and the epistemology of biosemiotics" at the 14th Gathering in Biosemiotics (London June 30 - July 4), in a session chaired by Jesper Hoffmeyer and also involving a paper by John Deely. Some 25-30 people (?) attended.
To the 14th Gathering in biosemiotics (London June 30 - July 4), I had brought a copy of The Semiotics of Animal Representations, which I have co-edited with Kadri Tüür, as a display copy, along with discount flyers designated for the conference. After three days on display, however, the book went missing. I need it back, so that it can be displayed on at least two more conferences.
The ordinary deadline for abstract submissions to the 12th World Congress of Semiotics (Sofia, Bulgaria September 16-20) was June 30th and has thus passed. However, until August 15th it is still possible to submit abstracts (including to my session "Biosemiotic ethics", scheduled for September 19th), though placement in the desired session can no more be guaranteed.
The seminar on poultry welfare which Minding Animals Norway co-organised with Norway's Green Party in the Norwegian Parliament April 7th is reported on in an article in the magazine Fjørfe (no. 4/ 2014). The article, "Kylling på Stortinget" [Chicken(s) in Parliament], is written by Pål Grønbeck, the general manager of Norsk Fjørfelag [Norwegian poultry association], which publishes the magazine.
Wednesday, 2 July 2014
The programme for the fishing fair Nor-Fishing 2014 (Trondheim, Norway, August 19-22) has been released - see here. The programme includes Dyreetikkonferansen 2014 [the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2014] on Wednesday August 20th at 1-5 pm, with the theme "Fiskelykke" [Luck in fishing/fish happiness].
A couple of days ago I composed and submitted my abstract "Introducing biosemiotic ethics" to the session "Biosemiotic ethics", which is to be held Friday September 19th at the 12th World Congress of Semiotics (Sofia, Bulgaria, September 16-20). See below.
Introducing biosemiotic ethics
Morten Tønnessen, Associate professor in philosophy at University of Stavanger, Norway
In this paper, which sets the scene for the session “Biosemiotic ethics”, I start out by outlining various contributions to biosemiotic ethics (Hoffmeyer 1993, Kull 2001, Tønnessen 2003, Beever 2011, Beever and Tønnessen 2013, Acampora 2014, Tønnessen and Beever, forthcoming), and also refer briefly to semioethics and existential semiotics.
Next I ask: How does biosemiotic ethics differ from other approaches within normative ethics? Relatedly: How have contributions to biosemiotic ethics drawn on other approaches in normative ethics? In this second section of the paper I will particularly relate to Bentham 1823 and Singer 2002 , and ask: In what ways does a biosemiotic ethics potentially take us beyond sentience-centered approaches? Does biosemiotic ethics represent a new form of consequentialism, or should it be placed within some other tradition?
In the third and concluding section of the paper, I raise a number of questions which should be investigated in the future development of biosemiotic ethics, namely: What ramifications do different views on the semiotic threshold have within the context of normative ethics? Is there (something akin to) normativity in the very constitution of the Umwelt? Does the semiosphere at large (qua biosphere) have intrinsic value? And what, in terms of biosemiosis, is the origin of value?
Acknowledgement: This work has been carried out thanks to the support of the research project “Animals in Changing Environments: Cultural Mediation and Semiotic Analysis” (EEA Norway Grants/Norway Financial Mechanism 2009–2014 under project contract no. EMP151).
Acampora, Ralph R. 2014. The (proto-)ethical significance of semiosis: When and how does one become somebody who matters? In Kadri Tüür and Morten Tønnessen (eds) 2014: The Semiotics of Animal Representations (Amsterdam/New York: Rodopi), 343–362.
Beever, Jonathan 2011. Meaning matters: The biosemiotic basis of bioethics. Biosemiotics 5(2): 181–191.
Beever, Jonathan and Morten Tønnessen 2013. “Darwin und die englische Moral”: The moral consequences of Uexküll’s Umwelt theory. Biosemiotics 6(3): 437–447.
Bentham, Jeremy 1823. An Introduction to the Principles of Morals and Legislation (2nd edition).
Hoffmeyer, Jesper 1993. Biosemiotics and ethics. In Nina Witoszek and Elisabeth Gulbrandsen (eds) 1993: Culture and Environment: Interdisciplinary Approaches (Oslo: Centre for Development and the Environment), 152–176.Kull, Kalevi 2001. Biosemiotics and the problem of intrinsic value of nature. Sign Systems Studies 29(1): 353–365.Singer, Peter 2002 . Animal Liberation. New York: Random House, Inc.Tønnessen, Morten 2003. Umwelt ethics. Sign Systems Studies 31 (1): 281–299.
Tønnessen, Morten and Jonathan Beever, forthcoming (2015). Beyond sentience: Biosemiotics as foundation for animal and environmental ethics. In John Hadley and Elisa Aaltola (eds): Animal ethics and Philosophy: Questioning the Orthodoxy (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).
Today I chaired a session of the ongoing 14th Gathering in Biosemiotics (London, June 30 - July 4). The session, which was also supposed to include a paper by Paul Thibault, involved Tommi Vehkavaara's paper "The interplay og cognitive and action-guiding signs in intelligent animals", which was substantially discussed.
Tuesday, 1 July 2014
Today I participated in a roundtable on agency chaired by Kalevi Kull at the ongoing 14th Gathering in biosemiotics (London June 30 - July 4). In addition to Alexei Sharov and me, Jesper Hoffmeyer and Don Favareau were also participating. The roundtable lasted for one and a half hour, and included a 15 minute presentation by me.
There's been som changes in the programme for the ongoing 14th Gathering in Biosemiotics (London June 30 - July 4). While I was originally scheduled for chairing today, Tuesday 1st of July, I am now instead scheduled for chairing a session on Wednesday July 2nd - at 11.30 to 12.50. Also, there's been a change of papers included in the session.