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Monday, 31 August 2020

Two meetings

Today I have attended two meetings - a meeting related to revision of the UIS quality system, and a conference call related to aquisition of equipment for the Cognitive lab under establishment at UIS.


Today I have had an article writing day devoted to my chapter "Neurosemiotics across species", with some 1.100 words written. Number of article writing days is up to 7,5.

Word count for August is a bit above 4.000 words.

"The ethics of laying hen genetics" accessed more than 4.000 times

Our article "The ethics of laying hen genetics", published online in November 2019, has by now been accessed 4.155 times according to article metrics. The article is Open access.

Orcid profile page updated with 13 more publications

I have added some publications to my Orcid profile, now counting 48 publications (+13). See my Orcid profile page.

Friday, 28 August 2020


Today I have had half an article writing day, with most of the time devoted to planning for my "wasted growth" work - to be split into 3 articles, as I now plan - marginally also my chapter "Neurosemiotics across species".

Thursday, 27 August 2020

Two meetings; and ISQOLS conference presentation on wasted growth

Today I have attended the weekly faculty leadership group meeting, and a planning meeting related to Cognitive lab.

I also presented my paper "Wasted and wasteful growth in the USA" at the virtual ISQOLS 2020 conference, 2020 International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies 18th Annual Conference (August 25-28), as part of the session "Growth, Poverty and Well-being". Some 15 people attended live. The session is also available for conference attendants as a recording.

Wednesday, 26 August 2020


Today I have had the autumn´s 6th article writing day, with some 300 words written on my article "Wasted growth". Crucially, this included researching and composing a table with data on wasted growth in the period 1990-2018. The work included preparing a conference presentation for tomorrow based on my current article draft.

An annual meeting, and a online research call launching event

Today I have attended the annual meeting of Media Innovation Norway digitally, and the main part of the online launching event for the Latvian call in the Baltic Research Programme.

Web page for Cognitive lab at UIS

Cognitive lab at the University of Stavanger is now online - with a Norwegian and an English version (technically a news story; since UIS is in the process of launching new web pages later this autumn). I am one of six contact persons for the lab.

You can see the webpage(s) here:

ISQOLS 2020 presentation to be given on Zoom

My upcoming conference presentation "Wasted and wasteful growth in the USA" will take place on Zoom on the scheduled time Thursday August 27th at 14-16 (Rotterdam time), as part of the session “Growth, Poverty and Well-being”. The conference session is only available for registered participants at the 2020 conference of the International Society for Quality-of-Life Studies (ISQOLS).

See also:

Tuesday, 25 August 2020

Three meetings and parts of a virtual conference

Today I have attended three meetings - a brief faculty leadership meeting, the monthly meeting of the ph.d. committee for the ph.d. in social sciences (which I chair), and a meeting in the organizing committee for the 2020 Norwegian animal ethics conference (Dyreetikkonferansen) - see also separate post.

I also watched, at the end of the day, some of the first virtual events of the ISQOLS 2020 virtual conference.

Link to conference homepage, Facebook event page for Dyreetikkonferansen 2020

Dyreetikkonferansen 2020 will take place digitally on September 24th, with the theme "Velferd i isolasjonens tid: Isolasjon som løsning på helseutfordringer for mennesker og dyr?" (Welfare in the time of isolation: Isolation as solution on health challenges for humans and animals). See conference webpage, or the Facebook event page.

I am a member of the organizing committee.

Monday, 24 August 2020


Today I have had half an article writing day devoted to my companion chapter "Neurosemiotics across species", with some 300 words written. Total number of writing days this autumn is up to 5.

Saturday, 22 August 2020

Paper abstract on CCS and climate justice approved for special issue

My paper abstract for a special issue of Norsk Filosofisk tidsskrift on climate ethics (cf. previous post) has been approved by the guest editors of the issue. The article will undergo normal peer-review procedures. The full-text manuscript of my paper "Karbonfangst og klimarettferdighet" (Carbon capture and climate justice) is due December 15th.

Interview on future population decline aired on NRK P2´s Verdibørsen

Last Saturday, August 15th, I was featured with an interview in NRK P2s program Verdibørsen, "Er færre mennesker på Jorden en gladsak?" (Are fewer humans on Earth good news?). The journalist and program host was Jostein Gjertsen.

Podcast is available here.

Friday, 21 August 2020

Four meetings and a virtual glade; yesterday full-day hotel seminar

Today I have attended four meetings, namely three dialogue/feedback meetings with course coordinators for general ph.d. courses in the ph.d. program in social sciences, and a meeting in an appointments committee for a position as head of department. I have also watched part of today´s Biosemiotic Glade.

Yesterday I attended an all-day faculty leadership group seminar at Sola Strand hotel.

Wednesday, 19 August 2020

Three meetings

Today I have attended three meetings - another BOA meeting, and two faculty research administration meetings.

Tuesday, 18 August 2020

Half article day; writing plans for the autumn

Today I have had half an article day, devoted to planning for the autumn and finishing the disposition of my neurosemiotics chapter (in the process I coined the term "neurosemiotic agency"), with some 100 words written. Total number of article days in autumn is up to 4,5.

For the autumn as a whole, I have initially planned to have 38,5 article writing days. In comparison, in the autumn of 2019 I completed 32 article writing days (vs. 36 planned initially). This Spring I completed 54,5 article writing days (vs. 53 planned initially).

Faculty leadership group meeting

Today I have attended the semester´s first faculty leadership group meeting where everyone were present. For the rest of the day I have home office.

Monday, 17 August 2020


Today I have had another article writing day, the 4th this autumn, devoted to my neurosemiotics chapter, with some 500 words written.

Google Scholar: 487 citations; i10-index of 19

According to my Google Scholar profile my work has attracted 487 citations (+4 since July 16th). This includes 39 citations from 2020 (+4 since July 16th). My i10-index is now 19, meaning that 19 of my texts have been cited at least 10 times each (+1 since July 16th), my h-index remains 12.

Digital Ex.Phil.

Today I attended the first hour of the first Ex.phil. lecture this semester digitally, to have a look at my colleagues´ work and what the students are experiencing (I am not myself involved in teaching this semester). This included information about Ex.phil. this semester. Due to the corona virus pandemic, generally 2/3 of the students or so have to follow teaching digitally.

Friday, 14 August 2020

3rd writing day

Today I have had an article writing day, bringing this autumn´s total up to 3, with some 700 words written on a prospective article titled "Karbonfangst og klimarettferdighet" (Carbon capture and climate justice) and on my Routledge handbook book chapter "Neurosemiotics across species", in the form of two abstracts.

Abstract for "Neurosemiotics across species" chapter

I have just composed this book chapter abstract.


Neurosemiotics across species
By Morten Tønnessen

Behavioral neuroscience arguably comes with two contrasting pitfalls, which we can associate with anthropocentrism and anthropomorphism respectively. In the first instance, we neglect or misunderstand traits of non-human neurobiology because we mistakenly believe that such traits are uniquely human. In the second instance, we mistakenly attribute neurobiological traits found in humans to non-humans. To avoid both these pitfalls, we need to be clear on the actual characteristics of neurobiology across species. This will shed light on questions such as: How different are humans from non-humans in the context of neurosemiotics? What do we have in common with some other animals, and what is uniquely human? In this chapter, I build mainly on the neurosemiotics implicit in the Umwelt theory of Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944) and contemporary interpretations thereof. Uexküll´s pioneering thinking on neurosemiotics has influenced classical ethology as well as contemporary biosemiotics, code biology and cognitive semiotics, and shares some perspectives with cognitive ethology and comparative psychology. His neurosemiotic constructs include Merkzeichen and Wirkzeichen, Wirkwelt and Merkwelt, Umwelt and Innenwelt. The treatment will include a discussion about objecthood in perception and different organisms´ capacity for relating to objects. A distinction between proper subjects (i.e., organisms capable of having coherent experience) and quasi-subjects (i.e., organisms that have some sort of experience which is, however, disorganized or scattered) will be made. I also investigate the nature of the neural code(s) from the standpoints of biosemiotics and code biology, and provide an Uexküllian perspective on neural codes by framing neural codes in terms of Umwelt theory. In conclusion, the chapter further includes a biosemiotic perspective on certain methodological issues in neurobiology.

Biosemiotics 13(2) published

Biosemiotics 13(2) has appeared - a regular issue with 8 articles - see table of contents here.

A meeting

Today I have attended a meeting - physically - in the UIS quality system project, subproject C. This was the group´s first meeting since March.

To be opponent at 50% seminar of Emilie Bryne

On Wednesday September 30th at 10-12, I will be first opponent at the 50 % (mid-way) seminar of ph.d. candidate Emilie Bryne, whose ph.d. project is entitled "A realist evaluation of a dental service for people who have been victims of torture, abuse or suffer from dental phobia (TADA)" (main supervisor: Sarah Hean). The event will be streamed via Microsoft Teams.

Article abstract on carbon capture and climate justice

I have today composed and submitted an article abstract entitled "Karbonfangst og klimarettferdighet" (Carbon capture and climate justice) for a special issue of Norsk filosofisk tidsskrift on climate ethics.


Karbonfangst og klimarettferdighet

Av de mest politisk aktuelle klimatiltakene skiller karbonfangst seg ut med sin forutsetning om lagring av CO2 i geologiske formasjoner i flere tusen år. Mens tidsperspektivet for lagring av avfall i det store og hele ligner den type tidsperspektiv kjernekraft opererer med, er det få om noen andre klimatiltak som reiser tilsvarende problematikk. Dette gjør spørsmål om generasjonsrettferdighet særlig aktuelt for karbonfangstens del. Dersom karbonfangst får petroleumsprodusenter som Norge til å forlenge oljealderen, f.eks. i håp om å utvikle «utslippsfri» blå hydrogen, kommer også spørsmål om rettferdighet mellom rike og fattige land inn i bildet.
Det hefter både praktiske og etiske problemer ved de storstilte planene om karbonfangst som bl.a. FNs klimapanel har stilt seg bak. Disse har i liten grad vært gjenstand for diskusjon. Mens CO2 fra dagens rundt 20 store karbonfangst-prosjekter internasjonalt i de fleste tilfellene benyttes som trykkstøtte for økt utvinning av olje og gass, er de karbonfangstprosjektene det nå etterlyses flere tusen av fram mot 2050 tenkt å være såkalt «dedikert geologisk lagring», uten kommersiell nyttiggjøring av lagret CO2.
Sikker lagring av CO2 forutsetter en tidshorisont på flere tusen år. Studier fra forsknings- og industrihold argumenterer for at det finnes nok av lagringssteder hvor man kan være trygge på at CO2 ikke lekker ut av CO2-reservoarene. Jeg vil argumentere for at troen på at vi kan forutsi fremtidig geologisk utvikling så langt fram i tid på bakgrunn av dagens vitenskapelige kunnskap er naiv og bygger på et utdatert mekanistisk natursyn.
Overvåkningsteknologi er under utvikling som vil kunne melde fra dersom lekkasjer inntreffer og tiltak må settes inn. Om det skulle være mulig å bruke teknologi utviklet i vår tid i flere tusen år – en tvilsom forutsetning – så ville det imidlertid låse oss til en høyteknologisk utviklingsbane, og dermed gjøre menneskehetens fremtidige handlingsrom mindre.
Jeg vil argumentere for at planene om storstilt karbonfangst strider mot prinsippet om at forurenseren skal betale. Det er fullstendig urealistisk å tro at kostnadene for lagring av CO2 over flere tusen år skal kunne dekkes av de bedriftene og landene som i dag er ansvarlige for størsteparten av CO2-utslippene. Ikke noe land, og ingen bedrift – heller ikke noe forsikringsselskap – har eksistert over så lang tid. Det sannsynlige resultatet er derfor at fremtidens generasjoner vil måtte bære en stor del av byrden for vår tids klimagassutslipp, dersom storstilt karbonfangst blir en sentral klimaløsning.
Klimaøkonomen William Nordhaus antar at fortsatt økonomisk vekst de neste århundrene sannsynligvis uansett vil gi fremtidens generasjoner bedre levekår enn vi har i dag. Den antagelsen må imidlertid problematiseres både med tanke på hva som er mulig, og med tanke på hva som er ønskelig gitt en bærekraftig fremtid.
Jeg vil endelig argumentere for at karbonfangst strider med føre-var prinsippet, siden en stor satsning på dette innebærer betydelig moralsk risiko om det ikke skulle lykkes å forhindre katastrofale klimaendringer med denne strategien. Det finnes klimatiltak som vil ha like rask og kanskje mer varig effekt og ikke innebære den samme risikoen eller urettferdigheten.

Thursday, 13 August 2020

Writing - neurosemiotics

Today I have had an article writing day devoted to my neurosemiotics chapter, with some 600 words written. Number of writing days this Autumn is up to 2.

Wednesday, 12 August 2020

Another half writing day devoted to neurosemiotics chapter

Some 100 words written. Number of writing days this autumn is up to 1.

Verdibørsen interview on population decline

Today I have been interviewed by Jostein Gjertsen for a Verdibørsen program that will air on NRK P2 this Saturday. The topic for the interview was scenarios and visions for population decline in this century and beyond.

Appointments committee meeting

Today I have attended this autumn´s first appointments committee meeting at Faculty of social sciences.

Tuesday, 11 August 2020

Five meetings

Today, at my first day this autumn on campus (and my second day at work), I have taken part in five meetings: A brief faculty leadership meeting, a meeting on a joint ph.d. project (Faculty of health sciences / Faculty of social sciences) related to Cognitive lab, a working group meeting for Cognitive lab where we decided on name and concept for the lab, an organizing committee meeting for the Norwegian animal ethics conference 2020, and a research administration meeting.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Half writing day

Today I have had the first half article writing day this autumn, with some 300 words written on my neurosemiotics chapter "Neurosemiotics across species".

Wasted growth paper scheduled for presentation at virtual ISQOLS 2020 conference

My presentation "Wasted and wasteful growth in the USA" has been scheduled for presentation at the virtual ISQOLS conference (International Society for Quality-of-life Studies) on Thursday August 27th at 14-16 (Rotterdam time), as part of the session “Growth, Poverty and Well-being”. My presentation is for 30 minutes.

Back at work; digital semester opening

Today I am back from holidays. I have watched the digital University of Stavanger semester opening event from my living room couch.

Thursday, 6 August 2020

To write chapter on biosemiotic medicine

I have agreed to write a book chapter on biosemiotic medicine for a book edited by Carlos Guido Musso on kidney cross talk which is prospectively to be published by Springer. My chapter will address connections between biosemiotic perspectives and human and animal health issues, and include discussion about the body as interface between human health and ecology.

Tuesday, 4 August 2020

Minimizing anthropogenic mortality paper not selected for virtual IAEP 2020 conference

I have been notified by organizers that my paper proposal "The case for minimizing anthropogenic mortality in wildlife management" has not been selected for the program of the virtual version of the 2020 conference of the International Association for Environmental Philosophy (IAEP). The conference was originally to be held in Toronto in October.