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).
Tuesday, 30 April 2019
Monday, 29 April 2019
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
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
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
Tuesday, 23 April 2019
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
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
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?»
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”.
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
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
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.
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
Friday, 12 April 2019
Here are the guidelines for research schools related to the PhD program in social sciences, which I have drafted (in Norwegian plus English translation).
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
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
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.
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.
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
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
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
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".
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.
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
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
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
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
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.