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Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Smart city workshop attended

This morning I participated in the first hour of the University of Stavanger´s "smart city" networking workshop - before I had to go to teach two classes. 

4 hours of teaching

Today I have taught 4 hours - first the third research methods seminar in "Philosophy of science and research methods", then the fourth seminar in the fifth round of Ex.phil. seminars.

Tuesday, 30 October 2018


today I gave the third seminar in the fifth round of Ex.phil. seminars at Department of social studies this autumn.

Program for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018 (Norwegian animal ethics conference 2018)

The program for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018 has been announced online. I will chair and introduce  the conference.

Monday, 29 October 2018

6 hours of teaching

Today I have taught 6 hours in Ex.phil. at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies - first the 10th lecture, on contract theory and political freedom, and then the first two rounds of seminar number five, with discussion, repetition and work with Multiple Choice questions.

Sunday, 28 October 2018

Philosophy and subjectivity - input to report and renewal application

Today I have compiled input to the report so far of the UiS program area for research "Filosofi og subjektivitet", in relation to our application for renewal of the program area.

Thursday, 25 October 2018

Autumn´s ninth writing day

Today I had this autumn´s ninth writing day (see previous posts), involving 7 hours of work, mainly on my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" and secondarily on editing our Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" further. 

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Seminar teaching

Today I have taught in the second research methods seminar in the course "Philosophy of science and research methods", for M-EES and M-BYUTV students, along with two student assistants.

Meeting with student representatives

Today I attended a meeting with another teacher and two student representatives concerning our course "Philosophy of science and research methods" (MEE140).

Tuesday, 23 October 2018

Half staff meeting; preliminary MA thesis supervisory feedback

I attended half of the staff meeting at Department of social studies today - before I had to go to attend a scheduled meeting with preliminary Master theses student supervision feedback.

Teaching with assistants

Today I have taught in the first seminar in research methods in "Philosophy of science and research methods", along with two student assistants.

Monday, 22 October 2018

Annual meeting for Minding Animals Norway

I have just called for an annual meeting for Minding Animals Norway, to be held in Oslo on Thursday November 22nd. Hopefully a full board can be elected (new people might be needed). Activity has been minimal the last year, except for my co-organizing of the annual Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference.

Ninth Ex.phil. lecture

Today I gave the ninth Ex.Phil. lecture this autumn at Department of social studies. The topic was ethics of care, ethics of proximity and the role emotions play in moral theory.

Friday, 19 October 2018

Oslo proposal writing workshop on ERC Consolidator Grants attended

Today I have attended a workshop on writing successful ERC Consolidator Grant applications in Oslo (FOrskningsparken), held by Research Council of Norway and hosted by University of Oslo.

Thursday, 18 October 2018

Autumn´s eight writing day

´Today I had this autumn´s eight writing day, involving some 6 hours of work divided between the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" and my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries".

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

2 hours of teaching, 2 more attended

Today I gave the fourth seminar in the fourth round of Ex.phil. seminars this autumn at Department of social studies. 

I also attended Torvald Øgaard´s final lecture in research methods in the Master course "Philosophy of science and research methods", and informed the students about seminar work starting next week, while also introducing our two student assistants for the seminar work in research methods. 

Continued interest in Council of Animal Ethics

I have signaled that I am interested in remaining a member of Norway´s Council for Animal Ethics, where I currently represent animal protection NGOs (since 2017). Animal protection NGOs make suggestions to the Ministry of Agriculture and Food (two sets of candidates), whereas the Ministry appoints members of the council. The next period officially starts January 1st 2019.

Wikipedia page on Biosemiotics

There is a Wikipedia page - a stub - on the journal Biosemiotics, for which I have been an Editor-in-Chief since 2013. The info on Impact Factor is outdated.

Tuesday, 16 October 2018

Involvement in "Bird music network" application

I am involved as a key speaker/participant in Amanda Bayley´s application to the UK´s Arts and Humanities Research Council for establishment of a "Bird Music Network" administered from Bath Spa University, where she is a Professor of Music. If the network is funded, my involvement will concern participation at two network workshops, and likely co-authorship on at least one scientific article.

Seminar teaching

Today I have taught the third seminar in the fourth round of Ex.phil. seminars.

UiS workshop on ERC grants attended; preliminary ERC project title

Today I have attended a half-day workshop on applying for ERC grants organized by the program area for research "The Greenhouse" with assistance from the University of Stavanger research and innovation unit.

The preliminary title for my ERC Consolidator Grant application is "Assessing human and animal wellbeing in the Anthropocene".

Monday, 15 October 2018

6 hours of teaching

I am about to finish 6 hours straight of Ex.Phil. teaching - for the fourth Monday this autumn. The topic for today´s lecture (followed by two seminars) was normative ethics.

Friday, 12 October 2018

Tartu keynote om Umwelt theory/human ecology scheduled for November 9th

My keynote speech at the conference “Semiotics of hybrid natures: Anthropogenic ecosystems, multimodalities, transformed umwelts” (Tartu, Estonia November 8-10th 2018), "Current Human Ecology in Light of Umwelt Theory", has been scheduled for presentation Friday November 9th at 12.30-14.00.

Interview on colonization of Mars aired again

An interview with Ingvil Hellstrand and myself aired this Spring titled "Muligheten av Mars" (The opportunity of Mars). It was aired again, in a new program setting, yesterday, now titled "Er Mars menneskets siste mulighet?" (Is Mars humanity´s last chance?). Jostein Gjertsen was program host at both occasions. Altogether this is the third time the interview aired, since it was aired a second time in Spring as part of the program´s weekend summary.

See also:

Recordings for Verdibørsen segments on gene bank and fish farming

Today I have been in NRK Rogaland´s radio studio taking part in a discussion about the establishment of a new gene bank for wild salmon, and fish farming sector´s responsibility for animal welfare and the environment, with program host Karen Frivik, Øyvind Håbrekke (the think tank Skaperkraft) and Lisa Bergan (corporate affairs director in Cermaq, one of the world´s biggest producers of farmed salmon).

Thursday, 11 October 2018

Autumn´s seventh writing day

Today I had this autumn´s seventh writing day, writing some 1.400 words, most of which for the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics", but also some for "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin America and the Nordic countries" and, marginally, "Wasted growth - Case study: The American nightmare". I had some 6-7 hours.

Wednesday, 10 October 2018

Writing trip to Copenhagen planned

I have made plans for a writing trip to Copenhagen December 20-23rd. I will likely focus on revising "The epistemology of biosemiotics".

Facebook event for Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2018

Here´s the Facebook event for Dyreetikkonferansen 2018, "Hvor like er mennesker og dyr?" (the Norwegian Animal Ethics Conference 2018, "How similar are humans and animals?"). For the seventh year, I am one of the organizers, now representing both Council for animal ethics and Minding Animals Norway.

Contemplating research leave application next year

I am contemplating applying, next autumn, for research leave at University of Stavanger for 12 months Autumn 2020 - Spring 2021, probably to write my long planned monograph Being and Sign.

Tuesday, 9 October 2018

Attended annual meeting of National academic council for philosophy and history of ideas

Yesterday I attended, for the first time, Norway´s National academic council for philosophy and history of ideas (Nasjonalt fagråd for filosofi og idéhistorie), as University of Stavanger´s representative. The meeting took place in Kristiansand, at University of Agder. Something like 7-8 institutions all over Norway were represented. This meeting happens only once a year, and is responsible for proposing classification of journals and publishing houses at level 1 and 2 in the Norwegian publication point system, among other things.

Friday, 5 October 2018

Field work summary on wolves soon online

Today I have entered University of Stavanger´s web publishing tool, CorePublish, for the first time for a couple of years or so, and uploaded a popular science summary of field work (in Norwegian) carried out as part of the research project "Animals in changing environments" (to Norwegian-version website only), specifically as part of the subproject "Representations (both Problematic and Romanticizing) of Large Mammals, especially Wolves".

See also:

Done with MPH130

I have informed relevant colleagues that I will not be involved in another round with the Master course "Philosophy of science and health care ethics", offered by Faculty of health sciences and part of the Master in Pre-Hospital Critical Care.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Autumn´s sixth writing day

Today I had this autumn´s sixth writing day so far, with 7 hours devoted to focused academic writing. I added to the Biosemiotics editorial "Phenomenology and biosemiotics" and my article "Human development, inequality and social risks in Latin-America and the Nordic countries", and marginally to "Wasted growth: Case study - the American nightmare". Altogether I wrote some 1.700 words of text.

Wednesday, 3 October 2018

Revised abstract for "Semiotics of hybrid natures" keynote

Below is my revised abstract for the forthcoming conference "Semiotics of hybrid natures: Anthropogenic ecosystems, multi modalities, transformed umwelten" (Tartu November 8-10th), where I will give a keynote lecture.


Current human ecology in light of Umwelt theory

Morten Tønnessen
Associate professor of philosophy, University of Stavanger

Umwelt theory is an expression of von Uexküll´s subjective biologyand as such it is usually applied in analysis of individual animals. However, Umwelt theory is fundamentally relational, and therefore also suitable for analysis of more complex wholes. Furthermore, depending on the level of generalization, Umwelt theory is also suitable for analysis of behavioral and experiential dynamics at a group level. A significant methodological advantage of Umwelt theory is that it is applicable with regard to both human and non-human experience and action within one of the same framework.
In our age, which many have come to call «the Anthropocene», the human species dominates many ecosystems, and has established a manifold of tightly controlled production systems and resource streams involving or affecting living creatures in both in-door and outdoor environments. In the Anthropocene discourse, the debate rages as to what level of human control is appropriate. 
Big picture-notions and planetary perspectives are important, but so is the subjective animal perspective that von Uexküll emphasized. To what extent can these be combined? In this presentation, I will explore to what extent ecosemiotics can be applied in analysis of global human ecology. I will do this by portraying the human species as a global speciesthat gives rise to multiple ecologies built around our presence. I will further discuss climate change in its relation to changing patterns of biodiversity and animal behavior.
One can hardly overestimate the effect the human species has even on wildlife, both wittingly and unwittingly. Towards many species, we behave like an unsustainable super-predator, and we reserve a lot of land for our affiliated species. We furthermore affect the experience and behaviour of animals by causing environmental changes in land, water and air, by influencing prey densities and the occurrence of natural enemies, etc.
In the course of this presentation, I will apply notions such as Umwelt transitionUmwelt trajectoryUmwelt aggregate, andUmwelt alignment, in an attempt to outline some of the most important characteristics of contemporary human ecology. To understand our changing relations to living beings and nature, we must be aware of the different forms relations can take on e.g. for wild, liminal and domesticated animals.
To avoid getting lost in the semiosphere, I will anchor some of my analysis in a case study of human–animal relations in Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve in the Central Amazonas. This is a seasonal floodplain forest area surrounded by rivers in the Brazilian state of Amazonas. I will investigate human–human and human–animal interaction in the reserve, with a main focus on indigenous communities and their relations to two primate species, namely the red howler monkey (Alouatta seniculus) and the black-headed squirrel monkey (Saimiri vanzolinii).

Morten Tønnessen (born 1976) is Associate professor of philosophy at University of Stavanger´s Department of social studies. He has worked with Umwelt theory since his Master degree (University of Oslo 2002), and conducted his doctoral studies at University of Tartu (2011). Tønnessen has published extensively within biosemiotics and human-animal studies, and is currently President of the Nordic Association for Semiotic Studies and Main Editor-in-Chief of Biosemiotics. Academic (b)log:

Professor promotion committee established

I have been informed that the committee that will consider my application for promotion to professor of philosophy has now formally been appointed. Their recommendation is due January 3rd 2019.

Office tidying

I am tidying at my office at University of Stavanger. A little by little (each week).

Advisory meeting on ERC application

Today I have attended a Skype meeting involving an advisor from the Research Council of Norway (plus two advisors from University of Stavanger) where I was advised on CV, track record and application writing in relation to my forthcoming ERC Consolidator Grant application, due in February.

Tuesday, 2 October 2018

Ulvetider featured as main book in book club Villmarksliv; featured on front page

Our book Ulvetider was featured as main book in the book club Villmarksliv this last winter. It features prominently in the book club magazine no. 2, 2018 (front page below).

References featured in Zeitschrift für Semiotik stylesheet

The English language stylesheet of Zeitschrift for Semiotik features two references to my research, based as examples.

Excerpt - example of block citation (pt. 3.7):
While there is no consensus on the terms agent and agency, most biosemioticians appear to agree that core attributes of an agent include goal- directedness, self-governed activity, processing of semiosis and choice of action (Tønnessen 2015: 139140).
Excerpt - example of translated journal article (p.t. 5.2):
Uexküll, Jakob von (1917). Darwin und die englische Moral. Deutsche Rundschau 173, 215–242. English translation by Morten Tønnessen as: Uexküll, Jakob von (2013). Darwin and the English morality. Biosemiotics 6, 3, 449–471.

Monday, 1 October 2018

Google Scholar: 40 citations in 2018, 333 totally

On the latest count, I have 333 citations according to Google Scholar. This is up 9 since August 30th. 2018 stands with 40 citations, 2016 with 79.

Seventh lecture

Today I gave the seventh lecture in Ex.phil. at Department of social studies this autumn, on ethical theory.