Yesterday, the manuscript for our book Semiotic agency: Science beyond mechanism was submitted to Springer Nature, after a couple of years´ work. The manuscript counts 12 chapters, a glossary and an index, and several figures. I am the second author of the book, along with Alexei Sharov as first author.
Wednesday, 31 March 2021
Tuesday, 30 March 2021
Yesterday I had half an article writing day devoted to go through a language-edited version of my article “Anticipating the societal transformation required to solve the environmental crisis in the 21st century”. I finished today. The article - my longest ever, I think - will be published very soon, in a special issue of Sign Systems Studies.
Accumulated number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 25,5.
Sunday, 28 March 2021
Today I have done abstract review for NASS XII, as part of the conference´s scientific committee.
Today I have had an article writing day, doing final editing of references in two chapters written by me, and making some edits in a third chapter. With this, my planned work with the book Semiotic agency is finished (at least until we receive peer-reviews and editorial comments).
Number of writing days this Spring is up to 25.
The first Target Article of Biosemiotics has been published. It is written by Denis Noble, Emeritus Professor of Cardiovascular Physiology, Oxford University, and titled "The illusions of the Modern Synthesis".
Noble cites three of my articles:
Tønnessen, M. (2010). Wolf land. Biosemiotics, 3, 289–297.
Tønnessen, M. (2015a). The biosemiotic glossary project: Agent, agency. Biosemiotics, 8, 125–143.
Tønnessen, M. (2015b). Umwelt and language. In Velmezova, E., Kull, K., Cowley, S.J. (Eds) Biosemiotic Perspectives on Language and Linguistics. Springer. Pp. 77–96.
"I think Darwin was right and was brilliantly foresighted to resist Wallace’s attempt to subsume intentional sexual (and by implication other forms of social) selection to natural selection. Brilliant because I think he must have been aware of the importance of the distinction he was making. He did not use the word agency, but I think he would have agreed with biosemioticians that the concept is necessary to understand the meanings organisms give to the signs and communicative paradigms they use (Tønnessen 2015a)."
"If we follow Ginsburg and Jablonka’s (2019) arguments for attributing conscious action to many other organisms capable of unlimited associative learning, then those organisms must also be capable of intended or unintended illusions. I am assuming here, of course, that conscious meaning is a prerequisite of the creation of illusions. I think that biosemiotics could make valuable contributions to this issue. As an example, through understanding the perspective (the Umwelt) of an animal like the wolf (Tønnessen 2010) we may come to understand its possible use of illusory behavior in predator-prey interactions and in signaling within social networks. Organisms capable of anticipatory behavior surely must use such tactics in successful hunting, just as conscious prey must do so to avoid them. I suspect that this must be what Tønnessen has in mind when he refers to “the naïvety of prey”. They become less naïve precisely through developing anticipation of the diversionary signs from predators.
Of course, I am not suggesting that all illusory signs in organisms are intended. ..."
"Tønnessen (2015b) has also addressed the application of Umwelt theory to human language in which he argues that “language is not external to Umwelt, but internal to it. Language changes the human Umwelt not by escaping or sidelining it, but by fundamentally transforming it.” This gets to the core of what I think happened in the development of the illusions of the Modern Synthesis between 1940 and the end of the last century. Language was crafted in creating a coherent model of how organisms work and how they depend on and interact with their environment. In a biosemiotic context we could call it the Umwelt, the mind-set on the nature of the environment-organism interaction, of the Modern Synthesis."
Noble´s article is Open Access and can be read and downloaded here on the homepage of the journal.
Commentaries to the Target Article are soon to be published, including one written by me.
Friday, 26 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day focused on editing selected sections of three chapters in our book Semiotic agency, with some 300 words written (net). Accumulated number of writing days this Spring is up to 24.
My invited presentation "Steffens’ ideas about organic meteorology. From the Totalorganismus to planetary health?" has been scheduled for oral presentation on Saturday October 9th at 10.00-10.30, as part of the conference «“…just as alluring as instructive…” – Henrik Steffens’ Concept of Nature in Science, Humanities and Arts around 1800», to be held at University of Copenhagen October 7-9th 2021 (see here for a brief thematic description of the conference).
Thursday, 25 March 2021
Wednesday, 24 March 2021
Cognitive lab: Updated homepage; news story on the establishment of steering group and working committee
The Norwegian language homepage of Cognitive lab has been updated.I am listed as chair of the steering group. The full steering group is presented in a PDF.
Also, a news story has been published on UIS.no, titled "Styre og arbeidsutval på plass i Kognitiv lab" (Steering group and working committee established for Cognitive lab), featuring an interview with me on recent developments for the lab.
Tuesday, 23 March 2021
Today I have attended half an emergency preparedness meeting (covid-related), the weekly faculty leadership group meeting, and a guided tour for the faculty leadership at Kjell Arholms hus.
Monday, 22 March 2021
Sunday, 21 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day, with some 600 words written while adding entries to the index and making further edits in chapter 12 "Agentology" of our book Semiotic agency. The number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 23.
My article "Existential universals: Biosemiosis and existential semiosis", first published as (see also here):
Tønnessen, Morten (2017). Existential universals: Biosemiosis and existential semiosis. Chinese Semiotic Studies 13(4): 381–398. Published online November 16th 2017. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/css-2017-0022.
will as mentioned earlier be reprinted in the anthology Transcending Signs (for which it was initially intended). Updated reference for the chapter to be reprinted:
Tønnessen, Morten, forthcoming. Existential universals: Biosemiosis and existential semiosis. To be reprinted in Eero Tarasti, Sayantan Dasgupta and Paul Forsell (eds.), Transcending Signs – Essays in Existential Semiotics. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Friday, 19 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day, with some 8-900 words written while editing and adding to the glossary of our book Semiotic agency. I also reworked a figure. Total number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 22.
Thursday, 18 March 2021
To speak at digital workshop "Animal (Pre)History, Agency & Legacy" May 12th; abstract: "Individuality and subjectivity in animals in light of Umwelt temporality"
I have been scheduled to speak at the interdisciplinary online workshop "Animal (Pre)History, Agency & Legacy", organized by the Centre for Interdisciplinary Research (ZiF) at University of Bielefeld, Germany and to be held via Zoom 10-12 May 2021. The workshop is organized by Stephanie Zehnle and Shumon T. Hussain. My talk, "Individuality and subjectivity in animals in light of Umwelt temporality", is scheduled for live presentation on May 12th at 13.00-13.30 CET. The workshop is not a public event, but for invited participants only.
Individuality and subjectivity in animals in light of Umwelt temporality
In a biosemiotic understanding, all animals are endowed with an Umwelt as described by the German-Baltic biologist Jakob von Uexküll (1864–1944) in his classical Umwelt theory, which was developed in the period between 1909 and 1940. In my work, I have focused on developing perspectives on Umwelt temporality, starting with a notion of “Umwelt transition” (i.e., environmental change as seen from an Umwelt perspective). While some Umwelt transitions are regular (e.g. developmental), others represent historical events. Another central term in my work is “Umwelt trajectory”, representing the path through time taken by a living being as described by way of its changing relations to significant others. These notions may be applied in historical studies as well as futures studies. This provides us with a theoretical framework and methodology for studying animals as agents endowed with individual semiotic agency.
Wednesday, 17 March 2021
Tuesday, 16 March 2021
Today I have participated in 4 meetings. This included the weekly faculty leadership group meeting, and my first department council (instituttråd) meeting.
Monday, 15 March 2021
Sunday, 14 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day devoted to edit chapter 10 of our book Semiotic agency, "Composite agency", with some 400 words written in the process (net). Total number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 21.
According to Google Scholar (cf. my profile), my work now has a total of 507 citations (+20 since February 5th but -10 since December 30th). This includes 16 citations in 2021. The 2020 total now stands at 68 citations (+7 since February 5th and +3 since December 30th), making 2020 my third best year to date.
"Umwelt transitions: Uexküll and environmental change" (2009) is now my most cited paper (43 citations), ahead of "Umwelt ethics" (2003, 42 citations). "The ethics of laying hen genetics" (2020) already has 11 citations, and is my 14-17th most cited paper (first author: Mia Fernyhough), with 6 citations in 2020 and 5 citations so far in 2021.
My i10-index is now 18 (+2 since February 5th but -2 since December 30th), meaning that 18 of my papers have been cited 10 times or more. M h-index is 13 (+1 since February 5th and equal to my h-index as of December 30th).
Altogether my Google Scholar profile lists 100 texts (which might include a few duplicates, non-scientific texts where my name appears etc.). Of these, 52 have been cited.
Friday, 12 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day, devoted to editing chapter 8 of our book Semiotic agency, "Semiogenesis", with some 300 words written. Number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 20.
Thursday, 11 March 2021
Today I have attended 4 meetings. This included a start-up meeting for a project at the department in extension of an existing research project.
Total number of scheduled meetings for the week: 14 - plus a training/course session.
Wednesday, 10 March 2021
I have agreed to be a plenary speaker at Tartu Summer School of Semiotics 2021, which will be held in Sammuli, Estonia, on August 13-16th. The topic for the summer school is "Semiotic horizons: Time, memory and future".
Tuesday, 9 March 2021
Today I have attended three meetings, including the second staff meeting at Department of social studies this Spring, which I chaired, with about 50 people present via Zoom. I also attended 3 hours of training in following up on the annual employee survey (medarbeiderundersøkelse).
Monday, 8 March 2021
Today I have attended four meetings. This included a leadership forum at the university, and a meeting related to the Journal of Comparative Social Work, which is hosted by the Department of social studies.
Sunday, 7 March 2021
Today I have edited chapter 6 of our book Semiotic agency, "Conceptualizing agency", with some 700 words written. Number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 19.
Friday, 5 March 2021
Today I have had an article writing day devoted to our book Semiotic agency, with some 800 words written, and the introductory chapter edited, in addition to the remaining parts of chapter 7, Semiosis. Number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 18.
Wednesday, 3 March 2021
Tonight I have had half an article writing day, and written a commentary on Denis Noble´s Target article for Biosemiotics "The illusions of the Modern Synthesis", with some 1.800 words written. I also sent a proof-read version of "Neurosemiotics across species" (Routledge handbook chapter) to the editors along with Contributor agreement and bionote.
Total number of writing days so far this Spring is up to 17.
Yesterday I finished the second revision of my CCS paper "Karbonfangst i lys av generasjonsrettferdighet", with some 300 more words written.
Today I have taken part in 4 job interviews for the position as office manager at Department of social studies, and a meeting related to establishing a master degree in child welfare.
Tuesday, 2 March 2021
Today I have attended 5 meetings. This included the weekly faculty leadership group meeting, and a covid-related faculty meeting (also weekly).
Monday, 1 March 2021
Today I have taken part in two meetings - my weekly meeting with the office manager, and a training session for work planning (and use of the program WorkPlan).