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Tuesday, 31 May 2016

4th code biology conference to be held in Köszeg

At the third International Conference in Code Biology, recently held in Urbino, in Italy, it was decided that the 4th International Conference in Code Biology will be held 24-26 May 2017 in Köszeg, Hungary.

Uncertain whether code biology conference will be held in Norway

There has so far been preliminary plans for holding a code biology conference in Stavanger, Norway, organised by me. However, it is now uncertain whether that will happen, due to ongoing considerations of costs, locality etc. 

See also:

125 home exam papers graded

Today I finished grading, and reported, 125 home exam papers in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of health studies (course code SVEXPHIL2, Ex.Phil. for nursing students).

Monday, 30 May 2016

Page reference for "Proto-language in wolves" abstract

Our paper "Proto-language in wolves" appears on pp. 42-43 on the printed abstract book of the 3rd International conference in code biology.

194 MC exam papers graded

Yesterday I completed grading 194 Multiple Choice papers (fail/pass) in Examen Philosophicum for University of Stavanger´s Department of health studies (course code SVEXPHIL2).

Parental leave to be approved

NAV, the Norwegian social and labour services, has informed me (orally) that my application for parental leave is being approved (ca. 10 weeks after I applied). My parental leave (for being with my twins born last autumn) starts as graded leave (40% from April 1st 2016 until June 30th, 50% in July). From August 1st until November 2nd I will be on 100% parental leave.

NSD status report on research data

I have just submitted a brief status report to NSD - Norwegian Centre for Research Data in relation to our field work involving 13 interviews last year.

Thursday, 26 May 2016

"Proto-Language in wolves" paper presented in Urbino at Codebiology 3

I have just presented my paper ”Proto-language in wolves” at the 3rd International Conference in Code Biology (Urbino, Italy, May 25-27th 2016). Some 20-25 people were present.

Third Biosemiotic Glossary Project survey: "Intentionality"

The third survey in the Biosemiotic Glossary Project is now open. Don Favareau is the assigned author of the third review article, to be published in Biosemiotics, and the term surveyed is "intentionality".

Responses are given online, in two parts, here and here - by early July.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

"Umwelt theory for our time" - Young Research Talents, second attempt

Today I have submitted my research application "Umwelt theory for our time" for a second and final time to Research Council of Norway´s Young Research Talents scheme. 42 pp.

Abstract "Synchronicity in human perception of animals" online at IVSA 2016 pages

My abstract "Synchronicity in human perception of animals", for IVSA 2016 (International Visual Sociology Association), to be held at Lillehammer University College in the end of June, is now online on the conference webpage.

Monday, 23 May 2016

Anthropocene chapter compulsory reading in UiS environmental history course

My book chapter
Tønnessen, Morten (2013). «Menneskeveldet: antropocen - menneskets tidsalder» [the human empire - the anthropocene - the era of Man], i Hvem er villest i landet her? Råskap mot dyr og natur i antropocen, menneskets tidsalder. Scandinavian Academic Press. (pp. 37-56). 
is used as compulsory reading (pensum) for the 2016-17 University of Stavanger course “Miljø- og vannhistorie - Et historiografisk perspektiv” [History of environment and water - A historiographic perspective] (course code MHI335). Course coordinator is Eva Jakobsson.

The same chapter is also used as compulsory reading at a criminology course at University of Oslo.

Post.Doc. application - UiB

Yesterday I applied for a Post.Doc. position (in philosophy of science) at University of Bergen, with the project "Umwelt theory for our time".

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Reference for "Thinking about animals..." introductory chapter

Here´s the bibliographical reference for the introductory chapter in Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene, written by Kristin Armstrong Oma and myself:
Tønnessen, Morten and Kristin Armstrong Oma (2016). Introduction: Once upon a time in the Anthropocene. In Morten Tønnessen, Silver Rattasepp and Kristin Armstrong Oma (eds), Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene (Lanham, Boulder, New York, London: Lexington Books), vii–xix.

Preliminary reference for chapter with Tuastad

Here´s the preliminary bibliographical reference for my book chapter currently co-written with my colleague at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies Svein Tuastad:
Tuastad, Svein and Morten Tønnesses, forthcoming (2017). Familie og fridom. Norsk familiepolitikk i lys av liberal politisk teori [Family and freedom. Norwegian family policies in light of liberal political theory]. In Ingunn Studsrød and Svein Tuastad (Eds.), Familien bak fasaden. Barneomsorg på norsk: I spenning og samspill mellom det offentlige og det private [The family behind the facade. Childcare in Norway: In tension and interaction between the public and the private]. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget.

Friday, 20 May 2016

Work meeting on chapter on family policies and liberalism

Today I have taken part in a work meeting where a colleague at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies working a joint chapter on family policies and liberalism.

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Compulsory reading - chapters selected for UiS EVU course

Somewhat ahead of the first gathering, in November last year, I selected chapters (compulsory reading) from two anthologies for the UiS EVU Master course "Philosophy of science and health care ethics".

To be member of PhD evaluation committee

I have tentatively agreed to be a member of a PhD evaluation committee at Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Uppsala. More info as the engagement is confirmed.

Wednesday, 18 May 2016

"Thinking about animals" book top 1000 in Ecology, Zoology at Amazon

Our book Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene now ranks in the top 1000 in both Ecology and Zoology at Amazon. Specifically, it is currently:
#719 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Biology & Life Sciences > Ecology
#836 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Biology & Life Sciences > Zoology
#1268 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Environmental Studies 
Overall Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,051,301 in Books.

Book flyers arranged

Lexington Books has arranged book flyers for our book Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene. They are valid until the end of the year, with a 30% discount.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Dissemination article on perception of wolves on internal UiS webpage

The dissemination article "Forskere: Fakta er ikke nok i ulvedebatten" [Researchers: Facts are not enough in wolf debate], written by Benedicte Pentz (see also previous posts), was published in Norwegian on, the "internal" webpage (for employees) of University of Stavanger, on November 16th 2015.

"Wolf land" article referred to in "Habitat Model for a Recolonizing Wolf (Canis lupus) population in Finland"

My article
Tønnessen, Morten 2010. Wolf Land. Biosemiotics 3.3: 289–297 (online version, published April 23, 2010: DOI: 10.1007/s12304-010-9077-x).
is cited in 
Kaartinen, Salla, Harri Antikainen and Ilpo Kojola (2015). Habitat Model for a Recolonizing Wolf (Canis lupus) population in Finland. Annales Zoologici Fennici 52: 77–89.
Excerpt (pp. 77-78):
In Fennoscandinavia, the primary reason for the presently small number of wolves is presumably wolf-human conflicts, including wolf predation on semi domesticated reindeer herds in Northern parts of Norway, Sweden and Finland and sheep flocks especially in Norway, as well as wolf attacks on dogs, a problem that concerns all Nordic countries (Kojola & Kuittinen 2002, [...] Tønnesen 2010).

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

"Umwelt transitions" paper cited in Kiiroja MA

My article
Tønnessen, M. 2009. Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change. Biosemiotics 2(1): 47–64.
is referred to in

Kiiroja, Laura 2014. The zoosemiotics of socialization: Case-study in socializing red fox (Vulpes vulpes) in Tangen Animal Park, Norway. Master thesis. Tartu: University of Tartu. Available online:

"Umwelt theory which, in this thesis, is predominantly based on the works of Jakob von Uexküll and Morten Tønnessen." [p. 6] 
"While Uexküll claimed the most important functional circles in most animals’ Umwelts to be the circles of physical medium (i.e. the surrounding environment), food, enemy, and sex (Uexküll 1982: 67), it might be more adequate to adjust those circles as physical medium, food, enemy and partner (Tønnessen 2009: 54). This adjustment is important when considering the various kinds of social relationships besides the reproductive ones, that function as partnerships in the animal’s Umwelt. At least in a zoo environment, these other kinds of partnership obtain a comparable value for the animal as the relationship with a potential breeding partner has.
Perhaps, the importance of Umwelt apprehension in the zoo animals is most adequately described by Norwegian philosopher and biosemiotician Morten Tønnessen. Tønnessen has brought out the concept of ontological niche, being inspired by Danish biosemiotician Jesper Hoffmeyer’s theory of semiotic niche. While Hoffmeyer’s semiotic niche involves all the interpretive challenges offered for the animal by its ecological niche (Hoffmeyer 2008: 13), then Tønnessen’s ontological niche involves the set of the animal’s active relationships at the current moment of the history of nature (Tønnessen 2009: 54). The ontological niche, therefore, determines the area in the phenomenal world occupied by the animal. Here, Tønnessen has depicted the ontological niche as phenomenal fields, where one animal’s phenomenal fields overlap with those of the other animals with whom it is in interaction. (Tønnessen 2009: 54) Such ontological map sufficiently describes the possibilities of human-animal relationships (as well as animal-animal relationships). For facilitative reasons, it must be realized that in order to establish positive human-animal relationships, man has to “move” from the enemy phenomenal field (functional circle) of the animal to the partner phenomenal field (functional circle). It seems to the author that such Umwelt reconstruction is not as simple, but includes transition-phases of “rather negative significane”, “neutral significance”, “rather positive significance” of people, before people in general obtain a meaning-carrier of a partner in the animal’s Umwelt. To make it even more complicated, it so happens that some people, who have a strong positive relationship with the animal, are considered as partners, where unfamiliar people could still, by default, carry a meaning of an enemy. The importance of Umwelt reconstruction (with a goal to change the meaning-carrier of people in general) is crucial for captive animal welfare, and, in the opinion of the author, should be consciously aimed in zoos, where different human-animal encounters are inevitable. Socialization is the part of animal welfare programme, which predominantly solves this problem." [p. 25-26] 
"Only in means of positive experience is it possible to move man’s meaning-carrier from the phenomenal field (or functional circle) of enemy to the phenomenal field of partner in the animal’s Umwelt (Tønnessen 2009: 54)." [p. 68]

COST GroupHouseNet call for applications for research exchange

The COST action GroupHouseNet - Synergy for preventing damaging behaviour in group housed pigs and chickens - has issued a call for applications for research exchange. The deadline is May 31st. The call for applications is available at the webpage

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

No participation in IRIS application

Despite a topical change occurring the last few days, I recently confirmed my interest in being part of a research application initiated by a researcher from IRIS - International Research Institute of Stavanger, but today I was told I will not be included in the application after all, due to disagreement about deep ecology.

See also:

Monday, 9 May 2016

Wolf socialization article renamed

My article-in-progress with Laura Kiiroja "Socialization of wolves" is tentatively retitled "Socialization of captive wolves facilitates animal welfare and behavior".

"Thinking about animals..." on Amazon

Here is Amazon´s page for our new book Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene.

Current sales data indicate:
#1766 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Biology & Life Sciences > Ecology
#1861 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Biology & Life Sciences > Zoology
#3046 in Books > Textbooks > Science & Mathematics > Environmental Studies

Friday, 6 May 2016

Radio appearance discussing culling of healthy zebra in Kristiansand Zoo

Today I appeared on regional Norwegian radio, on NRK Sørlandet, discussing the ethics of culling healthy zoo animals - specifically a zebra culled by Kristiansand Zoo recently (and wolves and kangaroos the last couple of years). I did this as chair of the Kristiansand division of the Green Party of Norway. A news story entitled "- Uetisk av dyreparken å avlive friske dyr" [Unethical of the zoo to cull healthy animals] also appeared this evening, based on the radio discussion.

Thursday, 5 May 2016

Animals in Norwegian politics chapter proof-read, re-named

I have approved final editing of my book chapter “A Critical Reading of Mentions of Animals in Norwegian Political Party Programs”, which has, upon suggestion by the editors, been renamed “Animals in Norwegian Political Party Programs: A Critical Reading”.

Book with "Agency in Biosemiotics and Enactivism" renamed

I have been informed that my book chapter "Agency in Biosemiotics and Enactivism" is print-ready, as are now all chapters for the book formerly work-titled "Establishing cognitive semiotics". The book now has a new title. Reference:
Tønnessen, Morten, forthcoming. Agency in biosemiotics and enactivism. In Jordan Zlatev, Göran Sonesson and Piotr Konderak (Eds.), Meaning, Mind and Communication: Studies in Cognitive Semiotics (Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang).

Wolf Symposium linking to interview on Swedish Radio

The webpage of the Wolf Symposium now links to Sara Sällströms report for Swedish public radio "När vilda djur blir försöksdjur" [When wild animals become laboratory animals], which features interviews with me, Katarina Cvek and Olof Liberg.

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Work group on ethical trade - meeting on mandate, action plan attended

Today I have attended a meeting of the University of Stavanger Work group on ethical trade. Among other things we worked on a mandate for the Work group (to be approved), and on the action plan for 2017-2021 (to be approved by the board of University of Stavanger late this year).

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Minding Animals Norway board meeting attended

Last week, on April 28th, I attended Minding Animals Norway´s board meeting, which is held every second month.

Exam questions composed for two Department of health studies Ex.Phil. exams

Some days back I composed exam questions for Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of health studies (course code SVEXPHIL2), for both the home exam and the Multiple Choice exam. I am involved as an examiner, not as course coordinator.

No from UiA

A few weeks back I applied for the position as Head of Department of Nordic and Media Studies at University of Agder. When it turned out I was the only applicant, I thought I had a shot. However, it turns out that an internal scholar was, after the deadline had passed, asked to apply, and he is now being interviewed, whereas I am no longer being considered for the position.

See also: