Friday, 14 June 2019

ERC CoG application AHAWELL rejected

I have been notified that my ERC Consolidator Grant application "Assessing human and animal welfare in the Anthropocene" (AHAWELL) has been rejected by not continuing to step 2 of the evaluation process.

Peer-review of revised ph.d. program received

Today we received the peer-review evaluation of the revised version of our ph.d. accreditation application in the ph.d. program in social sciences. And it seems like we have done a good job the last few weeks.

"Umwelt trajectories revisited" paper presented at NASS XI in Stavanger

I have just presented my paper "Umwelt trajectories revisited: Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21st century" here at the 11th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (NASS XI). Some 30 people attended.

Wednesday, 12 June 2019

Two meetings

Today I have attended a planning meeting in the faculty leadership ahead of our meeting with the new UIS rector next week.

Plus one more meeting.

Tuesday, 11 June 2019

Two meetings and a supervision session

Today I have attended the Faculty of social sciences´ leadership group meeting - the last I get to attend before the summer - and a ph.d. start-up meeting with a ph.d. student and a supervisor. I have also had the final supervision session with my MA thesis student this Spring.

Friday, 7 June 2019

Terra conference attended at UiT; paper on biosemiotic relationality presented

Yesterday (half day - as I arrived from Germany mid-day) and today I have been attending the (small) conference "Terra: Complex relations and dependencies on the Earth", held at University of Tromsø as the second conference in the series "New Frontiers in environmental philosophy" and arranged by the UiT environmental philosophy research group. Today I presented my invited paper "Implications of the relational nature of living beings for agency, autonomy and moral status", with some 15 people attending.

Second day at Code Biology VI

On Wednesday this week, June 5th, I attended the second day of the 6th international conference, in Friedrichsdorf, Germany. This included half a day with presentations, an excursion to Saalburg (an ancient Roman settlement), and conference dinner.

Ph.d. program accreditation application revised

On Tuesday this week, June 4th, we finished the revised version of the accreditation application for the ph.d. program in social science (178 pp). I have been coordinating the revision work, with much of the work done by two colleagues in the faculty administration.

Tuesday, 4 June 2019

Search image paper presented at Code Biology VI, Friedrichsdorf

Today, at the first day of the Sixth International Conference in Code Biology, held in Friedrichsdorf, Germany under the auspices of the Mannheim University of Applied Sciences, I presented my paper "The search image as link between sensation, perception and action". Some 30 people attended.

Monday, 3 June 2019

Two meetings today, then off to Germany

Today I have attended a faculty administration meeting with status report on our accreditation application for the ph.d. program in social sciences, and the research committee meeting (Forskningsutvalget) for University of Stavanger (my second such meeting, and the last with the outgoing rectorate).

Friday, 31 May 2019

Presentation with Joakim Haaland scheduled for June 25th at IHSRC 2019, Molde

My joint presentation with Joakim Jiri Haaland, "Joy in the open air - outdoor life at residential care" has been scheduled for presentation on Tuesday June 25th at 16.15-16.45 at the International Human Science Research Conference in Molde June 24-28th (follow link for day program and abstract). 

My solo presentation "Uexküllian phenomenology and existential phenomena" is strangely missing from the program.

Thursday, 30 May 2019

Philosophy business thriving in 2018

I have just reported business earnings for 2018, as part of the Norwegian tax settlements. My one-person firm (enkeltmannsforetak) "Spør filosofen" had 93,705 NOK in income, a record (with the possible exception of the year I wrote my grandfather´s biography). The company had 4.008 NOK in expenses, and an operating profit (before tax) amounting to 89.697 NOK (operating profit margin was 95,7%).

The income was mainly drawn from giving a whole course in philosophy of science and health care ethics at UiS (sponsored by Norsk Luftambulanse), and a series of three open lectures, plus composing leaflet text, in connection with the video art exhibition "Vitner" at Sølvberget gallery.

Morten Tønnessen´s impact over time

Her is a graphic version of the Web of Science metrics on my Publons profile. It shows a growing number of Web of Science-citations year by year from 2013 and until 2018 (unlike Google Scholar, which shows a peak for now in 2016).




See also:

Publons profile; 126 Web of Science citations

I have given in to pressure and established a Publon profile, built on my ResearcherID and Web of Science publications (counting 39 according to Publon). Altogether my Public profile lists 48 publications (with the 39 Web of Science publications cited 126 times by other Web of Science publications, resulting in a Web of Science h-index of 7).

Terra invited presentation in Tromsø scheduled for June 7th

On June 67th and 7th I will attend the conference "Terra: Complex relations and dependencies on the Earth", in the New Frontiers in Environmental Philosophy" conference series held at University of Tromsø. On Friday June 7th at 13.00-14.00 I will present my invited presentation "Implications of the Relational Nature of Living Beings for Agency, Autonomy and Moral Status".

Wednesday, 29 May 2019

Spring´s fifteenth article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s fifteenth article writing day, finishing the book chapter "The true value of "doing well" economically" after some 5 hours writing work today.

See also here (with disposition for the chapter).

Chapter "The true value of "doing well" economically" finished

I have just finished my book chapter "The true value of "doing well" economically".

Disposition:
Introduction: The rise and fall of GDP as the measure of “doing well” economically 
Overcoming human exceptionalism in the humanities and beyond 
Economic value and other kinds of value 
Goods in economics and beyond 
Widening our understanding of resources 
Widening our understanding of stakeholders 
Conclusions: The true value of “doing well” economically

Tuesday, 28 May 2019

To give popular science lecture at Museum of Archaeology in November

I have agreed to give a public lecture (45 minutes plus discussion) at the Museum of Archaeology in Stavanger on Tuesday November 5th. My working title is "Man as a global species" (Mennesket som global art).

Research school applications considered

Today I have attended a meeting in the recommendation committee (innstillingsutvalg) for research schools in the Ph.d. program in social sciences.

Monday, 27 May 2019

3 meetings and supervision

Today I have attended a meeting in the steering committee for the NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic Welfare", chaired a meeting with leaders of program areas for research, had a research career consultation (as Vice-Dean of research) and had a PhD supervision session.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Spring´s fourteenth article writing day

On Friday the 24th of May I had this autumn´s fourteenth article writing day, writing on my article "The true value of "doing well" economically" for some 8 hours.

Thursday, 23 May 2019

Faculty leadership group gathering in Brighton attended

For the last three days I have been in Brighton, UK, attending my first UiS Faculty of social sciences leadership group gathering abroad - which are held twice a year.

Acknowledged in Alin Olteanu´s book on multiculturalism

I am mentioned in the Acknowledgements section of Alin Olteanu´s new book. Reference:
Olteanu, Alin 2019. Multiculturalism as Multimodal Communication. A Semiotic Perspective (Numanities – Arts and Humanities in Progress 9) [Acknowledgements – p. xiii]. Springer.
Front matter including Acknowledgements is available as PDF here

Excerpts:
I feel truly in debt to many people whose support, in some cases over years, in other cases in certain localized moments when needed most, has been extremely helpful. Among the many who helped, I would like to particularly thank and mention Peer Bundgaard, Rabih El Chammay, Oana Andreică, Pietro Restaneo, Aušra Berkmanienė, Ainius Lašas, Saulė Petronienė, Aistė Balžekienė, AudronėTelešienė, Eglė Butkevičene, Mariana Neţ, Morten Tønnessen, ...

Monday, 20 May 2019

Two meetings and supervision session

Today I have attended a meeting planning how to revise our accreditation application for the ph.d. program in social sciences, and chaired my fifth meeting in the Doctoral committee of the ph.d. program. I have also had a 2-hour MA supervision session.

Sunday, 19 May 2019

Autumn´s twelfth and thirteenth article writing day; writing plans

This week I have had two writing days, one on Wednesday 15th and another one on Thursday the 16th of May. Both have been quite brief - but I went on writing Thursday evening and am also doing some article writing work today. I am working on completing my book chapter "The true value of "doing well" economically", and have also looked over my articles just published in Journal of Comparative Social Work.

Lately and today I have also rescheduled some of my near-future writing plans and plans for the autumn.

Thursday, 16 May 2019

Two dialogue meetings

I attended a second dialogue meeting with department leadership yesterday (at the Norwegian School of Hotel Management), and the third and last today (at Department of Social Studies), along with the rest of the leadership of the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Wednesday, 15 May 2019

Article, editorial, special issue on welfare (JCSW) published

Our special issue of Journal of Comparative Social Work, "Welfare in Latin America", has just been published. The whole issue is open access. I have been coordinating guest editor, and contribute to editorial plus an article of my own.

References:

Morten Tønnessen, with Sarah Hean, Siv Oltedal and Angela Pena (guest eds.) (2019). „Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries“. Special issue. Journal of Comparative Social Work14(1). 189 pp. URL: https://journals.uis.no/index.php/JCSW/issue/view/30
Morten Tønnessen, Sarah Hean, Siv Oltedal and Angela Pena (2019). Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries – editorial notes. Editorial. Journal of Comparative Social Work14(1). 8 pp. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31265/jcsw.v14i1.230
Morten Tønnessen (2019). Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries. Journal of Comparative Social Work14(1). 28 pp. DOI: https://doi.org/10.31265/jcsw.v14i1.231

Appointments committee meeting

Today I have attended a meeting in the appointments committee at Faculty of social sciences.

Pedagogical development project funds granted

I am involved (though not in a major role) in a pedagogical development project which has received 125.000 NOK in funding from the University of Stavanger´s Faculty of social sciences, titled "Digitale verktøy i internasjonale masterprogram" (Digital tools in international master programs), headed by Siv Oltedal. My involvement is related to my involvement in the NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic Welfare".

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

A seminar, and a meeting (on the go)

Today I attended the second and last day of the UiS Lederforum in Egersund. On the way back home, by car, the faculty leadership had a meeting on our ongoing research school establishment process.

Monday, 13 May 2019

First day of UiS Lederforum, Egersund

Today I have attended the first day of the University of Stavanger´s annual "Lederforum" (leader forum), at Grand Hotel Egersund. The program today has been led by an organizational psychologist.

Sunday, 12 May 2019

Biosemiotics 12(1) published

Biosemiotics 12(1) has been published. This is a special issue guest-edited by Karel Kleisner and Timo Maran, titled "Signs and Communication in Mimicry".

The issue also includes the announcement of the winner of the Biosemiotic Achievement Award for 2018, namely Mirko Cerrone´s paper "Umwelt and Ape Language Experiments: On the Role of Iconicity in the Human-Ape Pidgin Language". 

Spring´s eleventh article writing day

On Friday this week I had this Spring´s eleventh article writing day, with some 4 hours devoted to amending a resubmitted article, and pondering upon the table of contents for a joint book project.

Friday, 10 May 2019

Article submission

Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics" has been submitted to PLOS One. It was transferred from PLOS Genetics a while ago, and amendments to the submission have now been made.

Global CCS Institute webinar attended

Yesterday I attended a webinar held by Global CCS Institute, on "Telling the Norwegian CCS Story: Part 3 - Northern Lights: A European CO2 transport and storage project" - as research for a book project I am working on.

UHR social sciences meeting and seminar attended

Wednesday and Thursday this week I attended the annual meeting of "den fagstrategiske enheten UHR-Samfunnsfag", a national entity for social sciences under Universitets- og høyskolerådet (Universities Norway), representing University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences in my capacity as Vice-Dean of Research. The meeting was accompanied by a seminar and took place at Høgskolen i Innlandet, Lillehammer (Inland Norway University of Applied Sciences).

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Two meetings (at least)

Today I have taken part in the Faculty of social sciences´ leadership group meeting, and an information meeting on research schools on Department of social studies. And then some.

UiS news story on welfare research network workshop

The University of Stavanger has published a news story on "Første workshop for Nettverk for velferdsforsking" (First workshop for Network for welfare research), which I co-arranged, moderated and where I presented.



Monday, 6 May 2019

Two meetings and supervision

Today I have attended a dialogue meeting between the leadership of Faculty of social sciences and Department of media and social sciences, and a faculty-level meeting regarding research schools, and had a MA thesis supervision session.

Friday, 3 May 2019

Four meetings

Yesterday and today I have participated in altogether four meetings on establishment of research schools, with two more scheduled for next week. I have also participated in a planning meeting in relation to restructuring of the bachelor in child welfare (which emphasis on philosophy´s part). Ex.phil. will disappear.

Wednesday, 1 May 2019

Articles cited in Korean environmental philosophy article

Three of my articles are cited in
Nasoo, Kim 2013. Understanding the concepts of co-life and umwelt in an environmental educational perspective [p. 12 Tønnessen 2010c, p. 26, p. 28 Tønnessen 2003 [2009b]]. Environmental Philosophy (The Korean Society For The Study Of Environmental Philosophy) 16: 1–34.
The article, which is in Korean (but with an English abstract), refers to my concepts "bio-ontological monads" and "conceptualized umwelt experience".

Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Welfare network workshop held; presentation given; chair

Today I have attended - and co-arranged, and chaired - a workshop held in connection with the establishment of a Network for welfare research at University of Stavanger. The workshop took place on Sola strandhotell, and some 40 people attended. The workshop included my presentation "Velferdsutviklingen I Norden og globalt" (Welfare development in the Nordic countries and globally) and a session on the story of Siw, featuring journalist Thomas Ergo, Sverre Nesvåg (KORFOR/UIS) and Sarah Hean (UIS).

Monday, 29 April 2019

NASS board meeting chaired

Today I have chaired the board meeting of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies. Amongst other things we talked about the forthcoming General Assembly during NASS XI (Stavanger June 13-15).

Friday, 26 April 2019

A seminar and a meeting

Today I have attended the University of Stavanger´s annual Phd candidate - supervisor seminar, with the theme Open Science and Predatory journals, at Scandic forum hotel. I have also attended a appointments committee meeting in relation to the position as Head of department at Norwegian School of Hotel Management.

Thursday, 25 April 2019

Spring´s tenth article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s tenth article writing day - and the fourth in April, with 4 hours (regrettably not more) devoted to proof-reading our Journal of Comparative Social Work editorial, and adding on to the texts of "The true value of "doing well" economically" and "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human-animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond". Both the latter articles now stand at about 3.000 words, with full drafts expected next week.

Wednesday, 24 April 2019

Doctoral committee meeting

Today I chaired my fourth Doctoral committee meeting since I started as Vice-Dean of Research at Faculty of Social Sciences.

Tuesday, 23 April 2019

Meeting; children at work

Today I participated in - and (in the absence of the Dean) chaired - the faculty´s leadership group meeting, focused on our ongoing establishment of research schools. Two of my kids were nearby, since kindergarten has planning day today.

Monday, 22 April 2019

Spring´s ninth article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s ninth article writing day, with 6 hours devoted to finalizing our editorial for Journal of Comparative Social Work "Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries - editorial notes" (co-written with Sarah Hean, Siv Oltedal and Angela Pena), and working on my article "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory - Human-animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond".

Wednesday, 17 April 2019

Laying hen genetics ethics article submitted to AJOB

Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics" has been submitted to American Journal of Bioethics.

Abstract for UiT Terra conference: "What implications does the relational nature of living beings have with regard to their agency, autonomy and moral status – and our world view?"

Today I have composed the abstract below, for an invited talk at the conference "Terra", to be arranged at University of Tromsø June 6-7th.

«What implications does the relational nature of living beings have with regard to their agency, autonomy and moral status – and our world view?»

Morten Tønnessen
Professor of philosophy at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies

Relationality – the ways in which organisms are involved in relations to other organisms – is a crucial aspect of ecology, and biology at large. In biosemiotics, the semiotic study of biology, biosemioticrelations are understood as relations that involve methodical (regular or recurring) sign exchange. Organisms that are connected by such relations are biosemiosically linked, and have a partly overlapping or complementary experience of the world. By mapping and describing the biosemiotic relations a specific organism engages in, and thus what it relates to as carrying meaning for it, we by and largely describe what being that organism amounts to. Biosemiotic relationality can furthermore help us understand how the individual and ecological level of biological study are interconnected. 
   Building on biosemiotics, Umwelt theory (first developed by Jakob von Uexküll) and deep ecology, I will explore implications of the relational nature of living beings for agency, autonomy, moral status and our world view.
   Agency: In biosemiotics, agency can be understood as semioticagency, which is the capacity of relating to signs. Such agency always involves a degree of subjectivity. All living beings relate to signs. While proper subjects have unified, cohesive experience of their surroundings, quasi-subjects such as plants, fungi and animals with decentralized bodies have semiotic experience but one that is not cohesive or integrated. Their respective agency reflects this.
   Autonomy: By being relational creatures we all depend on others – and yet all living beings have autonomy in the sense that their actions are based on their species-specific semiotic agency. Freedom is related to how what we perceive as meaningful can be interpreted, and what alternative actions we can take in response to what we perceive.
   Moral status: The crucial importance of relations is emphasized in biosemiotic ethics (as developed by Tønnessen and Jonathan Beever). Under current ecological circumstances, many biosemiotic relations are bended or broken by extreme breeding, automated machine-handling, homogenous social environments, industrial-style indoor environments (in animal husbandry), and depleted wildlife. What are the moral limits for such bending of significant biosemiotic relations, in terms of environmental sustainability and individual welfare? Biosemiotic ethics suggests that respecting autonomy and enabling autonomous choices is essential.
   World view: We need to develop an empirically based understanding of the Anthropocene from an animal and organismic (individual level) perspective. Through our affiliated global species such as livestock and pets, humankind partakes in human–animal relations that largely determine resource use and conditions for domesticated and wild animals alike. Improving our scientific understanding of human–animal and other relations is crucial for understanding the world we live in, and the current and future state of the environment.

Acknowledgement: Morten Tønnessen is a member of two program areas for research at University of Stavanger, namely “Philosophy and subjectivity” and “The Greenhouse: An environmental humanities initiative at University of Stavanger”.

Moscow Gathering in biosemiotics talk scheduled for July 2nd

My presentation “How relationality connects the individual and ecological level of biological study” has been scheduled for oral presentation at the 19th international gathering in Biosemiotics, to be held in Moscow July 1-5th, on Tuesday July 2nd at 14.30-15.00, cf. conference program.

Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Meeting on accreditation application

Today I have attended a meeting with administrative staff at Faculty of Social Sciences in relation to our work with an accreditation application for the PhD program in social sciences.

Monday, 15 April 2019

Cristin 2018: 1 publication point; lowest ever

In 2018 I got 1 publication point, for a level 2 anthology chapter (published by Brill Academic Publishers). This is the lowest level of publication points I have ever received (the previous low was 1,8 publication points). The low outcome is a result of a focus, in relation to use of Outstanding Young Researchers (Yngre Fremragende Forskere) funds, on long-term planning and development of a new research path (welfare research) supplementing my focus on environmental and animal issues, combined with timing of ongoing article projects and relatively little time for research in 2017 (2018 was much better in this respect). 

1,0 publication points is below the UIS average for faculty (1,2) but above the average at Faculty of Social Sciences (0,7) for 2018. This is the first time I have less than the UiS average. With 1 publication point, I rank as no. 9 (with two colleagues - so, top 11) at Department of social studies.

Spring´s eighth article writing day

Today I have had this Spring´s eighth article writing day, with 6 hours devoted to starting properly on "The true value of doing well economically" and "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human-animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond". Altogether I wrote (or inserted and edited, from a presentation) some 2.700 words.

Sunday, 14 April 2019

No writing day but some writing

Another article writing day I could not make materialize fully - though I have written some 500 words in the scope of one and a half hours.

Friday, 12 April 2019

Guidelines for research schools related to the PhD program in social sciences

Here are the guidelines for research schools related to the PhD program in social sciences, which I have drafted (in Norwegian plus English translation).

Final interviews with UiS Vice-Rector candidates; proposal

Today I have taking part in interviews of finalist candidates for the positions as Vice-Rector of research and Vice-Rector of innovation and public relations. We have arrived at proposals for both positions (these are confidential).

Thursday, 11 April 2019

Spring´s seventh article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s seventh article writing day, with some four hours devoted to work on language editing of my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries", and first contributions to the editorial "Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries - editorial notes" by me, Sarah Hean, Siv Oltedal and Angela Pena, both for our special issue of Journal of Comparative Social Work "Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries".

Wednesday, 10 April 2019

Two meetings

Today I had the first performance appraisal with the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences, as Vice-Dean of Research. I also attended another planning meeting for the Network for welfare research workshop that will be held April 30th - this time focused on the group work we´ll have.

Interview on leadership and ethics published in LederNytt

I am interviewed in LederNytt, in the story "God bedriftskultur skal lære medarbeiderne å modnes i moralsk forstand" (Good company culture should teach employees to mature morally), where I make comments on leadership and ethics. The story was written by Inger Lise Kontochristos and published February 25th.

AHAWELL submitted to RCN/FRIPRO

Today I have submitted the final version of my research application "Assessing human and animal welfare in the Anthropocene" (AHAWELL) to Research Council of Norway´s FRIPRO scheme. The resulting PDF is 56 pages long (of which project description 10 pages). I apply for 11,999 million NOK, with a total budget of 15,76 million NOK including own financing (mostly of 1 PhD). The project would involve 35% of my work time for 5 years (2020-2024), 2 PhDs and 2 PostDocs, as well as the involvement of five researchers from Tartu University, University of Central Florida, Universidad de Lisboa and BI business school.

Tuesday, 9 April 2019

Second gathering in UIS SQP

The last two days I have attended the second gathering of University of Stavanger´s PhD Supervisor Qualification Program at Sola strandhotell.

Monday, 8 April 2019

Research schools: Call published, with application form, guidelines

Today an announcement text in relation to a call for applications for establishing research schools in connection with the PhD program in social sciences at University of Stavanger has been published, along with an application form and guidelines for research schools. I have drafted all these documents, and also been involved in making final edits with the Dean after receiving feedback on draft versions.

Friday, 5 April 2019

Welfare article accepted for publication inJournal of comparative social work

My article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" has been accepted for publication in Journal of comparative social work. I twill appear in a special issue I´m co-editing on "Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries".

Application budget counseling; PhD program document revisions

Today I have received economic counseling on my Research Council of Norway application AHAWELL, and revised PhD program draft documents (cf. post earlier this week) along with the Dean of Faculty of social sciences.

Climate petition signed

I have signed a petition titled "Universitetene må gå foran i klimakampen" ("The universities must lead in the climate battle") along with 30 other scholars. The petition has been published online by the university news site Khrono.

Thursday, 4 April 2019

No writing day

Today I was planning to have an article writing day - but I have just had too much of other things to catch up with.

Invited presentation to be given at Terra conference in Tromsø

I have been invited by the Environmental Philosophy Research group at University of Tromsø to speak at the conference "Terra" which will be held at University of Tromsø on June 6-7th. The work title for my presentation is "What implications do the relational nature of living beings have with regard to their agency, autonomy and moral status - and our world view?"

Wednesday, 3 April 2019

More job interviews; PhD program documents drafted

Today I have taken part in interviews in relation to the job as Head of Department at the Norwegian School of Hotel Management, as part of the appointments committee.

I also finalized drafts of guidelines for research schools, an application form for establishment of research schools, and an announcement text for the application process. I have also recently finished a draft of the study plan for the PhD program in social sciences. All these noe receive feedback from a facilitation group.

Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Biosemiotics 11(3) published as online issue

Biosemiotics 11(3) has officially been published as an online issue (long time overdue).

Two meetings and then some

Today I have attended a meeting as Vice-Dean of Research with representatives from the Norwegian and Polish Departments of Justice and UiS researchers concerning possible collaboration. I have also met with two colleagues to transfer experiences from my coordination of field visits for MUNDUS students the two last years.  

Monday, 1 April 2019

Two meetings and a supervision session

Today I have attended a meeting concerning transfer of a PhD student to our faculty, and a meeting with PhD supervisors at Department of media and social sciences in relation to our reorganization of the faculty´s PhD program. I have also had a supervision session with my PhD student.

5000 reads on ResearchGate

My research items on ResearchGate now have 5000 reads, I´m informed - cf. my profile.

Friday, 29 March 2019

Interview day no. 2

All day I have taken part in interviews with selected candidates for the position as Vice-Rector of research at University of Stavanger.

Grading explained

Today I have explained the grading of one exam paper in Ex.Phil.

Thursday, 28 March 2019

Half proposal writing day

Today I had (half) a writing day working on my RCN research application.

Wednesday, 27 March 2019

Project proposal feedback

Today I attended a meeting with a researcher from UiS´ Research and Innovation Department getting some feedback on my RCN project proposal "Assessing human and animal welfare in the Anthropocene" (AHAWELL).

Presentation, program for UiS welfare research workshop

Here (in Norwegian) is program for and presentation of the workshop that will be held by University of Stavanger´s Network for welfare research (under establishment). 

Vice-Rector interviews

Today I have taken part in interviewing selected candidates for the position as Vice-Rector of Innovation and Public Relations at University of Stavanger.

Tuesday, 26 March 2019

Three meetings today

Toda I have attended the faculty´s leadership group meeting, a planning meeting concerning our work with re-accreditation of the PhD program, and a planning meeting on research assistance schemes.

Monday, 25 March 2019

Welfare network workshop: Invitations sent; program made public

Invitations to attend our workshop April 30th, in relation to the establishing of a Network for welfare research, have now been sent to University of Stavanger and NORCE employees with an interest in welfare research. The workshop will take place 9.00-13.45 on Sola Strandhotell.

I am scheduled to speak 9.10-9.30.

See also:

No article writing day

Today I was supposed to have another article writing day. However, I fell sick last night, losing some 4-5 kilos during the early, horrid night, and have needed rest today - so no writing day.

Sunday, 24 March 2019

Revised abstract for Moscow gathering in Biosemiotics: "HOW RELATIONALITY CONNECTS THE INDIVIDUAL AND ECOLOGICAL LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL STUDY"

I have just shortened and condensed the abstract below (see also original version posted earlier).

***

HOW RELATIONALITY CONNECTS THE INDIVIDUAL AND ECOLOGICAL LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL STUDY

Author: Morten Tønnessen
Affiliation: Department of social studies, Faculty of social sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway

Relationality – the ways in which organisms are involved in relations to other organisms – is a crucial aspect of ecology, and biology at large. From the vantage point of Biosemiotics, the logical starting point is to define biosemioticrelations as relations that involve methodical (regular or recurring) sign exchange. Organisms that are connected by such relations are biosemiosically linked. By mapping and describing the biosemiotic relations a specific organism engages in, and thus what it relates to as carrying meaning for it, we by and largely describe what being that organism amounts to. Biosemiotic relationality helps us understand ecological complexity because, in combination with organisms´ biosemiotic agency, it allows for complex, dynamic living systems. Biosemiotic relationality can furthermore help us understand how the individual and ecological level of biological study are interconnected. From the individual organism´s point of view, its particular form of relationality is an expression of its “operating space”, to borrow an expression from Rockström et al. (2009). It is important for the complexity and integrity of ecosystems, and it is also significant for the integrity, and the living conditions, of the individual organism.
In our time of massive anthropogenic environmental change, as succinctly expressed by the term “Anthropocene” (Steffen et al. 2011), a major challenge is to work out how von Uexküll´s “subjective biology” can be applied in the context of global human ecology. From a relational point of view, we can observe that human beings take part in several co-dependent relations with animals, ranging from livestock to pets. We rely on their animal products or social company, and they rely on our good treatment and husbandry, and in some cases our social company. In the current scientific discourse, topics related to individual human and animal welfare are largely disconnected from topics related to environmental sustainability. Biosemiotic relationality can contribute to showing how these different topics are connected. Borrowing again from Rockström et al. (2009), we could set out to determine the “safe operating space” of organisms in terms of their biosemiotic relationality. This would amount to addressing questions such as: To what extent is organism X´s relationality flexible? When considering the significant relations organism X engages in, which ones of these are irreplaceable, and which ones are replaceable or amendable? Under current ecological circumstances, many biosemiotic relations are bended or broken by extreme breeding, automated machine-handling, homogenous social environments, industrial-style indoor environments (in animal husbandry), and depleted wildlife. What are the limits for such bending of significant biosemiotic relations, in terms of environmental sustainability and individual welfare?

References
Rockström, Johan et al. (2009). Planetary boundaries: Exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society14(2): 32. URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/. 
Steffen, Will, Jacques Grinevald, Paul Crutzen, and John McNeill 2011. The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A369(1938):842–867. doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0327.

Abstract: "Semiotics in ethology and zoology"

About a month ago I finished the abstract below, for a forthcoming book (chapter).

***

Semiotics in ethology and zoology
Morten Tønnessen
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. 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, increasingly tied to an ethical outlook.
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. Today, zoosemiotics is arguably the theoretically and empirically soundest approach to “taking the animal´s perspective”.

References
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, A., 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.
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.

Region Stavanger´s Ambassador Prize 2018 received for organizing NASS XI

On Thursday March 21st I attended the "ambassador reception" of Region Stavanger, enjoyed a 2-course meal, and received Region Stavanger´s "Ambassador Prize for 2018" for organizing the 11th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies (held in June 2019). About a dozen people received such prizes this evening.

The prize consists of a diploma and a statue of sorts. 

Friday, 22 March 2019

Spring´s sixth article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s sixth article writing day. I did a little of this and a little of that - resubmitting "The ethics of laying hen genetics" after some rearrangements, and working on literature lists for three different articles, one of which finished and two in process.

Thursday, 21 March 2019

RCN proposal writing day

Today I have had my second-ish writing day for the Research Council of Norway FRIPRO-version of my research project application "Assessing human and animal welfare in the Anthropocene" (first submitted to the ERC Consolidator Grant scheme, in February). 

Wednesday, 20 March 2019

Welfare talk scheduled for presentation at UiS workshop

On a workshop held by University of Stavanger´s Faculty of social sciences on April 30th, I will give a presentation work titled "Velferdsutviklingen i de nordiske landene og globalt" (The welfare development in the Nordic countries and globally).

Board meeting of Network for gender research chaired

Today I have, for the first time, chaired a board meeting of Network for gender research (Nettverk for kjønnsforskning), in my capacity of Vice-Dean of research at University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences. 

Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Three meetings and a supervision session

Today I have attended the faculty leadership group meeting, chaired a meeting in the faculty´s Doctoral committee (my third), attended a meeting in preparation of another meeting I´ll chair tomorrow, and supervised a MA student.

Monday, 18 March 2019

3 papers graded

Today I have graded 3 papers for the continuation exam in "Philosophy of science and research methods".

Research Committee meeting attended

Today I attended the meeting of the Research Committee (Forskningsutvalget) at University of Stavanger. As Vice-Dean of Research at Faculty of Social Sciences my attendance is compulsory, along with that of the Dean.

Friday, 15 March 2019

3 exam papers graded

today I have graded 3 exam papers submitted for the continuation exam in Ex.Phil. at Department of social studies.

Professor update on profile pages

I have updated my Orcid ID page with my current title (Professor). Also my UiS profile page now has the updated title.

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Spring´s fifth article writing day - welfare article revised

Today I have had the Spring´s fifth article writing day, and finished revising my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries", which is written for a forthcoming special issue of Journal of Comparative Social work titled "Welfare in Latin America and the Nordic countries".

Ethics of laying hen genetics article submitted

Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics" (by Mia Fernyhough et al.) has been submitted to PLOS Genetics.

Paper accepted for presentation at 19th gathering in biosemiotics (Moscow)

I have been notified by the organizers of the 19th gathering in biosemiotics, to be held in Moscow in July, that my paper "How relationally connects the individual and ecological level of biological study" has been accepted for oral presentation.

IHSRC abstract accepted for presentation (Molde)

Joakim Jiri Haaland has been notified that our abstract for IHSRC 2019, to be held in Molde in June, has been accepted for oral presentation.

See also:

UiS news story in relation to full professor promotion

Yesterday a news story titled "Opprykk til professor" (Full professor promotion) was published on the webpage of University of Stavanger, see here. The story is written by Karoline Reilstad.


Wednesday, 13 March 2019

Three meetings today

Today I have attended a meeting of the appointments committee for the new positions as Vice-Rector of Research and Vice-Rector of Public Relations and Innovations, where we selected who to invite for interviews. I also attended a planning meeting in relation to establishment of a Network for welfare research, and had an annual performance appraisal meeting with my Head of Department.

Google Scholars: Cleaning up?

Google Scholar totals sometimes go back and forth. While I was registered with 369 citations and an i10-index of 11 on February 16th, I now have 351 citations (and an i10-index of 9) according to my profile page - including the first citation registered in 2019.

Tuesday, 12 March 2019

To join editorial board of "Environmental and Sustainability Indicators"

I have agreed to join the editorial board of the Elsevier journal Environmental and Sustainability Indicators.

Three meetings and then some

Today I have attended the Faculty of social sciences´ leadership group meeting, chaired a start-up meeting with two PhD scholars and supervisors, and attended the meeting of the appointments committee responsible for the position as head of department at the Norwegian School of Hotel Management.

Monday, 11 March 2019

3 meetings and supervision

Today I have attended three meetings, including a meeting with the UiS Business school in relation to cooperation on a PhD program, and a meeting on evaluation of the faculty´s writing retreats/seminars. I have also had a PhD supervision session.

Thursday, 7 March 2019

Three meetings and an interview

First on campus development (specifically the functionality of Kjell Arholms hus). Then on the possibility of making cotutelle agreements on PhDs (collaboration between universities). Then on accreditation of the faculty´s new PhD program. And finally an interview in relation to my professor promotion, soon to appear on the University of Stavanger´s internal web.

Wednesday, 6 March 2019

Wednesday

Today I have had a work lunch, and also attended a meeting in relation to the faculty´s reorganizing of its PhD studies. Plus plus.

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Fourth article writing day

Today I had this Spring´s fourth article writing day, working on revising my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries".

Sunday, 3 March 2019

Last day in Havana

Friday: This was the fifth and last work day in Havana, in relation to our NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic Welfare". All days we have worked with our partners from University of Havana´s Department of sociology. It has been a really nice stay both with regard to work and otherwise.


Thursday, 28 February 2019

Abstract for IHSRC2019: "Uexküllian phenomenology and existential phenomena"

Today I have composed and submitted the abstract below for the International Human Sciences Research Conference 2019, to be held in Molde, Norway, in June, and which has the theme "Joy, suffering and death - understanding contrasting existential phenomena in the lifespan".

Title: Uexküllian phenomenology and existential phenomena
·       Individual presentation
·       Author/presenter: Morten Tønnessen (Professor of philosophy)
·       Affiliation: Department of social studies, University of Stavanger

“Uexküllian phenomenology” is the phenomenology that is implicit in the Umwelt theory of theoretical biologist Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944). This is a theory that posits that all living beings relate to meaning by using and relating to signs in their environment, and that all humans and animals are endowed with an Umwelt, i.e. a subjective, experiential lifeworld. A key advantage with making use of an Uexküllian perspective is that Umwelt theory, and the Uexküllian phenomenology derived from it, is applicable in the study of humans as well as animals.
Existential phenomena are usually regarded exclusively human phenomena, and yet few would doubt that many animals too experience e.g. joy and suffering. In normative ethics, joy and suffering are typically presented as central experiential features of sentience. While both humans and individuals of many animal species experience some of “the same” existential phenomena, it is clear that there are at times significant differences with regard to how these phenomena appear to different species and also to different individuals within the same species.
One reason why it is important to understand how existential phenomena are perceived, felt and lived through, is that such phenomena evidently affect human and animal welfare. The contributions Uexküllian phenomenology can make in this context is first, that it makes it possible to study human and animal experiences in all its diversity and complexity within one and the same framework, and second – in extension of this – that it is suitable for studying human–animal interaction and relations. 

Wednesday, 27 February 2019

Full professor

Today the appointments committee at the University of Stavanger´s Faculty of Social Sciences unanimously decided to promote me to Full Professor of Philosophy, with effect from September 7th 2018, the date I applied.

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

Second work day in Havana

Today, during our visit to Havana, we have discussed the format of e-compendiums, met with the first secretary at Norway´s embassy in Cuba, and visited a communitarian project in Old Havana. We also met the Dean at University of Havana.

Editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" hot on Academia.edu

Our Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" is catching on on Academia.edu, with more than 200 views last week.

Sunday, 24 February 2019

Among top 1% on Academia.edu

Academia.edu has notified me that I am right now among the 1% top researchers by 30-day views (39 profile views, 389 document views, 279 unique visitors).

In Havana to work on NORPART project

Yesterday I took off from Sola airport, in the Stavanger area, and some 13-14 hours later I landed, after a second flight, in Havana, Cuba. We are 6 people from University of Stavanger in Havana this week in relation to our NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" where Universidad de la Habana is our partner institution.

Friday, 22 February 2019

Abstract for IHSRC 2019: "Joy in the open air - Outdoor life at residential care"

Along with Joakim Jiri Haaland, I have submitted the abstract "Joy in the open air - Outdoor life at residential care" for International Human Sciences Research Conference (IHSRC) 2019, to be held in Molde, Norway in June with the theme "Joy, suffering and death - understanding contrasting existential phenomena in the lifespan".

Chapter abstract: "The true value of “doing well” economically"

Below is my abstract, finished today, for a prospective book chapter to be written this Spring.

***

Chapter title: The true value of “doing well” economically

Author: Morten Tønnessen
  
Abstract:
Recent efforts to go beyond GDP as a measure of economic performance raise important questions about the nature of the economy, including: What is the best measure of a sound, flourishing economy? And what is the purpose of “doing well” in economic terms? One possible measure of the soundness of the economy could be the extent to which it results in better lives for humans – a thought that has inspired measures such as the HDI, among others. In the bigger picture, a sound, flourishing economy should also be consistent with good, and perhaps optimal, lives for non-humans, and well-functioning ecosystems. On this measure, economics should not be an altogether anthropocentric enterprise. To go beyond anthropocentric notions of economic performance, a degree of integration between economics, philosophy (normative ethics and philosophical anthropology included) and biology is required. A merely economic outlook can easily lead to commodification of each and every organism and natural resource, thus neglecting the agency, interests and intrinsic value of animals and other non-humans. To truly “serve all”, economists should acknowledge that there are economic stakeholders beyond humans, in the sense that the living conditions of practically all non-humans on this planet are today affected by human economic activities. This would make economics more compatible with current outlooks in normative ethics with regard to the value of animals, biodiversity etc., and could be part of a radical reconceptualization of the nature of the economy where economic value is situated within value theory in a wider sense.

Busy day

Monday February 4th I:
  • composed exam questions for continuation exam in SVEXPHIL10
  • had two supervision sessions (master thesis, Master in Energy, Environment and Society)
  • attended two meetings, one related to the doctoral committee´s work and the other related to planning of the first workshop of the network for welfare research.

Summary meeting Feb. 7th

On February 7th I attended a meeting summing up lessons from the faculty board´s seminar recently.

PhD Supervisor Qualification Program

February 5th and 6th I attended the first of three gatherings in the University of Stavanger PhD Supervisor Qualification Program, at Sola strandhotell.

Third article writing day

Yesterday I had this Spring´s third article writing day - some 4 hours, focused on an all-year or at least all-Spring writing plan, and abstract development for an article and a chapter.

Thursday, 21 February 2019

Abstract for hybrid natures special issue: "Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human–animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond"

I have just composed or rather edited the abstract below, for an invited article to a forthcoming special issue of Biosemiotics.

***

Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory: Human–animal interaction in Amazonas and beyond

Author: Morten Tønnessen

ABSTRACT
Umwelt theory is an expression of Uexküll´s subjective biology and as such it is usually applied in analysis of individual animals, but the theory is fundamentally relational and therefore also suitable for analysis of more complex wholes. In this article I explore to what extent ecosemiotics can be applied in analysis of global human ecology. 
I portray the human species as a global speciesthat gives rise to multiple ecologies built around our presence. Towards many species, we behave like an unsustainable super-predator, and we reserve land for our affiliated species. We also 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. 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. Aiming to outline some of the most important characteristics of contemporary human ecology, I apply notions such as Umwelt transitionUmwelt trajectoryUmwelt aggregate, andUmwelt alignment
The article includes 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 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).

Wednesday, 20 February 2019

Two meetings

Two meetings today:

First a meeting on research administration discussing NFR applications.

Then I chaired my second doctoral committee meeting at the faculty. 

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

"Ex.phil. for sosialfag" to appear as e-book

I have been informed by Universitetsforlaget that the book Ex.Phil. for sosialfag will appear as e-book this autumn.

Leadership group meeting

Today I participated in the leadership group meeting of University of Stavanger´s Faculty of social sciences. Next week I will be on Cuba.

Monday, 18 February 2019

Ethics of laying hen genetics article ready for submission

Yesterday evening I finish editing "The ethics of laying hen genetics", co-authored with Mia Fernyhough, Christine Nicol, Teun van de Break and Mike Toscano. Seems to be ready for submission.

NORPART meeting in preparation of trip next week

Today I have attended an administrative meeting in relation to our NORPART project "Cuban and Nordic welfare" and our trip to Cuba next week.

Sunday, 17 February 2019

Abstract for Moscow gathering in Biosemiotics: "HOW RELATIONALITY CONNECTS THE INDIVIDUAL AND ECOLOGICAL LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL STUDY"

I have just submitted the abstract below to the organizers of the 19th gathering in Biosemiotics, to be held in Moscow in July.

***
HOW RELATIONALITY CONNECTS THE INDIVIDUAL AND ECOLOGICAL LEVEL OF BIOLOGICAL STUDY

Author: Morten Tønnessen
Affiliation: Department of social studies, Faculty of social sciences, University of Stavanger, Norway
Email: *** 
Relationality – the ways in which organisms are involved in relations to other organisms – is a crucial aspect of ecology, and biology at large. From the vantage point of Biosemiotics, the logical starting point is to define biosemioticrelations as relations that involve methodical (regular or recurring) sign exchange. Organisms that are connected by such relations are biosemiosically linked. 
A proper understanding of the occurrence and nature of biosemiotic relations can help us in explaining the interconnectedness of various life forms in the intricate web of life, of semiosis, and of worlds that we call “nature” (Tønnessen 2003). By mapping and describing the biosemiotic relations a specific organism engages in, and thus what it relates to as carrying meaning for it, we by and largely describe what being that organism amounts to. 
Biosemiotic relationality helps us understand ecological complexity because, in combination with organisms´ biosemiotic agency, it allows for complex, dynamic living systems. Biosemiotic relationality can furthermore help us understand how the individual and ecological level of biological study are interconnected. From the individual organism´s point of view, its particular form of relationality is an expression of its “operating space”, to borrow an expression from Rockström et al. (2009). Not only is it important for the complexity and integrity of ecosystems. It is also significant for the integrity, and the living conditions, of the individual organism. 
In our time of massive anthropogenic environmental change, as succinctly expressed by the term “Anthropocene” (Steffen et al. 2011), a major challenge is to work out how von Uexküll´s “subjective biology” can be applied in the context of global human ecology. From a relational point of view, we can observe that human beings take part in several co-dependent relations with animals, ranging from livestock to pets. We rely on their animal products or social company, and they rely on our good treatment and husbandry, and in some cases our social company. 
In the current scientific discourse, topics related to individual human and animal welfare are largely disconnected from topics related to environmental sustainability. Biosemiotic relationality can contribute to showing how these different topics are connected. Borrowing again from Rockström et al. (2009), we could set out to determine the “safe operating space” of organisms in terms of their biosemiotic relationality. This would amount to addressing questions such as: To what extent is organism X´s relationality flexible? When considering the significant relations organism X engages in, which ones of these are irreplaceable, and which ones are replaceable or amendable? Under current ecological circumstances, many biosemiotic relations are bended or broken by extreme breeding, automated machine-handling, homogenous social environments, industrial-style indoor environments (in animal husbandry) – and depleted wildlife. What are the limits for such bending of significant biosemiotic relations, in terms of environmental sustainability and individual welfare? 
By applying the notion of biosemiotic relationality in such contemporary contexts, I aim to demonstrate that the topic is worthy of theoretical discussion as well as having practical applications and implications. 
References
Rockström, Johan et al. (2009). Planetary boundaries: Exploring the safe operating space for humanity. Ecology and Society14(2): 32. URL: http://www.ecologyandsociety.org/vol14/iss2/art32/.
Steffen, Will, Jacques Grinevald, Paul Crutzen, and John McNeill 2011. The Anthropocene: Conceptual and Historical Perspectives. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A369(1938):842–867. doi:10.1098/rsta.2010.0327.
Tønnessen, Morten 2003. Umwelt Ethics. Sign Systems Studies31 (1): 281–299. With Russian ("Этика умвельта") and Estonian ("Omailmma eetika") abstract.