In 2018, I wrote some 26.430 words on my book manuscript Utslippsfrie nye verden? Karbonfangst i lys av norsk økofilosofi (Emission-free new world? Carbon capture and storage in light of Norwegian ecophilosophy). In comparison, I wrote 19.459 words on this manuscript in 2016 (autumn), and 5.142 words in 2017 (when I took a break with this manuscript to work on the collective popular science monograph Ulvetider, with Lars Lenth and Petter Bøckman, which was published autumn 2017). Total word count is now 58.089. Judging by length alone, I should be able to finish the manuscript in 2019.
Sunday, 30 December 2018
Saturday, 22 December 2018
At the last day of this writing trip to Copenhagen, Denmark, where I have stayed at Radisson Blu Scandinavia Hotel for 98% of the time, I have made edits to "Socialization of captive wolves improves animal welfare and expands behavioral repertoire", which I co-write with Laura Kiiroja, and finished my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries".
And now I am off to Christmas vacation, in a few hours.
Friday, 21 December 2018
Today I have graded 5 papers from the home exam of "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140), and reported grades also on behalf of two other examiners, altogether involving some 54 exam papers.
Thursday, 20 December 2018
The interview with my co-author of Ulvetider (along with Petter Bøckman) Lars Lenth, which appeared in Dagsavisen yesterday, today appeared in:
* Dagsavisen Østfold
* Rogaland Avis
These local newspapers share content with Dagsavisen.
This morning I flew to Copenhagen for a writing trip. However, unfortunately, I also have other tasks I need to get done before Christmas.
Wednesday, 19 December 2018
Our introductory chapter from the 2016 University of Tartu Press book Animal Umwelten in a changing world - Zoosemiotic perspectives has now appeared in Hungarian translation:
— 2018h. Maran, Timo; Tønnessen, Morten; Magnus, Riin; Mäekivi, Nelly; Rattasepp, Silver; Tuur, Kadri (2018). Bevezetés a zooszemiotikába. Filozófiai és történeti áttekintés [Introduction to zoosemiotics. Philosophical and historical review; translation of 2016l, in Hungarian]. In: Szirmai Éva, Tóth Szergej, Újvári Edit (eds), Állati jelek, képek és terek [Animal signs, Pictures and spaces]. Szeged: Szegedi Egyetemi Kiadó, Juhász Gyula Felsöoktatási Kiadó, 15–34.
We have been informed that a paperback edition of our book Thinking about animals in the age of the Anthropocene, published by Lexington Books, will be published this Spring. The hardcover edition appears in 2016.
Lars Lenth, with whom I co-wrote the book Ulvetider (along with Petter Bøckman), is featured in a page-long interview on p. 2 in today´s edition of national Norwegian newspaper Dagsavisen, titled "-Kampen ingen kan vinne" (The fight no-one can win). The interview is, of course, focussed on wolves, as the annual hunting season is approaching - which is one of the reasons (besides the annual incidents of sheep predation each summer) why wolf interest fluctuates in seasonal manners. Our book is mentioned.
Tuesday, 18 December 2018
Today I have attended two meetings, in relation to the transition to my role as Vice-Dean of Research at UiS Faculty of Social Sciences - first as an observer during the last meeting of the PhD committee lead by outgoing Vice-Dean Håvard Hansen, and then a meeting with my Head of department to discuss who might take over my teaching-related responsibilities next year.
Monday, 17 December 2018
Yesterday, in the mature evening, I finished a partial draft of my ERC Consolidator Grant application, themed "Assessment of human and animal wellbeing in the Anthropocene". Just some 15-20 pages so far (sic). I am now awaiting a first round of consulting feedback.
A news story was published today on the intranet of the University of Stavanger, announcing that there is a "Ny prodekan for forsking ved SV" (New Vice-Dean of Research at the Faculty of Social Sciences). The story includes an interview of and portrait of me, and the photo below. Both story and photo is by Karoline Reilstad.
Friday, 14 December 2018
Today I attended an evaluation meeting with some teachers and student representatives for MEES, the UiS Master in Energy, Environment and Society.
Today I was interviewed for a UiS news story that will be published shortly, in relation to the fact that I have been appointed as Vice-Dean of Research at University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences, effective from January 1st 2019 and for two years.
I was first contacted by the Dean Tuesday this week, had a meeting with her on Wednesday, and was formally appointed by the rector of UiS, Marit Boyesen, on Thursday. So for the next two years I will be devoting 50% of my work time to my role as Vice-Dean for Research, and will have 50% for research.
I have applied for holiday this Christmas week, and - belatedly - this Easter. This will still leave me with 14 unused vacation days to transfer to next year (though I did have 4 weeks of holiday this summer).
Thursday, 13 December 2018
Noahs ark - magasinet for dyrs rettigheter no. 3, 2018, features a chronicle by me entitled "Menneskedyrets plass i verden" (The human animal´s place in the world), which is an edited and shortened version of a longer article I wrote some years back.
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Today I have attended a meeting on our NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare", with participation from NettOp, The University of Stavangers IT development unit, focussed in the main on preliminary planning of development of teaching materials.
Tuesday, 11 December 2018
Our book Ulvetider - rovdyret som splitter Norge has now been published as an audiobook, in MP3 format - see presentation and excerpt (in Norwegian) at Bokklubben. The book appeared in hardback edition and as ebook in the autumn of 2017, and has appeared in pocket version and audiobook version this autumn.
This is my first audiobook.
Monday, 10 December 2018
I have just reviewed three conference abstracts for the 12th international symposium on iconicity in language and literature, as a member of its scientific committee.
Today I chaired a half-day seminar on developments on Cuba, in relation to our NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" (2019-2023), featuring a lecture by political scientist Vegard Bye, "Cuba from Castro to post-Castro", and presentation of the NORPART project by project leader Siv Oltedal. Some 18 people attended.
Today I have taken part in the (continuation exam) grading of a bachelor thesis in child welfare.
Sunday, 9 December 2018
Today I attended a teleconference meeting with Executive Officers of the International Society for Biosemiotic Studies (ISBS), in my role as Main Editor-in-Chief for Biosemiotics.
Friday, 7 December 2018
Oddly enough, it appears that my employer, the University of Stavanger, will not any more let me buy books from the only academic bookstore on campus, SIS Bok.
Wednesday, 5 December 2018
Tuesday, 4 December 2018
Today I had this autumn´s 11th writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to (almost) finishing my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries".
Monday, 3 December 2018
Friday, 30 November 2018
Our book Rovviltet på Agder (Tor Punsvik et al.), where I contribute with a chapter, has been reviewed in two newspapers, Fædrelandsvennen and Tvedestrandsposten.
Wednesday, 28 November 2018
After oversleeping, I arrived at the 6th OECD World Forum on Statistics, Knowledge and Policy around 10 o´clock. The forum will close in a couple of hours. Today the "Perspectives on Global Development 2019" was launched.
According to this news article, 3.200 people from more than 100 different countries have attended the forum.
Tuesday, 27 November 2018
I have attended the 6th OECD World Forum on statistics, knowledge and policy since all day and will do so until 4 pm, before heading for the centre of Seoul for dinner. Among other things I have heard Jeffrey Sachs´ keynote address, where he had a quite harsh message about the state of current politics internationally, in the US and beyond.
Tonight I have attended the welcome dinner organized by Statistics Korea, at the 6th OECD World Forum for Statistics, Knowledge and Policy in Incheon.
Monday, 26 November 2018
There is a news story today on University of Stavanger´s intranett titled "Cubansk utvekslingssamarbeid" featuring the NORPART project I am involved in as member of the Steering Committee. The article features an image from our visit to Havana in January.
Here in Incheon I am attending the first day of the 6th OECD World Forum for Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, at Songdo Convensia. Among other things I have heard the opening statement of OECD Secretary General Angel Gurría, and a press conference that involved Joseph Stiglitz and introduced the new report of the High-Level Expert Group on the Measurement of Economic Performance and Social Progress, "For good measure - advancing research on well-being metrics beyond GDP".
Yesterday I flew from Stavanger via Amsterdam towards Incheon, South Korea, and today I have arrived. This is my first visit to East Asia.
I stay at Orakai Songdo Park Hotel, and have this afternoon registered on-site for the 6th OECD World Forum for Statistics, Knowledge and Policy, which starts tomorrow.
Friday, 23 November 2018
Yesterday a chronicle that I co-wrote with Siri Martinsen (NOAH - for dyrs rettigheter) was published in Norwegian national daily Dagbladet, titled "Hvor like er mennesker og dyr?" (How similar are humans and animals?)
I have agreed, upon invitation from guest editors Riin Magnus and Nelly Mäekivi, to contribute with an article to the forthcoming special issue of Biosemiotics "The semiotics of hybrid natures". My paper will be based on my conference presentation "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory", held in Tartu during the recent "The semiotics of hybrid natures" conference.
Today I chaired and co-arranged Dyreetikkonferansen 2018, the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2018, which had the topic "Hvor like er mennesker og dyr?" (How similar are humans and animals?). Some 100 people attended. The venue this year was NMBU Veterinærhøyskolen.
The conference was streamed. Video is now available via YouTube.
The conference was streamed. Video is now available via YouTube.
Thursday, 22 November 2018
We have now revised our editorial "Phenomenology and Biosemiotics". It will now go to production.
Today I attended the annual meeting of Minding Animals Norway along with one more person. We decided to shut down the organization, which has had an inactive board for more than a year.
I have been the chair of Minding Animals Norway since its inception in 2011.
Today I have attended the meeting of Norway´s Council for animal ethics, in Oslo. This was the last council meeting in this term. A new council is to be appointed with effect from New year, for a 3 year period. I am hoping to be able to continue taking part in this work.
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Today I finally had this autumn´s tenth writing day (cf. previous posts), with 6 hours devoted to finalizing/revising our editorial "Phenomenology and Biosemiotics" and towards completing my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries".
Tuesday, 20 November 2018
Today I took part in a 1-hour summery session for the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods".
Monday, 19 November 2018
Today I have drafted annual report and financial report for Minding Animals Norway for the last year, to be presented at the organization´s annual meeting this forthcoming Thursday.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Today I have attended the second gathering of the Norwegian network "Jakt i endring", at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research (NINA) in Oslo.
Today I have registered approval of completed compulsory activity in "Philosophy of science and research methods". I have also conducted an "empty" course description revision for Ex.phil. (no change made).
Wednesday, 14 November 2018
Today I have concluded this autumn´s scheduled teaching - with seminar 6.4 in Ex.phil. and the fifth seminar in philosophy of science in the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods".
Tuesday, 13 November 2018
Monday, 12 November 2018
Updated conference info for NASS XI "Anticipation and change"; Sign Systems Studies special issue planned
Today I have taught for 6 hours in Examen Philosophicum - the last day of teaching for two of four seminar groups, though two seminars still remain the next couple of days. Before the two seminars today I gave the 12th and final lecture, summing up and starting a course in academic writing.
Saturday, 10 November 2018
Today I contributed with brief remarks, along with four or five other people, at the closing segment of the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures - Anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelts" at University of Tartu.
Here in Tartu at the hybrid natures conference I have been interviewed briefly today by a Master student doing work in ecocriticism on the possible application of Umwelt theory and biosemiotics in that context.
Abstract for NASS XI: "Umwelt trajectories revisited: Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century"
I have just composed and submitted the abstract below for NASS XI, "Anticipation and change".
Title: Umwelt trajectories revisited: Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century
Abstract: Two great challenges face humanity in the 21stcentury: To solve an escalating environmental crisis, and to further improve and safeguard human living conditions. However, current policy strategies, such as the UN´s Sustainable Development Goals, in part rely on an outdated model of development that has not proven to be environmentally sustainable (O´Neill et al. 2018).
The main idea of Jakob von Uexküll´s Umwelt theory (2010) is that living beings relate to signs, and that the lives of all humans, animals and unicellular organisms play out in distinctive subjective worlds, or Umwelten. In Tønnessen 2014 (p. 159) an “Umwelt trajectory” is characterized as
the course through evolutionary (or cultural) time taken by the Umwelt of a creature, as defined by its changing relations with the Umwelten of other creatures. The Umwelt trajectory of a creature is thus the historical path of its perceptual and behavioral dispositions considered from an ecological and phenomenological point of view. This notion represents an aggregate, collective (and evolutionary) equivalent to Uexküll’s notion of the Umwelt-tunnel of a single individual creature.
In this presentation, I will apply the “Umwelt trajectory” perspective in an analysis of the future societal transformation that is required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21s century. Key questions include: How are our relations to non-humans likely to change in the scope of this century? And how shouldthey change, in order to secure environmental sustainability? How can improved living conditions for humans be pursued at the same time as society is made environmentally sustainable? I will deal with these questions by looking into questions concerning societal development and transformation.
The liberty to choose how we want to live our lives, and live in accordance with our core values, is fundamentally important for human autonomy and dignity, and thus also for humans´ satisfaction with life. I will argue for adopting a model of development that aims at maximizing humans´ range of options in the long term, especially in terms of life style choices. An implication is that we should avoid policy strategies that in effect lock us into inflexible development paths, such as e.g. those that would make us highly dependent on specific high-tech solutions.
The model of development I defend will have to be holistic in the sense that it will have to consider the interests of both humans and non-humans, and the full range of environmental issues. This is required, given that the future path of our societal development will be decisive for environmental sustainability and human wellbeing alike.
O’Neill, D. W., A. L. Fanning, W.L. Lamb. & J.K. Steinberger, J. K. (2018), ‘A good life for all within planetary boundaries’, Nature Sustainability, 1, 88–95.
Tønnessen, M. (2014), ‘Umwelt trajectories’, Semiotica,issue 198, 159–180.
von Uexküll, J. (2010), A Foray into the Worlds of Animals and Humans with A Theory of Meaning (Posthumanities 12). Transl. by J. D. O. ́Neil. Minneapolis & London: University of Minnesota Press.
Keywords: environmental crisis, social change, cultural change, environmental change, societal transformation, Umwelt theory, biosemiotics
Friday, 9 November 2018
The call for papers for the 19th gathering in biosemiotics has just appeared. The conference will be held in Moscow, Russia, July 1-5th, at the Lomonosov Moscow State University. Abstract deadline is January 31st.
Today I gave the keynote, or plenary talk, "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory", at the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures - anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelts" (University of Tartu 8-10 November). Some 30-40 people were present.
Thursday, 8 November 2018
Our project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" is mentioned in the University of Stavanger news story "Two UiS projects allocated NORPART grants!"
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Today I taught the fourth and last seminar in research methods in "Philosophy of science and research methods" - before going by taxi to the airport, heading for Tartu and the conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures: anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed Umwelten."
Tuesday, 6 November 2018
Another meeting I attended today, with two department colleagues, was a first planning meeting on our new NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" (effective from January 1st 2019).
Today I attended a meeting with fellow course coordinators in the bachelor study in child welfare, discussing revision of course descriptions, teaching in research methods, and other issues.
Today I gave the fourth seminar in research ethics in the MA course "Philosophy of science and research methods", with two student assistents. Today the focus was on tentative research design.
Monday, 5 November 2018
Friday, 2 November 2018
This is the conference page of NASS XI, "Anticipation and change" (Stavanger, Norway June 13-15th 2019) at the website of the host institution, University of Stavanger.
I have conducted course description revisions in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140).
Yesterday we got to know that our project application "Cuban and Nordic welfare" will be funded by Norwegian Partnership Programme for Global Academic Cooperation (NORPART), with some 5 million crowns, for the period 2019-2023. This is first of all a student exchange and educational collaboration project. The project involves collaboration between University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies and University of Havana´s Department of sociology.
Our project is the only one with a partner in Latin America, and one of two projects awarded to University of Stavanger.
Our project is the only one with a partner in Latin America, and one of two projects awarded to University of Stavanger.
I took active part in the application work, and am one of 12 members of the project´s "Academic Collaboration Group" (7 from Stavanger) and one of 5 members (3 from Stavanger) in the project´s Steering Committee.
Thursday, 1 November 2018
Today I appeared on NRK P2´s Verdibørsen for the sixth time this year, in the segment "Oppdrettsfisk i entall". I was interviewed, along with Lisa Bergan (Cermaq) and Øyvind Håbrekke (the think tank Skaperkraft), by Karen Frivik. Program host was Jostein Gjertsen.
In the program I am presented as working at "Høyskolen i Agder" (the University college of Agder - which became the University of Agder some 10 years ago), but in fact I work at the University of Stavanger.
In the program I am presented as working at "Høyskolen i Agder" (the University college of Agder - which became the University of Agder some 10 years ago), but in fact I work at the University of Stavanger.
Wednesday, 31 October 2018
This morning I participated in the first hour of the University of Stavanger´s "smart city" networking workshop - before I had to go to teach two classes.
Today I have taught 4 hours - first the third research methods seminar in "Philosophy of science and research methods", then the fourth seminar in the fifth round of Ex.phil. seminars.
Tuesday, 30 October 2018
The program for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018 has been announced online. I will chair and introduce the conference.
Monday, 29 October 2018
Today I have taught 6 hours in Ex.phil. at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies - first the 10th lecture, on contract theory and political freedom, and then the first two rounds of seminar number five, with discussion, repetition and work with Multiple Choice questions.
Sunday, 28 October 2018
Today I have compiled input to the report so far of the UiS program area for research "Filosofi og subjektivitet", in relation to our application for renewal of the program area.
Thursday, 25 October 2018
Today I had this autumn´s ninth writing day (see previous posts), involving 7 hours of work, mainly on my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" and secondarily on editing our Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" further.
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
Today I have taught in the second research methods seminar in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods", for M-EES and M-BYUTV students, along with two student assistants.
Today I attended a meeting with another teacher and two student representatives concerning our course "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140).
Tuesday, 23 October 2018
I attended half of the staff meeting at Department of social studies today - before I had to go to attend a scheduled meeting with preliminary Master theses student supervision feedback.
Monday, 22 October 2018
I have just called for an annual meeting for Minding Animals Norway, to be held in Oslo on Thursday November 22nd. Hopefully a full board can be elected (new people might be needed). Activity has been minimal the last year, except for my co-organizing of the annual Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference.
Today I gave the ninth Ex.Phil. lecture this autumn at Department of social studies. The topic was ethics of care, ethics of proximity and the role emotions play in moral theory.
Friday, 19 October 2018
Today I have attended a workshop on writing successful ERC Consolidator Grant applications in Oslo (FOrskningsparken), held by Research Council of Norway and hosted by University of Oslo.
Thursday, 18 October 2018
´Today I had this autumn´s eight writing day, involving some 6 hours of work divided between the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" and my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries".
Wednesday, 17 October 2018
Today I gave the fourth seminar in the fourth round of Ex.phil. seminars this autumn at Department of social studies.
I also attended Torvald Øgaard´s final lecture in research methods in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", and informed the students about seminar work starting next week, while also introducing our two student assistants for the seminar work in research methods.
I have signaled that I am interested in remaining a member of Norway´s Council for Animal Ethics, where I currently represent animal protection NGOs (since 2017). Animal protection NGOs make suggestions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (two sets of candidates), whereas the Ministry appoints members of the council. The next period officially starts January 1st 2019.
There is a Wikipedia page - a stub - on the journal Biosemiotics, for which I have been an Editor-in-Chief since 2013. The info on Impact Factor is outdated.
Tuesday, 16 October 2018
I am involved as a key speaker/participant in Amanda Bayley´s application to the UK´s Arts and Humanities Research Council for establishment of a "Bird Music Network" administered from Bath Spa University, where she is a Professor of Music. If the network is funded, my involvement will concern participation at two network workshops, and likely co-authorship on at least one scientific article.
Today I have attended a half-day workshop on applying for ERC grants organized by the program area for research "The Greenhouse" with assistance from the University of Stavanger research and innovation unit.
The preliminary title for my ERC Consolidator Grant application is "Assessing human and animal wellbeing in the Anthropocene".
Monday, 15 October 2018
I am about to finish 6 hours straight of Ex.Phil. teaching - for the fourth Monday this autumn. The topic for today´s lecture (followed by two seminars) was normative ethics.
Friday, 12 October 2018
My keynote speech at the conference “Semiotics of hybrid natures: Anthropogenic ecosystems, multimodalities, transformed umwelts” (Tartu, Estonia November 8-10th 2018), "Current Human Ecology in Light of Umwelt Theory", has been scheduled for presentation Friday November 9th at 12.30-14.00.
An interview with Ingvil Hellstrand and myself aired this Spring titled "Muligheten av Mars" (The opportunity of Mars). It was aired again, in a new program setting, yesterday, now titled "Er Mars menneskets siste mulighet?" (Is Mars humanity´s last chance?). Jostein Gjertsen was program host at both occasions. Altogether this is the third time the interview aired, since it was aired a second time in Spring as part of the program´s weekend summary.
Today I have been in NRK Rogaland´s radio studio taking part in a discussion about the establishment of a new gene bank for wild salmon, and fish farming sector´s responsibility for animal welfare and the environment, with program host Karen Frivik, Øyvind Håbrekke (the think tank Skaperkraft) and Lisa Bergan (corporate affairs director in Cermaq, one of the world´s biggest producers of farmed salmon).
Thursday, 11 October 2018
Today I had this autumn´s seventh writing day, writing some 1.400 words, most of which for the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics", but also some for "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" and, marginally, "Wasted growth - Case study: The American nightmare". I had some 6-7 hours.
Wednesday, 10 October 2018
I have made plans for a writing trip to Copenhagen December 20-23rd. I will likely focus on revising "The epistemology of biosemiotics".
Here´s the Facebook event for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018, "Hvor like er mennesker og dyr?" (the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2018, "How similar are humans and animals?"). For the seventh year, I am one of the organizers, now representing both Council for animal ethics and Minding Animals Norway.
I am contemplating applying, next autumn, for research leave at University of Stavanger for 12 months Autumn 2020 - Spring 2021, probably to write my long planned monograph Being and Sign.
Tuesday, 9 October 2018
Yesterday I attended, for the first time, Norway´s National academic council for philosophy and history of ideas (Nasjonalt fagråd for filosofi og idéhistorie), as University of Stavanger´s representative. The meeting took place in Kristiansand, at University of Agder. Something like 7-8 institutions all over Norway were represented. This meeting happens only once a year, and is responsible for proposing classification of journals and publishing houses at level 1 and 2 in the Norwegian publication point system, among other things.
Friday, 5 October 2018
Today I have entered University of Stavanger´s web publishing tool, CorePublish, for the first time for a couple of years or so, and uploaded a popular science summary of field work (in Norwegian) carried out as part of the research project "Animals in changing environments" (to Norwegian-version website only), specifically as part of the subproject "Representations (both Problematic and Romanticizing) of Large Mammals, especially Wolves".
Thursday, 4 October 2018
Today I had this autumn´s sixth writing day so far, with 7 hours devoted to focused academic writing. I added to the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" and my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries", and marginally to "Wasted growth: Case study - the American nightmare". Altogether I wrote some 1.700 words of text.
Wednesday, 3 October 2018
Below is my revised abstract for the forthcoming conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures: Anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelten" (Tartu November 8-10th), where I will give a keynote lecture.
Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory
Associate professor of philosophy, University of Stavanger
Umwelt theory is an expression of von Uexküll´s subjective biologyand as such it is usually applied in analysis of individual animals. However, Umwelt theory is fundamentally relational, and therefore also suitable for analysis of more complex wholes. Furthermore, depending on the level of generalization, Umwelt theory is also suitable for analysis of behavioral and experiential dynamics at a group level. A significant methodological advantage of Umwelt theory is that it is applicable with regard to both human and non-human experience and action within one of the same framework.
In our age, which many have come to call «the Anthropocene», the human species dominates many ecosystems, and has established a manifold of tightly controlled production systems and resource streams involving or affecting living creatures in both in-door and outdoor environments. In the Anthropocene discourse, the debate rages as to what level of human control is appropriate.
Big picture-notions and planetary perspectives are important, but so is the subjective animal perspective that von Uexküll emphasized. To what extent can these be combined? In this presentation, I will explore to what extent ecosemiotics can be applied in analysis of global human ecology. I will do this by portraying the human species as a global speciesthat gives rise to multiple ecologies built around our presence. I will further discuss climate change in its relation to changing patterns of biodiversity and animal behavior.
One can hardly overestimate the effect the human species has even on wildlife, both wittingly and unwittingly. Towards many species, we behave like an unsustainable super-predator, and we reserve a lot of land for our affiliated species. We furthermore affect the experience and behaviour of animals by causing environmental changes in land, water and air, by influencing prey densities and the occurrence of natural enemies, etc.
In the course of this presentation, I will apply notions such as Umwelt transition, Umwelt trajectory, Umwelt aggregate, andUmwelt alignment, in an attempt to outline some of the most important characteristics of contemporary human ecology. To understand our changing relations to living beings and nature, we must be aware of the different forms relations can take on e.g. for wild, liminal and domesticated animals.
To avoid getting lost in the semiosphere, I will anchor some of my analysis in a case study of human–animal relations in Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the Central Amazonas. This is a seasonal floodplain forest area surrounded by rivers in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. I will investigate human–human and human–animal interaction in the reserve, with a main focus on indigenous communities and their relations to two primate species, namely the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) and the black-headed squirrel monkey (Saimiri vanzolinii).
Morten Tønnessen (born 1976) is Associate professor of philosophy at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. He has worked with Umwelt theory since his Master degree (University of Oslo 2002), and conducted his doctoral studies at University of Tartu (2011). Tønnessen has published extensively within biosemiotics and human-animal studies, and is currently President of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies and Main Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics. Academic (b)log: http://UtopianRealism.blogspot.com.
I have been informed that the committee that will consider my application for promotion to professor of philosophy has now formally been appointed. Their recommendation is due January 3rd 2019.
Today I have attended a Skype meeting involving an advisor from the Research Council of Norway (plus two advisors from University of Stavanger) where I was advised on CV, track record and application writing in relation to my forthcoming ERC Consolidator Grant application, due in February.
Tuesday, 2 October 2018
The English language stylesheet of Zeitschrift for Semiotik features two references to my research, based as examples.
Excerpt - example of block citation (pt. 3.7):
While there is no consensus on the terms “agent” and “agency”, most biosemioticians appear to agree that core attributes of an agent include goal- directedness, self-governed activity, processing of semiosis and choice of action (Tønnessen 2015: 139–140).
Excerpt - example of translated journal article (p.t. 5.2):
Uexküll, Jakob von (1917). Darwin und die englische Moral. Deutsche Rundschau 173, 215–242. English translation by Morten Tønnessen as: Uexküll, Jakob von (2013). Darwin and the English morality. Biosemiotics 6, 3, 449–471.
Monday, 1 October 2018
Thursday, 27 September 2018
An interview with me aired on Verdibørsen earlier today, titled "Menneskeheten i puberteten" (Humanity in puberty). In the interview I relate to Arne Næss´ thoughts about war and peace and the long-term maturing of humanity, admit to occasionally longing for a new civilization, and identify as a liberal deep ecologist. Program host Jostein Gjertsen presents the interview as Verdibørsen´s contribution to Forskningsdagene, an event which this year has "oppvekst" (childhood, upbringing) as theme.
Yesterday I travelled to Switzerland, flying to Zürich, from Stavanger via Copenhagen, to take part in the study trip of Norway´s Council for animal ethics, of which I am a member (representing animal protection NGOs). I then went to Tänikon by car to meet the others, and we then went by car to Wädensvil, where we visited ZHAW Wädenswil (a campus of Zurich University of Applied Sciences) to look at their aquaculture research. After this we went to Chur to stay the night.
Today we first went to Landquart, to be shown around at Plantahof, an agricultural knowledge center in the canton of Graubünden. In this canton as much as 60% of all farms are organic. Then we went to Domleschg where we visited an organic farm which practices slaughter of calves on-farm. Finally we went to Schwägalp to stay the night there.
Tuesday, 25 September 2018
Today I have given the third seminar in the third round of Ex.phil. seminars (the last one in this round, since two were merged due to my travels starting tomorrow.).
I am now through with half of the Ex.phil. teaching this autumn semester - and more than half of my teaching in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods".
Today I attended a planning meeting for use of student assistants in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", in the seminars in research methods, which will be led by me.
Today I was interviewed by Jostein Gjertsen on characterizations of humanity as being at a teenage stage of development.
Monday, 24 September 2018
Today I have taught for 6 hours in Examen Philosophicum at Department of social studies - first the 6th lecture (on the human condition and such), and then the first and second of the third round of seminars (Sith one of them being two seminar-groups merged into one due to forthcoming travels).
Friday, 21 September 2018
Thursday, 20 September 2018
Today I had this autumns fifth writing day - and, with 7 hours, the longest so far (I find it practical to have a writing day on Thursdays and then catch up with email and other tasks on Fridays - Monday to Wednesday I am (mostly) teaching).
I did different kinds of work with five different articles (including writing new text on four), so the day was a bit fragmented in terms of focus.
Wednesday, 19 September 2018
Biosemiotics volume 11, number 2 has been published. This is a special issue edited by Andrew Winters, "Semiotic aspects of the extended synthesis".
Today I participated in the first planning meeting for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018, which will take place November 23rd at Adamstuen, Oslo. This will be the 7th annual conference.
According to ResearchGate, our review article "Hundred introductions to semiotics, for a million students: Survey of semiotics textbooks and primers in the world" (Kalevi Kull et al. 2015) has achieved 600 reads there.
Today we had the third philosophy of science seminar in the master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", involving student presentations about "global species" and the Anthropocene.
Tuesday, 18 September 2018
Today we had the third seminar in philosophy of science in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods". The seminar included three student presentations of two Norwegian eco-philosophers, Peter Wessel Zapffe and Arne Næss.
Monday, 17 September 2018
Today I was at NRK Rogaland to record an interview with me and professor of criminology Ragnhild Sollund (University of Oslo) on issues related to animal ethics and human dignity.
Today I gave the fifth lecture this autumn in Ex.phil. The topic was mainly hermeneutics and questions concerning objective vs. subjective approaches to understanding human matters.
Saturday, 15 September 2018
I have just received 10 copies of the pocket book version of our book Ulvetider - Rovdyret som splitter Norge, which has been published in September and is now in sale in book stores, kiosks and supermarkets.
Friday, 14 September 2018
Today I had this autumn´s fourth writing day, with some 5 hours of writing time - while I was watching the twins (kindergarten closed for planning day). I did some writing on "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" and on the forthcoming Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and Biosemiotics".
I also started keeping track of progression in writing of academic articles (I am starting to look upon both academic and other writing in terms of handicraft), by word count. I imagine that 1.000 words per writing day is a decent result, resulting in ca. 50.000 words of academic writing per year (I also devote separate focused time to work on selected book projects, mostly in evenings).
Thursday, 13 September 2018
The second call for papers for the 11th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies, held on University of Stavanger June 13-15th 2019, has appeared. It is available on the NASS webpage. Abstract deadline is December 10th.
There are four keynote speakers:
- Nora Bateson
- Ingvil Hellstrand
- Jon Kvist
- Jaan Valsiner
The book Rovviltet på Agder, edited by Tor Punsvik, will be available for sale October 15th and launched at Nordli bookshop at Evje on October 24th. Here is the publisher´s (Bokbyen forlag) webpage for the book.
Wednesday, 12 September 2018
Today I have given the fourth round of the second Ex.phil. seminar this fall, i.e. the eight seminar counting consecutively. I have also facilitated and moderated the first seminar in philosophy of science in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", which involved two student group presentations (of texts by Michael Polanyi and David Abram). Some 50 students attended each of the seminars.
Tuesday, 11 September 2018
My book review, published in Prosa, of the anthology Sann opplysning? is cited on the publisher´s page for the book (CappelenDamm).
Monday, 10 September 2018
Today I have taught for 6 hours in Examen philosophicum at Department of social studies. First the fourth lecture this autumn, then the first two rounds of the second seminar. The lecture topic today was different forms of knowledge.
Friday, 7 September 2018
I have accepted to become a member of the scientific committee of the 12th International Symposium on Iconicity in Language and Literature (ILL12).
I have just submitted an application for being promoted as full professor in philosophy to University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences. 31 attachments, about 600 pages of text.
I have today communicated that I quit as the academic member of University of Stavanger´s Work group on ethical trade.
I have negotiated with Department of media studies and social science that I will supervise a Master student in the Master in Energy, environment and Society, next Spring. In return, I will grade fewer exam papers in "Philosophy of science and research methods".
Thursday, 6 September 2018
Today I had the third writing day this autumn (out of four planned so far), with 5 hours off-email time devoted to focused academic writing. I wrote a little bit on "The case for minimizing anthropogenic mortality in wildlife management" and more on "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries". Altogether I wrote close to 1.000 words.
Wednesday, 5 September 2018
Today I have given the fifth and last lecture in philosophy of science in the master course "Philosophy of science and research methods". The topic was mainly ethical issues facing researchers.
Tuesday, 4 September 2018
Today I gave the fourth lecture on philosophy of science in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods". The pic was rationality in relation to theory choice and scientific change.
Monday, 3 September 2018
Today I gave the third Ex.phil. lecture this autumn at Department of social studies. The topic was different kinds of explanations in the social sciences.
Friday, 31 August 2018
Thursday, 30 August 2018
As of June 2012 - according to an old note - Google Scholars (cf. my profile) listed 19 academic articles of mine, which were in total cited 32 times, and I had an h-index of 3 (meaning that 3 of my articles had been cited at least 3 times each).
6 year on, I have according to Google Scholar been cited 324 times, and I have an h-index of 9 (up 1) as well as an h10-index of 9 (up 1; meaning that 9 of mine articles have been cited at least 10 times each). This is up 12 since August 20th. My 9th article to reach 10 citations is "Outline of an Uexküllian bio-ontology", my very first academic article, published in 2001.
Today I attended a half-day "fagdag" at Department of social studies for PhD supervisors, with training by Anne Lee.
Today I attended the first half hour of IPSOS´s presentation of Norsk Monitor data at University of Stavanger. I will get access to the data for research purposes.
Today I had the first PhD supervision session for this autumn. Will happen once a month. For now I do not have any more Master or Bachelor students assigned for supervision (Bachelor thesis supervision is in Spring only).
Wednesday, 29 August 2018
Today I gave the third lecture on introductory philosophy of science in "Philosophy of science and research methods". Some 40 students attended.
I gave one Ex.phil. seminar yesterday and another one today, thus completing the first round of four seminars.
Monday, 27 August 2018
Today I have taught for 6 hours consecutively in Examen Philosophicum at Department of social studies - first the second lecture, and then the two first rounds of the first of six seminars.
Compared with earlier years I have adjusted the seminar arrangement somewhat with 15 minutes used for Q & A or repetition based on student questions. There are also a discussion, as before, and work with Multiple Choice questions, as before (but with half an hour only now for the last task).
My letter to the editor published as "Samfunnet trenger generalister" appeared in Stavanger Aftenblad in print last Friday, and online today. It is part of an ongoing debate about Examen philosophicum, Norway´s introductory course in philosophy.
Friday, 24 August 2018
Today I have acted as external examiner at two philosophical Master degree defences at University of Oslo (Norun Pernell Haugen and Hilde Andenæs), both with an animal theme.
Thursday, 23 August 2018
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Today I have given the second lecture on philosophy of science in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods". Topics covered were demarcation of science and scientific reasoning. Some 60 students attended.
Tuesday, 21 August 2018
Today I gave the first lecture in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", which is now followed by the students of two master degree programs - Master in energy, environment and society (MEES) and Master in urban planning (M-BYUTV), altogether some 65 students. Today we went through course information, started organizing/planning student presentations, and covered the introduction of the philosophy of science text book.
Monday, 20 August 2018
In "From the hiatus model to diffuse discontinuities: A turning point in human-animal studies", published online by Biosemiotics, Carlo Brentari cites three articles of mine:
- Tønnessen, M. (2009). Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change. Biosemiotics, 2(1), 47–64.
- Tønnessen, M. (2014). Umwelt trajectories. Semiotica, 198, 159–180.
Tønnessen, M. (2016). The semiotics of predation and the umwelten of large predators. In T. Maran, M. Tønnessen, & K. Armstrong Oma (Eds.), Animal umwelten in a changing world: Zoosemiotic perspectives (pp. 150–118). Tartu: University of Tartu Press.
Excerpt (p. 10):
A good way to introduce the approach of the diffuse discontinuities as an alternative to the hiatus model is to discuss how the mentioned authors (Scheler, Gehlen, Plessner, Cassirer, and Langer) interpret the thought of Jakob von Uexküll. With impressive regularity, all of them present as the main Uexküllian concept the strict tie between the effector system (action) and the receptor system (perception) that characterises all animal organisation, but not the human life form. In other words, they make of Uexküll champion of the hiatus model [...]
The direct reading of Uexküll’s writings and the interpretation of his work given by Thomas Sebeok (Sebeok 1979, 2001), von Uexküll (1981), and many other recent scholars (Hoffmeyer 1996; Kull 1998, 2001, 2010; Deely 2004; Rüting 2004; Barbieri 2007; Magnus 2008; Tønnessen 2009, 2014, 2016; Favareau 2010; Petrilli and Ponzio 2002; Farina and Pieretti 2014; Salthe 2014; Kleisner 2015; Maran 2016) tell us another story. In Uexküll’s thought, the constitution of the Umwelt is a transcendental process through which the animal organism transforms the stimuli impinging from the outer reality in perceptive and operative signs (on the validity of this interpretation of the Umwelt concept for all levels of animal life see Brentari 2015: 89-95, 107-115); the interaction of both kinds of signs does not at all follow a mechanical immediacy, but is, instead, a sort of subject-mediated tuning of action and perception.
Today I gave the first Ex.Phil. lecture this autumn at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. The topics were: What is philosophy? And, what can we know?
Friday, 17 August 2018
Today I participated, as internal examiner, in the oral exam held in relation to Linn Tjøtta´s Master degree defence. The grade for the thesis was given two days ago.
Thursday, 16 August 2018
I had scheduled to have my first "writing day" of the autumn today, but since my son starts school today (and was at home yesterday since SFO was closed), and I also have an email backlog to take care of, it only amounted to 90 minutes of thought-gathering (on a forthcoming editorial for Biosemiotics plus revision of "Introducing a notion of accumulated GDP").
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Today I presented basic information about Ex.Phil. to child welfare students at Department of social studies, University of Stavanger. I was accompanied by my oldest son.
Tuesday, 14 August 2018
The latest Dyrevernalliansen email newsletter, Dyrevern Viten, makes mention of and links to Norway´s Council for animal ethics´ statement on tagging of wild animals, which I drafted (under the heading "Viltmerking ute av kontroll").
Today I have briefly presented course information on Ex.Phil. (SVEXPHIL10) for social work students here at Department of social studies.
Monday, 13 August 2018
Today I have attended a meeting with two colleagues concerning the MEES course (Master in energy, environment and society) I am course coordinator for, "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140), for planning purposes.
I have, at long last, received my copy of Carlo Brentari´s book Jakob von Uexküll - The discovery of the Umwelt between biosemiotics and theoretical biology, published by Springer in 2015 - for which I wrote the introduction chapter.
Today I attended an introduction meeting with the new MEES students (Master in Energy, Environment and Society). Teaching starts next week.