Submit to Biosemiotics?

Thursday, 31 August 2017

Talk on animal and environmental ethics

Today I offered a lecture or talk on animal and environmental ethics at an event organised by Grønne Studenter Stavanger (student wing of Green Party of Norway).

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Google Scholar: 203 citations, h10-index of 6

According to updated Google Scholar data (cf. my profile), my academic publications have been cited 203 times (+8 since April 19th), and I now have an h10-index of 6 (vs. 5 as of April 19th). My h-index remains 7. These two indices imply that 6 of my texts have been cited at least 10 times, and that 7 of my texts have been cited at least 7 times (actually, 10 of my texts have been cited at least 7 times).

My 6th text to reach 10 citations is "The biosemiotic glossary project: Agent, agency" (2015).

Included in Environmental Humanities research application

I am included as one of the researchers in a University of Stavanger research application for a new program area entitled The Greenhouse. This is a cross-disciplinary Environmental Humanities initiative.

2 more hours of teaching

Today I have taught another seminar in Ex.Phil. at Department of social studies, the fourth this week.

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

2 more hours of teaching

Today I have taught for 2 more hours in Examen Philosophicum at Department of social studies - the third seminar this week.

First lecture in MEE master course

Today I have given the first lecture in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", which is part of the new Master in Energy, Environment and Society. Today´s topics were course info and the demarcation problem.

Research meeting

Today I attended part of a meeting of the research program area for welfare service research at Department of social studies.

Monday, 28 August 2017

6 hours of teaching

Today I taught for six consecutive hours in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. First the second lecture, on the topic "What is a human?" and the ecological worldview of Arne Næss, and then two times seminar with discussion and multiple choice tasks.

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Invited for guest lecture

I was recently invited to give a guest lecture at University of Agder, but unfortunately the indicated time collided with scheduled teaching at University of Stavanger.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Search image paper to be revised

My paper for a special issue of BioSystems on code biology "The search image as link between sensation, perception and action" has been positively reviewed, and is now pending revision.

Wednesday, 23 August 2017

No ethics of laying hen breeding STSM

Apparently, GroupHouseNet did not receive any application for a Short Term Scientific Mission (STSM) related to the ethics of laying hen breeding, a prospective project I was involved in.

See also:

Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Final Estonian-Norwegian Research cooperation conference

My registration for the concluding conference of the Norwegian-Estonian Research Cooperation has been confirmed. The conference will occur at September 21-22nd at Laulasmaa Spa and Conference Hotel.

Change in MAN board

Shabana Rehman, who was elected as a member of the board of Minding Animals Norway this winter, has withdrawn from the board.

Complaint grading for UiB

The last few days I have taken part in complaint grading of two exam papers in University of Bergen´s course "Introduction to environmental ethics" (FIL106).

Monday, 21 August 2017

Nanna Kilberg giving guest lecture on basic income at UiS

On Thursday September 14th at 12.15 to 14.00, Nanna Kildal (Uni research Rokkansenteret) will give an open guest lecture at University of Stavanger on basic income. Students in three courses at Department of social studies will follow the lecture, along with a general and academic audience. The guest lecture is organized by Eilef Meland and myself.

First Ex.Phil. lecture

Today I gave the first lecture this autumn in Examen Philosophicum at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. The topic was "what is philosophy?" and "what is ethics?"

This year I lecture in auditorium G-0001 at Arne Rettedals hus.

Saturday, 19 August 2017

Two papers accepted for MAC4, Mexico City

I have been notified by the organizers of Minding Animals Conference 4, to take place in Mexico City January 17-24th, that my papers "The cultural semiotic of wolves and sheep" and "The semiotics of predation and the Umwelten of large predators" have been accepted for oral presentation at the conference.

Friday, 18 August 2017

Abstract for MAC4: "The semiotics of predation and the Umwelten of large predators"

I have just submitted the abstract below to the organizers of Minding Animals Conference 4 (Mexico City, January 17-24th 2018).


The Semiotics of Predation and The Umwelten of Large Predators
This paper aims to present fundamental findings related to the semiotics of predation, and point out a few typical features of the Umwelten (lifeworlds) of large predators.

Carnivores are emblematic of the brutality of nature in that, apparently, in order to live, they have to take lives – as most animals do. Carnivores are generally associated with predatory behaviour, although not all carnivores are predators. Predators thus form a subcategory of carnivores, and are correctly associated with killing – causing death, fear and, to varying degrees, suffering.

In general, when preying on other animals, predators intend to kill, but they do not kill because of any malicious intentions. Nevertheless, historically, predators have a reputation for being beasts ruled by hunger and are still, perhaps unfairly, looked upon as iconic murderers.

What all carnivores have in common is that they eat meat and that they hunt and/or scavenge. As a subcategory of carnivores, besides eating meat, large predatory carnivores have in common that they hunt and kill other animals. In terms of the four main functional cycles referred to by Jakob von Uexküll in his Umwelt theory, predators are thereby characterized by the functional cycle that involves food. The key contrapuntal relation involved in the Umwelten of large predators is, from this perspective, that of predator and prey. Whereas for predators, prey have the functional tone of food, for prey, predators have the functional tone of an enemy – a lethal threat.

These common features of large predator Umwelten indicate selective empathy. However, as any social animal, large predators also, to varying degrees, engage in a number of positive social relations.

Abstract for MAC4: "The cultural semiotic of wolves and sheep"

I have just submitted the abstract below to the organizers of Minding Animals Conference 4 (Mexico City, January 17-24th 2018).


The cultural semiotic of wolves and sheep

Morten Tønnessen
University of Stavanger, Norway

Wolves and sheep go together – at least in the public mind. They are among the most widespread mammals of wild and domesticated species respectively. While the wolf is in several countries the most controversial large carnivore, it is also, and not coincidentally, the most symbolically laden Western carnivore. The wolf is a symbol of large carnivores, governmental interference in local issues, freedom and authenticity, evil, hunger, sexuality, etc. Sheep, on the other hand, represent among other things innocence and vulnerability (and, of course – food, wool and thus economic value).
The juxtaposition of the symbolism of wolves and sheep go all the way back to the Bible, if not even further. In the Bible, this archetypical opposition is only resolved in the vision of a new Earth and new Heavens, when, in this new paradise, “[t]he wolf and the lamb will feed together” (Isaiah 65:25). Meanwhile, everybody “knows” that wolves prey on sheep. However, many would be surprised to learn that in Norway, wolves over time only account for less than a tenth of depredation on sheep. This demonstrates the way in which people are informed not only by facts, but also by cultural imagery.
Familiarity with the cultural imagery of wolves and sheep is arguably a precondition for fully understanding the fierce human emotions that are invoked in social and political conflicts on wolf management and conservation. Although there are local variations, and even though imagery and symbolism can change over time, the “background noise”, as it were, of the historical cultural semiotic of wolves and sheep is significant practically wherever there are, or were, wolves.

Registered for MAC4, Mexico City

I have just registered for Minding Animals Conference 4, to be held in Mexico City in January 2017. this will be my third Minding Animals Conference.

To take part in "Philosophy and Animals" panel

In Bulletin 43 issued by Minding Animals International, I am listed as one of the panelists in the panel "Philosophy and Animals", which is to be held during Minding Animals Conference 4, in Mexico City in January 2018.
I have been assigned a master student in social work for master thesis supervision until next Spring.

Thursday, 17 August 2017

Teaching plan for Ex.Phil. composed

Today I have finished composing the lecture and seminar plan for this autumn´s Examen Philosophicum at Department of social studies at UiS.

Ex.Phil. presented for child welfare students

Today I presented the course Examen Philosophicum for bachelor students in child welfare at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies, during the introduction week.

Friday, 11 August 2017

IASS general assembly in Kaunas attended

On June 29th I attended (most of) the general assembly of the International Association for Semiotic Studies, held in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Interviewed on whaling by Süddeutsche Zeitung

A feature story in Süddeutsche Zeitung on whaling, titled "Die letzten Jäger" and featuring an interview with me in capacity as Norwegian Green Party politician, was published in no. 167, 2017, Samstag/Sonntag 22./23. Juli. In the article I am referred to as "Tierschutz-Sprecher der Partei" (the animal protection spokesman of the party). The same article appears to have been published also by the Swiss newspaper Der Bund (July 27th), likely also Tagesanzeiger.

Thursday, 10 August 2017

"Umwelt theory revisited" presented at NASS X in Kaunas

On Friday June 30th, I presented my paper "Umwelt theory revisited - contemporary Uexküllian thought in 10 points" during the 10th conference of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies in Kaunas, Lithuania.

Course in PhD supervision attended

Today, for some two and a half hours, I attended a Crash-Course/First Aid Course in supervision of PhD students, held by Anne Lee.

Wednesday, 9 August 2017

Lunch meeting

Today I attended a lunch meeting with two UiS colleagues in relation to my responsibility as course coordinator for "Philosophy of science and research methods".

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Ethology panel in Mexico City cancelled

The ethology panel I was to be part of at the 4th Minding Animals Conference has been cancelled due to lack of interest from other scholars.

Sales data for "Thinking about animals..."

According to a royalty statement from Lexington Books (Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group), our book Thinking about Animals in the Age of the Anthropocene  sold 114 copies last year, 24 of which have been returned (net sale: 90, i.e. 82 Cloth and 8 Electronic).

Chair of academic-political panel on green jobs

Yesterday I chaired and co-organised "Grønt Symposium" (Green symposium) at Mellombels Ølstove in Bryne, Norway. The panel, discussing green business and jobs, consisted of two politicians, one environmentalist and two scholars, my UiS colleagues Rune Dahl Fitjar and Klaus Mohn (both economists). The symposium, which attracted some 100 people, was organised by Time and Rogaland Green Party.

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Back to work

My holiday is over. Back to work tomorrow.