Monday, August 12, 2013

Esa Saarinen 60 years: Philosophy with relevance, significance and empathy

Professor Esa Saarinen reached 60 years of age on 27th of July. To celebrate this event, his colleagues, friends and collaborators over the years prepared a book called "Elämän filosofi" (Philosopher of Life). This book, edited by Frank Martela, Lauri Järvilehto, Peter Kenttä and Jaakko Korhonen, was compiled as a surprise gift. The book contains 17 contributions from a number of authors, discussing different aspects Saarinen's life and work.

Esa Saarinen got his doctorate at the age of 24 at the University of Helsinki, working for a famous logician and philosopher, professor Jaakko Hintikka. After working in the 70's in the tradition of analytic philosophy and philosophical logic, Saarinen moved in the 1980's to broader themes including existentialism, philosophy of feminism, history of philosophy, and philosophy of culture. In 2000, as an initiative of professor Raimo P. Hämäläinen, he was invited to join the faculty at Helsinki University of Technology (currently Aalto University) where he has been teaching very popular courses on Applied Philosophy, Philosophy of Life, and Systems Thinking with even more than half a thousand students participating each voluntary course. Saarinen and Hämäläinen have jointly developed the concept of Systems Intelligence, to help in understanding human behaviors from a point of view that Saarinen calls optimistic and realistic. This work combines engineering and systems thinking with humanistic tradition.

On Monday, 12th of August, a seminar was organized in the honor of professor Saarinen and to provide an overview on his work and its broad influence in academic world as well as more broadly in the society. The speakers consisted of a subset of the contributors for the book Philosopher of Life:

  • The head of the Department of Industrial Engineering and Management at Aalto University, Hannele Wallenius: Opening of the seminar.
  • Frank Martela: "An Introduction to Saarinen's Elevation Philosophy"
  • Ilkka Niiniluoto: "Is Esa Saarinen a Systems Intellectual?"
  • James Wilk: "Icarus: Disembodied Knowledge, Bureaucratic Thinking, and the Hopeful Return to Reality"
  • Raimo Hämäläinen: "Esa Saarinen and Systems Intelligence"
  • Lauri Järvilehto: "Sokratic Conductor - Esa Saarinen's Elevating Practice of Life Philosophy"
  • Makke Leppänen & Ollis Leppänen: "Pafos Capital - Esa Saarinen's Pafos Pedagogy and Psychological Capital"
  • Kirsti Lonka: "Views into E. Saarinen's Pedagogy of Human Florishing"
  • Sam Inkinen: "'Imagologies' - Esa Saarinen as a Contemporary and Visionary of Media Society"
  • Heikki Peltola: "Towards Interhumanity - Development of Esa Saarinen's Leadership Philosophy"
  • Tapio Aaltonen: "Dramaturgy of Spiritual Leadership"
  • J.T. Bergqvist: "Let Yourself to Get Inspired – Esa as a Liberator of Hidden Potential"
  • Matti Alahuhta: "Leadership"
  • Pertti Korhonen: "Esa Saarinen - a Deliberator of Human Beings"
  • Jorma Ollila: "Esa Saarinen and the World of a Business Leader"

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