Friday, 6 December 2019
Today I had an article writing day, with some 6 hours devoted to work on revising "What can be known about future Umwelten?" I have made three more figures, namely "The minimal Umwelt generally", "Umwelt prediction" and "Umwelt scenarios" (the two latter improvements of earlier attempts, now that I am using Google Drawing), and added some 600 words to the text.
This brings the number of article writing days this autumn up to 28,5.
Thursday, 5 December 2019
Today I have attended the faculty leadership meeting at Faculty of social sciences, and a meeting with UIS´ Vice-Rector for research in relation to research strategy.
Wednesday, 4 December 2019
Today I have had half a writing day, with some 2,5 hours devoted to various academic writing work. This includes planning for the revision of "Current human ecology in Amazonas and beyond: An ecosemiotic analysis", and for the book project Semiotic agency: Science beyond mechanism (see previous post about recent acceptance). I also wrote some 200 words on "What can be known about future Umwelten?"
This brings the total number of article writing days this autumn up to 27,5.
Today I was notified that our book proposal Semiotic agency: Science beyond mechanism has been accepted by Springer Nature with plans for publishing the book in their Biosemiotics book series. Planned publication is in 2021. Alexei Sharov is first author, whereas I am second author for the book.
Today I attended the appointments committee meeting of the Faculty of social sciences - but only two people with voting rights were present. We had our say about some cases, awaiting written input from other members, and decided that one case is to be rescheduled for the next meeting.
I also attended a planning meeting related to Network for welfare research (workshop plans and efforts to establish the steering group).
Tuesday, 3 December 2019
Today I have chaired the annual seminar in research ethics of University of Stavanger, arranged by the UIS research unit in collaboration with the faculties-initiative Forum for forskning. The topics were publication ethics (lecture by COPE council member Frits Rosendaal) and handling of sensitive personal data. Some 90 people attended, at Måltidets hus.
Monday, 2 December 2019
Today I attended the rector meeting at University of Stavanger (for the second time - standing in for Dean at Faculty of social sciences Gro Ellen Mathisen), the Forskningsutvalget (research committee) meeting, and the first 15 minutes of the Vice-Dean for research meeting chaired by Vice-Rector for Research Merete Vadla Madland.
Sunday, 1 December 2019
Our editorial "Jesper Hoffmeyer´s biosemiotic legacy" was published online in Biosemiotics on November 22nd. Read it by following this link: https://rdcu.be/bX1YN
Tønnessen, Morten, Alexei Sharov & Timo Maran 2019. Jesper Hoffmeyer's Biosemiotic Legacy. Editorial. Biosemiotics 12(3). Published online November 22nd 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s12304-019-09369-5.
Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics" was published online (Open Access) in Journal of agricultural and environmental ethics November 22nd. Already 332 downloads. Link for reading (and download): https://rdcu.be/bX1XR
Mia Fernyhough, Christine J. Nicol, James Yeates, Michael J. Toscano & Morten Tønnessen 2019. The ethics of laying hen geneticshttps://rdcu.be/bX1XR. Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics. Published online November 22nd 2019. DOI: 10.1007/s10806-019-09810-2.Abstract:
Despite societal concerns about the welfare of commercial laying hens, little attention has been paid to the welfare implications of the choices made by the genetics companies involved with their breeding. These choices regarding trait selection and other aspects of breeding significantly affect living conditions for the more than 7 billion laying hens in the world. However, these companies must consider a number of different commercial and societal interests, beyond animal welfare concerns. In this article we map some of the relevant dilemmas faced by genetics companies in order to outline the scope of opportunities to improve welfare under current market conditions. This includes identifying cases where different animal welfare concerns conflict. We discuss the moral responsibility of laying hen genetics companies and the welfare implications that derive from the choices they make and the policies they follow. In addition to evaluating a selection of predominant current practices and breeding goals, we outline different angles from where to assess the moral legitimacy of various industry practices and policies. We discuss specific issues such as injurious pecking, bone health, induced moulting, chick culling and the circumstances of breeding stock.
Friday, 29 November 2019
Today I had this autumn´s 27th article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to revision of "What can be known about future Umwelten?" I made two key figures (namely "Weak signals in relation to threatened and emerging Umwelten objects" and "Three-dimensional interactive semiotic model of environmental change"; where the latter incorporates the notions "Umwelt transition" and "Umwelt trajectory" within a larger whole) and wrote some 400 words.
Yesterday, Thursday November 28th, I talked about the sustainability-themes Universities Norway conference held earlier this week in Oslo for The Greenhouse during the weekly Greenhouse Thursday lunch. Some 10 people attended.
Wednesday, 27 November 2019
Today I have attended the third gathering of the network "Jakt i endring" (Hunting undergoing change), in Oslo Science Park. The gathering amounted to a day full of presentations, including on preliminary findings from a Q survey conducted within the network on attitudes to hunting and related issues.
Tuesday, 26 November 2019
Today I have attended the annual UHR conference in Oslo (at Radisson Oslo Plaza). UHR, Universities Norway (the Norwegian name is Universitets- og høyskolerådet, which translates to "the university and university college council"), is a national association for Norwegian universities and university colleges. The topic for this year´s conference has been "Collaboration for a sustainable society". I attended the session "Education for transformation: Whose values and visions are shaping the future" by Karen O´Brien as well as all plenary session. I also attended the conference dinner.
On the count of Google Scholars, my academic publications have attracted 386 citations to date. This is up 35 since March. My h-index is 10 (up from 9 in March), and my h10-index 14 (meaning 14 papers have attracted at least 10 citations each). On top, "Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change" now has as many citations (37) as "Umwelt ethics", which has up to now been my most cited paper.
"Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change": According to Springer, this paper has 1.900 downloads and 15 tracked citations.
Number of citations in 2019 is said to be 31.
Number of citations in 2019 is said to be 31.
Monday, 25 November 2019
Today I chaired the first board meeting of the new board of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies, elected at this summer´s General Assembly in Stavanger during NASS XI. the meeting took place via Skype.
Today I have had this autumn´s 26th article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to revision work on my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?". I deleted ca. 1.100 more words than I wrote; reworked the disposition for the paper; drafted a list of planned figures; and searched for software for making academic graphics.
At 26 article writing days so far this autumn, the semester´s number of article writing days already by far surpasses that of the Spring semester (16 article writing days - I also had several application writing days). Next Spring even more article writing days is planned.
Year totals to date: 42 article writing days; ca. 40.000 words written in article/chapter format (ca. 14.361 words in Spring, 25.906 to date this Autumn).
Friday, 22 November 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s 25th article writing day, planning for the next semester´s writing day (see previous post) and working on the revision on my article "What can be known about future Umwelten". For the first time this autumn, the word count (written) was negative, since I deleted more than I added (additions were six new references).
In consequence of my more busy work life now that I am Vice Dean for Research, I have, already, scheduled article writing days for next Spring. Counting 53 writing day as of now (with 2 writing days from home each week as the rule), this is the highest number of writing days I have planned for a semester so far. This Spring my research time was too pressed by the Vice Dean role; this autumn I have protected it a bit more strictly.
It also makes a difference that whereas I attended no less than 5 conferences etc. within five weeks June-July this year, I intend to attend fewer conferences next summer. For now I am just planning attending a symposium in May (invited) and 3 conferences next year (one in July, one in August, one in October, the latter invited). I am open to more if exciting opportunities show up, but don´t want to have as busy a summer next year as I had in 2019 - something that also meant I hardly had time to write this June.
To present "The ethics of laying hen genetics" at GroupHouseNet final dissemination event in Paris December 10th
I am scheduled to present our paper "The ethics of laying hen genetics" at the Final Dissemination Meeting of the COST action "GroupHouseNet", which takes place in Paris on December 10th. The paper is co-written with Mia Fernyhough (first author), Mike Toscano, Christine Nicol and Teun van de Braak - and will shortly appear Open Access in Journal of agricultural and environmental ethics.
The call for papers for the 20th gathering in biosemiotics, to be held at Palacký university in Olomouc, Czech Republic July 8-12th 2020, has been released, see conference webpage. Abstract deadline is February 28th.
Thursday, 21 November 2019
Today the 8th Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference (Dyreetikkonferansen) was held, at Litteraturhuset in Oslo. I have been one of four members of the organizing committee. My role today was limited to chairing a panel discussion (see image). This year´s topic was "Menneskets mest avlede venn? Dagens hundeavl i etisk lys" (Human´s most bred friend? Current dog breeding in ethical light). Some 150 people attended the conference, including two school classes.
Photo: Anne Hilde Røsvik.
Wednesday, 20 November 2019
I have just completed proof-reading of our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics", which will soon appear Open Access in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental ethics.
Today I have attended the second meeting of Norway´s Council for animal ethics in this period, at Adamstuen. The meeting included a lecture on reptiles, and a guided tour at Oslo reptilpark, where I held a pyton snake.
I have received reviewer comments from The American Journal of Semiotics, with an invitation to revise and resubmit my paper "What can be known about future Umwelten?".
Tuesday, 19 November 2019
Today I have proof-read our editorial "Jesper Hoffmeyer´s biosemiotic legacy" (co-written with Alexei Sharov and Timo Maran) which will shortly appear in Biosemiotics.
Today I have attended the faculty leadership group meeting, chaired the first meeting of the new ph.d. committee (for the ph.d. in social sciences), and attended a meeting deciding on (proposals for) estimation of work hours for some ph.d.-related tasks.
Monday, 18 November 2019
Today I attended the biannual "Lederforum" (leadership forum) at University of Stavanger, which was focussed on strategy. I also attended a meeting of the steering group for the NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" (our first since this Spring).
Sunday, 17 November 2019
Two days ago I composed the hearing statement of Faculty of social sciences on the University of Stavanger´s new policy for open science (brief comments to the recommendations of a working group).
Thursday and Friday this week, i.e. November 14-15th, I attended the leadership group gathering of Faculty of social sciences in Enschede in the region of Twente in the Netherlands. The program included discussing strategy and visiting the University of Twente - where we had 7-8 appointments including being shown around at two labs. In particular, we met with people representing Faculty of Behavioral, Management and Social Sciences (BMS).
Thursday, 14 November 2019
Kjell Ingolf Ropstad, party leader for Kristelig folkeparti (the Norwegian Christian Democrats) has written a chronicle published in Bergens Tidende today entitled "Skaper vi menneskeverd, redder vi miljøet". In a paragraph about the environmental movement´s attitude to population growth, he cites a book chapter of mine (see link below):
Det kanskje mest bekymringsfulle, er når det tas til orde for drakoniske tiltak for å redusere verdens befolkning. Den norske økofilosofen Arne Næss mente at verden ikke tålte en befolkning på mer enn 100 millioner. På 1960-tallet førte alarmismen i boken The Population Bomb av den amerikanske befolkningseksperten Paul Erlich til at Vesten (herunder Norge) sponset «befolkningstiltak» i India og andre land som førte til grove brudd på menneskerettighetene.
Tønnessen, Morten 2014. Statistikerens guide til utopia II: En demografisk analyse av øko-visjoner om befolkningsnedgang i det tredje årtusen [The statistician's guide to utopia II: A demographic analysis of eco-visions of population decline in the third milennium]. In the Festschrift Motmæle: En antologi til Kjersti Ericsson, Cecilie Høigård og Guri Larsen [Speaking out: An anthology for Kjersti Ericsson, Cecilie Høigård and Guri Larsen] (eds Heidi Mork Lomell and Liv Finstad), p. 435–453. Oslo: Novus forlag. Tilgjengelig via UiS Open Research Archive: http://brage.bibsys.no/xmlui/bitstream/handle/11250/2367876/T%25C3%25B8nnesen.pdf?sequence=3&isAllowed=y
His assertion that Arne Næss thought 100 million people was all the Earth could take is not entirely accurate. What he did say at one point is that he thought a world population of 50 to 100 million people would be sufficient to maintain cultural diversity (and that a lower world population would be acceptable for humans and beneficial for non-humans overall).
Ropstad´s reference to my chapter refers to my Academia.edu page, where the chapter is also available.
Our editorial "Jesper Hoffmeyer´s biosemiotic legacy" has been accepted for publication in Biosemiotics. Handling editor was Kalevi Kull.
Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics" has been accepted for publication in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics.
Wednesday, 13 November 2019
Today I have travelled from Stavanger to Enschede in the region Twente in the Netherlands, to take part in the faculty leadership group gathering over the next two days.
Monday, 11 November 2019
Today I had half an article writing day, with some 3 hours devoted to my article "Wasted growth", and some 500 words added. Worked with calculations of nonincome HDI today. So far this autumn I have had 23 writing days.
Today I have attended two meetings, first appointments committee meeting regarding Head of department for Norwegian School of Hotel Management, then an information meeting centrally in relation to the NOKUT inspection next week. The latter was held in conjunction with the rector meeting (for 1 hour plus lunch).
Friday, 8 November 2019
Today I had half an article writing day, reorganizing some writing day plans for the next couple of months and doing a little work on my article "Wasted growth". Now the fun part begins, with calculations of non income HDI and, soon, wasted growth.
Total number of article writing days this autumn is up to 22,5.
On October 23rd I was interviewed live on national radio, on NRK P2´s Ekko. Program host was Martin Jahr, and the topic "skadedyr" ("pest animals"). The episode featuring the interview can be heard here.
On Tuesday November 5th I gave a public talk at Museum of Archaeology in Stavanger entitled "Mennesket som global art" (The human species as global species), as one of this autumn´s "tirsdagsforedrag" (Tuesday lectures). Some 55 people attended. The event lasted for some 90 minutes including questions/comments.
Photos: Helge Sivertsen
Photos: Helge Sivertsen
Thursday, 7 November 2019
Today I have attended the faculty leadership meeting at Faculty of social sciences, and a meeting related to call for applications for the position as leader of Network for welfare research.
Wednesday, 6 November 2019
Today I had a writing day with some 5 hours devoted to my article "Wasted growth", and some 600 words composed. Total number of article writing days this autumn is up to 21,5.
Tuesday, 5 November 2019
Today I chaired the first Forum for forskning at University of Stavanger in the new forum series. This forum´s topic was open access publication. There was also a debate on the Dora declaration. Some 40 people attended.
Today I attended the Faculty of social sciences´ leadership group meeting - which included a meeting with the Pro-rector for innovation and society Rune Dahl Fitjar.
Monday, 4 November 2019
Today I have attended a planning meeting concerning tomorrow´s Forum for forskning, which I will be chairing (see also previous post).
Friday, 1 November 2019
Today I have been attending a planning meeting for the faculty´s "fagdag" next year, and an info meeting in relation to the establishment (starting today) of research schools in the ph.d. program in social sciences.
50 emails to go...
Thursday, 31 October 2019
With half an article writing day yesterday, and half an article writing day today, this autumn´s total is now up to 20,5 article writing days, with 10 of them in October (a new record). Both (half) days I have been working on my article "Wasted growth - case study: The American nightmare". Some 300 words added today - meaning a table or two, with comments.
Today the board of the University of Stavanger has unanimously decided to approve the accreditation application for the ph.d. program in social sciences, which I am leading in my capacity as Vice Dean of Research at Faculty of social sciences. The reorganized programme, with five research schools, will be in effect from tomorrow.
Wednesday, 30 October 2019
Yesterday I attended a regular dialogue meeting with one of the faculty´s departments, the annual festivities (årsfest), with doctoral promotion and announcement of three prices, and a meeting related to the Network for welfare research.
Monday, 28 October 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s 19,5th article writing day, finishing my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", which I have now submitted to The American journal of Semiotics. With 2.360 words written, this is the third most productive writing day so far this autumn by that measure.
Abstract: This article addresses Umwelt futurology, the study of future Umwelten, i.e. semiotic lifeworlds. Umwelt futurology as I describe it is an interdisciplinary enterprise founded on Umwelt theory but also drawing on work done in other academic studies of future developments. Asking what can be known about future Umwelten, I ascertain that our most solid knowledge about any Umwelt situated on Earth whether in the present, in the past or in the future, is derived from an understanding of what constitutes the minimal Umwelt in general and more specifically in Earthly terms. In the design, as it were, of organisms and their lifeworlds, it is not at all the case that anything goes. Knowledge about the basic features of the minimal Umwelt in effect provides us with the foundational building bricks that we need to construct an empirically informed Umwelt futurology. I argue that both predictions and scenarios concerning future lifeworlds can be developed from within this theoretical framework. While Umwelt predictions are meant to be of a merely factual nature, Umwelt scenarios may feature both factual and normative elements. In the case of the latter, factual predictions are – at least implicitly – complemented with assumptions regarding our preferences or desires with regard to future lifeworlds. While Umwelt predictions can give us more informed ideas about the future, Umwelt scenarios can help us make more informed choices whenever we discuss actions, lifestyles or policies that have an impact on future lifeworlds.
Keywords: futures studies, Umwelt theory, minimal Umwelt, Umwelt futurology, Umwelt prediction, Umwelt scenario
Friday, 25 October 2019
Today - and in part yesterday - I have had this autumn´s 18,5th article writing day, with some 1100 words added to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?"
Thursday, 24 October 2019
Wednesday, 23 October 2019
I have just submitted our editorial for Biosemiotics entitled "Jesper Hoffmeyer´s Biosemiotic Legacy". It has been written by me, Alexei Sharov and Timo Maran.
Today I have attended a meeting of the Faculty of social sciences´ appointments committee (arriving late due to a late bus), and chaired the board meeting of the university´s Network for gender research, which has now been renamed Centre for gender studies (Senter for kjønnsstudier - see Norwegian language news story from the UIS intranet).
This Spring I supervised Ida Bertelsen Tingvik´s master thesis in Master in Energy, Environment and Society at UIS, titled "How animals are affected by climate change - A Zoosemiotic investigation of polar bears and ringed seals on Svalbard". Now the master thesis, which refers to some of my work on Umwelt theory, is available online.
Tuesday, 22 October 2019
Today I attended the Faculty of social sciences leadership group meeting, and chaired the last meeting of today´s Doctoral committee for the Ph.d. in social sciences (marked with cake and flowers). The accreditation application for the ph.d. programme in social sciences was treated and approved by the UIS Educational committee earlier this month, and will be treated by the UIS board October 31st.
Monday, 21 October 2019
Today I had the autumn´s 17,5th article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to proof-reading of my chapter "The true value of "doing well" economically"; editing and finish our Biosemiotics editorial on the work of Jesper Hoffmeyer, and writing a little bit on my article "What can be known about future Umwelten"?
Sunday, 20 October 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s 16,5th article writing day, with some 6 and a half hours devoted to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?" I wrote some 1000 words, which means this is the 7th writing day this autumn I have written in excess of 1000 words, and that the autumn´s total has passed 20.000 words (with October having passed September´s word count as of today).
Friday, 18 October 2019
The University of Stavanger news story about the establishment of Network for welfare research has now been posted on (linked to via) the UIS webpage´s Forskning (research) and Samarbeid (cooperation) pages.
I am involved in organizing a Forum for forskning event at University of Stavanger Tuesday November 5th. This is the first event under that name for two years, and represents a restart of Forum for forskning, in collaboration with 3 other UIS faculties.
Today I was interviewed, along with a colleague, by NIFU in relation to their evaluation of the University of Stavanger´s current strategy (in preparation of our next strategy, for 2020-2030).
Thursday, 17 October 2019
Today I have attended a meeting related to the establishment of a research school in welfare and social work, and a meeting with the Rogaland county authority (Rogaland fylkeskommune) in relation to their work on public health.
Wednesday, 16 October 2019
Today I have had what amounts to this autumn´s 15,5th article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to wok on our editorial on Jesper Hoffmeyer and my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", and some 1000 words written.
Tuesday, 15 October 2019
Today I have attended the Faculty of social sciences´ leadership group meeting - also featuring pro rector for education - and an appointments committee meeting for Head of department at Department of media and social science.
My book review of Lars Svendsen´s Å forstå dyr (Understanding animals) has been published in Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift. Reference and link:
Tønnessen, Morten 2019. Lars Fr. H. Svendsen: Å forstå dyr: Filosofi for hunde- og katteelskere. Book review. Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 54(3): 187–190. DOI: https://doi.org/10.18261/issn.1504-2901-2019-03-06
Monday, 14 October 2019
Today a news story was published on the University of Stavanger intranet entitled "Nettverk for velferdsforskning er opprettet" (Network for welfare research has been established). The news story features an interview with me and is written by Nina Skarpsno Heide.
Sunday, 13 October 2019
Today I have had half an article writing day, with some 2 and a half hours devoted primarily to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", and some 600 words written. Accumulated number of writing days this autumn is up to 14,5.
Friday, 11 October 2019
On Thursday (yesterday) I attended a meeting with Validé focused on Research Portfolio Screening with Technology Transfer in mind.
Today I have had the autumn´s 14th article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten", and some 1000 words written.
Wednesday, 9 October 2019
Today I gave a lunch seminar at Fylkesmannen i Rogaland (County Governor of Rogaland, a federal function in the counties), for employees in their Agricultural department and their Environmental department, titled "Rovdyr og natur fra Amazonas til Hjelmeland". Some 30 people attended.
Today I attended a meeting of the Faculty of Social Sciences´ Appointments committee. Early morning...
Then a planning meeting concerning the university´s Network for welfare research, the establishment of which was formally approved last Friday.
Then a planning meeting concerning the university´s Network for welfare research, the establishment of which was formally approved last Friday.
Tuesday, 8 October 2019
Our Baltic-Norwegian application received a positive evaluation, scoring 13,5 out of 15 possible points, I have been informed. However, to get funded, it would need 14,5 points or more, as only 7 of 130 applications were funded.
Monday, 7 October 2019
Today I had half an article writing day, drafting and sketching a Biosemiotics editorial on Jesper Hoffmeyer´s legacy, with some 900 words written. Total number of article writing days is now 13 this autumn.
Friday, 4 October 2019
Today I have had another article writing day, with some 5 hours devoted to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", which is now some 900 words longer than it was yesterday. Total number of article days so far this autumn is 12,5.
I have been notified that my abstract for the article "Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21st century: Umwelt trajectories revisited" has been accepted by the guest-editors of the Sign Systems Studies special issue "Anticipation and change". A full draft is due by the end of January.
Thursday, 3 October 2019
Today I have had half a writing day, with 2 and a half hour devoted devoted to my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", and 4-500 words written. This brings the number of article writing days so far this autumn up to 11,5.
Today I have attended two meetings. First a faculty leadership meeting (with dean, director, and the other vice dean), and then a meeting related to the faculty´s research report.
Wednesday, 2 October 2019
Today I was interviewed live, along with veterinarian Stine Gismervik, on NRK P2´s Verdibørsen (national public radio), in the segment "Fiskevelferd og språk" (Fish welfare and language). Program host was Anne Bøhler. The program can be heard here. The segment lasts some 20 minutes.
Today I have had half an article writing day, focused on my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?" and some planning. I also had half a writing day on Monday, September 30th, finishing my Keynes essay. This brings the accumulated number of article writing days this autumn up to 11.
Tuesday, 1 October 2019
I have been notified that our research application to the Baltic research programme (Estonian call) scheme was not funded.
baltic-Norwegian research application submitted (February 1st)
Yesterday I wrote an essay entitled "2119" for an essay competition called by Norwegian daily Klassekampen and the Stavanger-based economics festival Kåkånomics. The framing of the competition is what the economy will look like in a hundred years (as Keynes discussed some 90 years ago).
Monday, 30 September 2019
Today I have attended the Forskingsutvalget (UIS research committee) meeting, a meeting on a cotutelle agreement, and a supervisory support group encounter in the book café.
Thursday, 26 September 2019
Today I have given two talks at the conference of the Swedish zoo association (Svenska Djurparksföreningen), "Fremtidens dyreparker" (The zoos of the future). My talks were titled "Dyreparker i fremtiden - Om å møte samfunnets holdninger og forventninger" (Zoos in the future - about meeting society´s attitudes and expectations) and "Gjestemøter - snakker vi samme språk?" (guest meetings - do we speak the same language?). Some 40 people attended. My first lecture lasted for 70 minutes including questions, the second one 25 minutes. The conference takes place at Bjørneparken i Flå. This were invited plenary presentations.
Tuesday, 24 September 2019
Today I have attended three meetings. First the leadership group meeting at Faculty of social sciences. Then the ph.d. committee for the ph.d. in social sciences. And finally a planning meeting related to the Network for welfare research.
Friday, 20 September 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s 10th article writing day, devoted to work on my article "Wasted growth". Some 500 words written, this includes 2 tables generated and work on one more commenced.
Yesterday I delivered the paper "Hadde Arne Næss rett om miljøkrisen?" (Was Arne Næss right about the environmental crisis?) at Måltidets hus under the banner of Kunnskapstørst and Forskningsdagene. Some 40 people attended - from what I am told, this is the biggest turnout to date for a Kunnskapstørst event in the Stavanger region.
Thursday, 19 September 2019
Today I have attended a planning meeting concerning a research ethics seminar, another planning meeting on the faculty´s research report, and a planning meeting on the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference (Dyreetikkonferansen) 2019.
Wednesday, 18 September 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s 9th article writing day, commencing work on my article "What can be known about future Umwelten?", with some 1500 words written/organized.
Tuesday, 17 September 2019
Today I have preceded over the trial lecture and doctoral defense of Cato Hemmingby. He defended the ph.d. thesis "Terrorists and Targets: A Relationship Founded on Bad Intentions, Limited Capacities and Risk Willingness". His supervisors were Tore Bjørgo and Odd Einar F. Olsen. The dissertation committee consisted of Anja Dalgaard-Nielsen, John Morrison and Brynjar Lia.
Monday, 16 September 2019
Today I have attended three meetings, including the "rector meeting" at University of Stavanger (first time - features the rector and vice rectors, the deans, and selected directors), and a meeting on the Faculty of Social Sciences´ research report.
Friday, 13 September 2019
The University of Stavanger has published a news story titled "Kan marknaden redde klimaet, eller går verda til helvetet?" (Can the market save the climate, or does the world go to hell?) about UIS events during Forskningsdagene. A profile photo of me is included. The same photo is featured in the most recent UIS newsletter (distributed by email today).
"What can be known about future Umwelten?" presented at world congress in Buenes Aires; article plans
Today, at the 14th world congress of semiotics, in Buenes Aires, at Universidad Nacional de las Artes (Artes Visuales), I presented my paper "What can be known about future Umwelten?" in a parallell session. Some 17 people attended; response was positive.
I am now planning to write a journal article based on today´s presentation, to be submitted to The American Journal of Semiotics.
Our review of semiotics textbooks, has reached 1.000 reads on Researchgate. Read it here:
Thursday, 12 September 2019
Here in Buenes Aires I have, with the help of Alin Olteanu, raised the flag of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS) in the backyard of Universidad Nacional de las Artes (UNA), one of two venues for the ongoing 14th world congress of semiotics. NASS is associated with the International Association for Semiotic Studies (IASS) as a regional organization.
Wednesday, 11 September 2019
The Kunnskapstørst event September 19th is referred to on the intranet of University of Stavanger in an overview over Forskningsdagene (research days) events locally. There´s now also a Facebook event for my public lecture on Arne Næss (see also previous post).
Tuesday, 10 September 2019
On Thursday September 19th I will give the talk "Hadde Arne Næss rett om miljøkrisen?" (Was Arne Næss right about the environmental crisis?) at 4 pm. at Måltidets hus (Stavanger). This is an "Kunnskapstørst" event (a popular science lecture series organized by Validé, University of Stavanger and Innovasjonspark Stavanger) that is part of Forskningsdagene 2019 (national research days). The event has been announced on the webpage of Validé. Register here (for free). Also announced by Forskningsdagene, here.
Mauricio Sánchez Hernández has written the master thesis "Mariposas imaginando árboles de oyamel: Representaciones literarias del umwelt de la monarca migrante y del humano en la ecoliteratura de Homero Aridjis" (in Spanish) at University of Oslo. He refers quite extensively to an article, especially with regard to the tripartite Umwelt model:
Tønnessen, Morten (2015). “Umwelt and language”. En: E. Velmezova, Stephen J. Cowley y K. Kull (eds.), Biosemiotic Perspectives on Language and Linguistics (Biosemiotics 13): 77-96. DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-20663-9_5
The thesis includes a section numbered 2.2.2 and named "El modelo tripartito del umwelt según Tønnessen". Hernández also further develops diagrams based on the tripartite Umwelt model, cf. below (imagen 5, p. 21, imagen 6, p. 21, imagen 7, p. 22).
Monday, 9 September 2019
Today I have arrived in Buenes Aires, Argentina, to attend the 14th world congress of semiotics at the National University of Arts (UNA) and Centro Cultural General San Martins. After a 29 hour long travel, and an hour at the hotel, I attended a first session.
This is my first time in Argentina - and the farthest South I have ever been (beating Sydney, which I visited in 2011, in this respect).
I have just read and reviewed page proofs for my forthcoming book review. Full reference:
Tønnessen, Morten, forthcoming, 2019. Lars Fr. H. Svendsen: Å forstå dyr: Filosofi for hunde- og katteelskere. Book review. Norsk Filosofisk Tidsskrift 54(3): 187–190. DOI: https://doi.org/BOKMELDING 10.18261/issn.1504-2901-2019-03-06
Sunday, 8 September 2019
I am scheduled to speak twice at the Swedish zoo association conference "Fremtidens dyreparker" (The zoos of the future), which takes place at Bjørneparken (Flå, Norway) September 25-27th 2019. On November 26th I will give the two talks detailed below. I am presented as professor of philosophy (University of Stavanger) and member of Norway´s Council for animal ethics.
— 12.15-13.15 «Dyreparker i fremtiden – om å møte samfunnets holdninger og forventninger»
— 13.30-13.50 «Gjestemøter»
Dyreetikkonferansen 2019 (Norwegian animal ethics conference 2019) will take place on Litteraturhuset (Oslo) Thursday November 21st. The planning group consists of Kristian Ellingsen, Knut Bøe, Guri Larsen and me.
After Minding Animals Norway decided to shut down last autumn, the conference is now run solely by Norway´s Council for animal ethics.
Biosemiotics 12(2) has now been published (p. 195-356 in this year´s volume). This is likely the last issue to have been edited by me, Alexei Sharov, and Timo Maran (as EiC replacement is in progress).
Friday, 6 September 2019
Today I had the autumn´s 8th article writing day (half writing day, adding to the 7,5 previous ones), with some 3 hours devoted to revising my chapter abstract for a semiotics companion work and doing some work on my "Wasted growth" article. Altogether some 600 words written.
I have just revised my chapter abstract for a planned multi-volume companion to semiotics, reiterated below. The initial version is to be found here.
Semiotics in ethology and zoology
Zoosemiotics, the semiotic study of topics of ethology, zoology and other animal-related fields, historically emerged as a precursor to biosemiotics and ecosemiotics, with common roots in the Umwelt theory of Jakob von Uexküll (1921, 1934), among other sources of inspiration (see e.g. Kleisner 2008). Thomas Sebeok (1972, 1990) coined the term, established von Uexküll as a key figure in zoosemiotics, and made initial connections between semiotic theory and animal studies. Von Uexküll´s semiotically framed work has influenced ethology directly and also by way of Konrad Lorenz (1935, 1961 ). In contemporary times, Dario Martinelli (2010) and others have developed a history of zoosemiotics as well as contributed to expanding and further developing the range of semiotic studies of animals (see also Maran et al. (eds.) 2011).
Key developments in semiotic approaches to animal studies in recent years have their origin in Italy, France, the Czech republic and Estonia, among other countries. Attempts at synthesis with related fields or approaches have been made e.g. with regard to ecology and ecological economics (Farina 2012), Actor-Network Theory, posthumanities, anthropology, and Human–animal studies/anthrozoology. Other developments are related to work contextualizing Umwelt theory, e.g. within philosophy (phenomenology – Buchanan 2008; philosophical anthropology – Brentari 2015), or criticizing the classical version of Umwelt theory while aiming to update it (e.g. Tønnessen 2009). Furthermore, zoosemiotics has been contextualized within ethology (e.g. Maran 2010).
Critical discussion and integration with related approaches is now resulting in novel models and methods, many of which originating in a growing number of case studies (e.g. Maran et al. 2016). Focus is shifting from objective descriptions of differences in sensory apparatus, communication channels etc. to more dynamical representations with more emphasis on interaction (e.g. Lestel 2011) and hybridity, thus challenging mainstream dichotomies. Particularly, there is rising interest in human–animal interaction, and many authors frame descriptive accounts about such interaction as being situated within an ethical outlook. In doing so, they underline the moral relevance of human–animal sign exchange and the ways in which human semiosis ultimately affect animals.
Today, zoosemiotics is arguably the theoretically and empirically soundest approach to “taking the animal´s perspective”. In the near future, work is needed that 1) connects semiotic studies in ethology and zoology with issues in global human ecology, 2) develops flexible zoosemiotic tools and methodology for application by field ethologists, veterinarians, zookeepers etc., and 3) makes further connections with phenomenology, ethnography, and anthropology by developing tools and methodology tailor-made for studies related to human agents and their dealings with animals.
Buchanan, Brett (2008). Onto-Ethologies: The Animal Environments of Uexküll, Heidegger, Merleau, and Deleuze. New York: SUNY Press.
Brentari, Carlo (2015). Jakob von Uexküll: The discovery of the Umwelt between Biosemiotics and theoretical biology(Biosemiotics 9). Springer.
Farina, Almo (2012). A Biosemiotic perspective of the resource criterion: toward a general theory of resources. Biosemiotics 5 (1), 17–32.
Kleisner, Karel (2008). The semantic morphology of Adolf Portmann: A starting point for the biosemiotics of organic form? Biosemiotics1(2): 207–219.
Lestel, Dominique (2011). What capabilities for the animal? Biosemiotics4(1): 83– 102.
Lorenz, Konrad (1935). Der Kumpan in der Umwelt des Vogels. Journal für Ornithologie 83: 137–213.
Lorenz, Konrad (1961 ). King Solomon’s Ring. Transl. by Marjorie Kerr Wilson. London: Methuen.
Martinelli, Dario (2010). A Critical Companion to Zoosemiotics: People, Paths, Ideas, (Biosemiotics 5). Berlin: Springer.
Maran, Timo (2010). Why was Thomas A. Sebeok not a cognitive ethologist? From “animal mind” to “semiotic self”. Biosemiotics 3(3): 315–329.
Maran, Timo; Martinelli, Dario; Turovski, Aleksei (eds.) (2011). Readings in Zoosemiotics, (Semiotics, Communication and Cognition 8). Berlin: DeGruyter Mouton.
Maran, Timo, Morten Tønnessen, Kristin Armstrong Oma, Laura Kiiroja, Riin Magnus, Nelly Mäekivi, Silver Rattasepp, Paul Thibault & Kadri Tüür (2016). Animal Umwelten in a changing world – Zoosemiotic perspectives(Tartu Semiotics Library 18) (eds. Timo Maran, Morten Tønnessen & Silver Rattasepp). Tartu: Tartu University Press.
Sebeok, Thomas A. (1972). Perspectives in Zoosemiotics(Janua Linguarum. Series Minor 122). The Hague: Mouton de Gruyter.
Sebeok, Thomas A. (1990). Essays in Zoosemiotics(Monograph Series of the TSC 5). Toronto: Toronto Semiotic Circle; Victoria College in the University of Toronto.
Tønnessen, Morten (2009). Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change. Biosemiotics2: 47–64.
von Uexküll, Jakob (1921). Umwelt und Innenwelt der Tiere. (2nd ed.) Berlin: Verlag von Julius Springer.
von Uexküll, Jakob (1934). Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. Hamburg: Rowohlt. Reprinted in Jakob von Uexküll & Georg Kriszat (illustrations) 1956 [1934/1940], Streifzüge durch die Umwelten von Tieren und Menschen: Ein Bilderbuch unsichtbarer Welten. Bedeutungslehre, Hamburg: Rowohlt.
Thursday, 5 September 2019
Today I have attended the first meeting of Norway´s new Council for Animal Ethics (appointed for a 4 year period, starting now), a full-day meeting. The new council leader is Knut Bøe (NMBU), Kristian Ellingsen remains the council secretary. I represent the animal protection NGOs, with Guri Larsen being deputy representative. The council members are appointed by the Ministry of Agriculture and Food.
Wednesday, 4 September 2019
Today I have had the autumn´s 7,5th article writing day, with some 4-5 hours devoted to finishing the book chapter abstract "Wealth and freedom: Beyond planet B" and restarting my work on the journal article "Wasted growth". Some 1.000 words written altogether.
I have just finished the book chapter abstract below, for an invited chapter contribution.
Wealth and freedom: Beyond Planet B
Author: Morten Tønnessen, Professor of philosophy, Department of social studies, University of Stavanger, Norway
The Norwegian philosopher Peter Wessel Zapffe (1899–1990), a pioneer in Norwegian eco-philosophy and the conservation movement, can best be characterized as an eco-existentialist. In this chapter I discuss his economic outlook and compare it with philosophical and economic viewpoints of fellow-philosophers Adam Smith and John Stuart Mill. His philosophy of technology had a critical favour, and he tended to assess technological innovations in light of how they affected what he called the “brotherhood of suffering”, ranging, according to Zapffe, from the amoeba to the human being. In his view, modern humans faced with existential dilemmas “save themselves” by using four “mechanisms of displacement”, namely isolation or expulsion of disturbing thoughts and emotions, conventional beliefs, distractions, and sublimation. As existentialists in general, he favors the authentic, autonomous life. In the context of nature conservation, Zapffe was outraged by the “vandalism” that takes place in modern society in the name of economic progress, because it destroys nature, but also because it removes possibilities for living a fulfilling, multifaceted life in nature (and where else are we?).
A bridge between the thinking of Zapffe and that of John Stuart Mill is implied in the question: What sort of economy maximizes freedom, especially with regard to individual life style choices? The liberty to choose how to live one´s life is fundamental to a liberal such as Mill. He emphasizes the utility that human inventions and action patterns should have for us to label them as progressive or sound, and stresses the value for society of allowing a variety of individual lifestyle choices. Like Adam Smith, Zapffe too was concerned about the moral sentiments of people, though he had a bleaker view than Smith on the impact that egoism vs. altruism has on society´s development. Based on the ethical, existential and economical outlooks of Zapffe, Mill and Smith, I will look for commonalities and differences in their views on wealth and freedom. This will result in a liberal eco-philosophical vision of future societies.
While environmentalists use “There is no planet B” as a slogan, economists and entrepreneurs are apparently not so sure. Once asked how he related to the prospects of human emigration to Mars, Zapffe (or rather his alias) replied: “Sure, and it'll be exciting the first week. Eventually, though, people will start worrying about how much to tax the uranium mines in order to keep the price of margarine down … the whole thing will repeat itself” (p. 57 in Zapffe 1992). The human condition won´t change by expanding the global economy beyond Earth, and if we don´t solve our current challenges here on Earth, it is not likely that we will solve them by settling on Mars, as entrepreneurs such as Elon Musk and Richard Branson have suggested. Earth´s resources are limited, as is the current economic mindset with its visions of endless growth. The logical end point for such visions is illustrated by Trantor, the administrative planet in a future galactic empire as portrayed by science fiction author Isaac Asimov in his Foundationnovel series. Trantor, with its planet-spanning indoor environment, is a planet were nature has vanished, to make room for the administration of systematic exploitation of resources elsewhere in the galaxy. On Trantor, “nature” is but a faint memory. Its wealth is impressive, but trantorians´ freedom with regard to lifestyle choices leaves much to desire.
Yesterday I attended:
* the weekly leadership group meeting at Faculty of social sciences
* about half an hour of the discussions part of professor emeritus Gunnar Skirbekk´s seminar presentation "Om utfordringar i moderne samfunn", organized by Norwegian School of Hotel Management
* a meeting with the leadership of Museum of Archeology, about our ph.d. program collaboration
* a faculty leadership meeting for Faculty of social sciences (dean, director, vice-deans)
I also met with a bachelor student to discuss possible supervision.
Monday, 2 September 2019
Today I have taken part, along with Head of Department of social studies, in opening the annual meeting and symposium of the COLAB network, "Collaboration within criminal justice services", a EU Horizon 2020 RISE project which is hosted by the UIS, in my capacity as Vice Dean of Research at Faculty of Social Sciences. I have further attended the first Vice-Dean meeting with the new Vice-Rector of Research (Merete Vadla Madland), with Research Director Troels Gode Jacobsen also attending, and a research report planning meeting with a colleague.
Friday, 30 August 2019
Today I have had the autumn´s 6,5th article writing day (and the 6,5th in August; one more than planned). The title changed again as I FINISHED "Current human ecology in Amazonas and beyond: An ecosemiotic analysis", adding some 1.200 words to the texts (net). 8.000 words written in August altogether.
Yesterday I acted as external examiner at the oral defense of Adrian Bragstad´s master thesis in environmental ethics at University of Oslo´s Department of Philosophy, Classics, History of Arts and Ideas. Arne Johan Vetlesen was internal examiner.
I have just completed an evaluation survey for my use of an YFF grant (Yngre Fremragende Forskere = Outstanding Young Researchers) from University of Stavanger. Excerpts of my response is available below.
When and how long was the stay abroad?
Several trips, ranging from 2 days to 2 weeks each
What did you do?
Attended the OECD Social Policy Forum in Montreal, attended First WID.world conference (with launch of first World Inequality Report) in Paris, attended and presented at conferences in Mexico City and Berkeley, California, co-organised and presented at research seminar in Havana, field trip to the Amazonas
Who did you visist
Paris School of Economics; Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve (Amazonas); OECD Social Policy Forum (Montreal); Universidad de la Habana (Havana); Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (Mexico City)
Did the visit lead to any collaboration projects?
The visits have resulted in material for scientific articles as well as useful contacts for an ERC-application and NFR-application (two applications submitted). The Havana visit, with further UIS colleagues, contributed to a successful NORPART grant Stavanger-Havana (5 mill. NOK awarded).
How did the travel impact your research?
Useful info and contacts; new research path prepared
Today I have attended a meeting of the appointments committee for Head of department at the Norwegian School of Hotel Management, attended a planning meeting for the event series "Forum for forskning" (Forum for research), and given Ph.d. supervision.
Wednesday, 28 August 2019
Today I have had this autumns 5,5th article writing day, not quite finishing my article now called "Current human ecology in Amazonas and beyond in light of Umwelt theory" despite adding some 2.600 words.
Along with Alexei Sharov, I have co-authored (as second author) the book proposal "Semiotic Agency: Science beyond Mechanism" (18 pp), finished yesterday.
Tuesday, 27 August 2019
So far today I have attended two meetings, namely the weekly faculty leadership group meeting, and the autumn´s first meeting in the ph.d. committee for the ph.d. program in social sciences - the latter of which I chaired. Soon I will attend a third meeting, with a faculty administration colleague.
Monday, 26 August 2019
Today I had the 5-ish article writing day this autumn - half day, bringing total up to 4,5 days. I made an article abstract for my paper "Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21st century: Umwelt trajectories revisited" (first held as a talk at NASS XI), meant for an invited special issue constitution (Sign Systems Studies). I have also started drafting an abstract work-titled "Wealth and freedom: Beyond Planet B".
Since work this autumn commenced after the summer holidays, I have had a new afternoon routine, in-between getting home from work and putting kids to bed, not checking email in this period. On days where I write on my novel, or write (only) on my climate change book in the evening, nor do I check email in the evening, meaning that these days I do not check email between 4.30 pm and next morning.
Friday, 23 August 2019
Today I have had the autumn´s fourth article writing day, with some 6 hours devoted to work on my article "Current human ecology in light of the Umwelt theory: Human-animal relations in Amazonas and beyond", and more than 1000 words added.
My paper "Umwelt futurology - What can be known about future Umwelten?" has been scheduled for presentation at the 14th World Congress of Semiotics (Buenes Aires, Argentina September 9-13th) on Friday 13th of September at 11.45-12.15, cf. conference programme. Session code is V5VI10.45; the session takes place in Aula 5 of Depto. Artes Visuales UNA (National University of Arts) at Las Heras.
Thursday, 22 August 2019
Today I have attended two meetings - one on the establishment of a Network for welfare research (with Vice rector for research, research director, and faculty director), and one on digital registration for Ph.d. courses. I have also graded a philosophical bachelor thesis with a scholar at University of Oslo.
Wednesday, 21 August 2019
Today I have had the autumn´s third article writing day. I further revised a book proposal I am co-authoring, and wrote some 1000 words on my article "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human-animal relations in the Amazonas and beyond".
Yesterday I attended the autumn´s first leadership group meeting at Faculty of social sciences, and four more meetings with colleagues in preparation of various tasks. I also attended the first hour of the kick-off event for the University of Stavanger´s new education quality system.
Tuesday, 20 August 2019
My article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries" has reached 20 reads on ResearchGate. Read it here.
Monday, 19 August 2019
Today I have attended a meeting with a colleague starting work on a research report for the Faculty of social sciences, mostly about 2018. We have also finished an evaluation report on the faculty´s writing seminar.
Friday, 16 August 2019
Today I headed a start-up meeting with a Ph.d. student in our ph.d. program. I have also taken part in a planning meeting with another colleague.
Thursday, 15 August 2019
´Today I had the autumn´s second article writing day, with some 5,5 hours devoted to work on my article "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human-animal interaction in the Amazonas and beyond". I had to do some serious thinking.
Wednesday, 14 August 2019
Today I have had this autumn´s first article writing day, with some 1000 words written on my article "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human-animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond".
Before the summer holiday, four women employed by the Faculty of Social Sciences (where I am Vice Dean of Research) were accepted to the University of Stavanger´s "Kvinner til topps" program, designed to qualify promising scholars as full professors.
On June 15th I took part in (and helped organize) the conference dinner at the 11th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies, at Scandic Forum Hotel in Stavanger. Some 20 people were there.
Yesterday, Tuesday august 13th, I was referred to in NRK P2´s Verdibørsen, in the segment "Er menneskeverdet modent for endring?" (Is the notion of human dignity ripe for change?). The program featured an interview with Dag Hareide and Odin Lysaker on human dignity and the ethics of animals and nature. This was a follow-up to an interview with Teodor Bruu, Henrik Syse and me which aired on July 6th, on a similar topic.
Tuesday, 13 August 2019
On July 4th I attended the conference dinner at the 19th gathering in biosemiotics, in Moscow - at restaurant Durdin.
I am a member of the Faculty of Social Sciences´ Appointments committee (Ansettelsesutvalget). This autumn´s first meeting is concluded now, carried out by email. Similar meetings take place, by email or in person, every second week throughout the year.