Esa Saarinen

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Esa Saarinen giving a lecture at the Aalto University in January 2020

Esa Jouni Olavi Saarinen (born 27 July 1953 in Hyvinkää, Finland) is a Finnish philosopher who was a professor of applied philosophy at Aalto University and co-director of the Systems Intelligence Research Group,[1] until his retirement in 2021.

Saarinen completed his PhD degree in 1978 at the University of Helsinki, where he has since held a docentship. His extrovert public persona – he became known as the “punk doctor” – was reflected in his lectures at the university, which drew increasingly large audiences until the late 1990s.[citation needed] After failing to get the position of full-time professor at the Department of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Saarinen resigned from his lecturer position.[citation needed] Soon afterwards he was appointed professor at Helsinki University of Technology, since then renamed Aalto University.[citation needed]

Saarinen's philosophical interests have changed dramatically, from early writings in formal logic, to concerns with existentialism and later to media philosophy. The year 1994 saw the publication of Saarinen's best-known non-academic work, Imagologies: Media Philosophy, written jointly with American philosopher Mark C. Taylor.

In addition to academic teaching, Saarinen has also continued his business as a coach for Finnish companies and organisations, promoting a doctrine of self-actualization.[citation needed]

Saarinen is married to Pipsa Pallasvesa and has two sons, Jerome and Oliver, born in 1989.[1]

One of Esa Saarinen's former students is the philosopher Pekka Himanen.

Esa Saarinen was stabbed with a knife by a student outside a lecture hall in March 2014. He survived without life-threatening injuries.[2]



  1. ^ a b Kuka kukin on 2003, pp. 867–868. Helsinki: Otava, 2002. ISBN 951-1-18086-X
  2. ^ Thursday's papers: Professor stabbing, icebreaker move and spring-like driving conditions. Yleisradio. March 6, 2014.