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Arto Haapala

Arto Kalervo Haapala
Born January 3, 1959, Helsinki

Bachelor of Arts 1982 (theoretical philosophy), Master of Arts 1984 (aesthetics), University of Helsinki
PhD 1988 (Philosophy), Birkbeck College, University of London
Docent in aesthetics 1989–, University of Helsinki

Visiting Professor in Philosophy 2015, University of Murcia, Spain
Professor of aesthetics 2000–, University of Helsinki
Acting Professor of aesthetics, 1995–2000, University of Helsinki
Affiliated Professor in Philosophy 2001, Temple University, USA
Visiting Professor in Philosophy 1999–2000, Lancaster University, UK
Senior researcher 1999–2000 and research fellow 1993–1995, Academy of Finland
Teaching assistant in aesthetics 1989–1993, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activity
Research themes: ontological questions concerning works of art, the interpretation of art, everyday aesthetics, aesthetic well-being

The 2004 Yrjö Hirn prize, awarded by the Finnish Society for Aesthetics

Photo: Heikki Tuuli
Written by Arto Haapala (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Aesthetics in everyday Life?

Everyday aesthetics is a growing branch of aesthetics where the reality of aesthetics outside the world of art is investigated with philosophical methods. Here, everyday can mean everyday artefacts and environments, but it can just as well mean the attitude and way of experiencing things that arises when we are in the familiarity and safety of our everyday lives. The latter perspective emphasises the fact that anything can be prosaic, including art.

Well-being and quality of life are in many ways a function of these different and often hidden aesthetic values included in our everyday reality. Tables, coffee percolators, cars, buildings and other similar things play a central role in our lives and well-being, as do different spaces and popular cultural phenomena. While this is self-evident in many ways, it has seldom been researched from an aesthetical-philosophical perspective.

The study of everyday aesthetics uncovers these hidden problems and provides answers to questions of well-being. In this way, we can demonstrate the diversity of aesthetic values and their importance in everyday life and provide the tools both for understanding those values and simultaneously for promoting well-being.

Arto Haapala investigates everyday life and everyday aesthetics through the thinking of Martin Heidegger. His starting point is the vision of a utensil that Heidegger presents in his work Being and Time (Sein und Zeit, 1927): it is invisible when working but at the same time safe. Haapala takes a critical approach to other theoreticians’ perspectives on everyday aesthetics, for instance those of Yuriko Saito and Thomas Leddy.

Haapala’s position is that everyday life is a form of experience, and everyday aesthetics consists of the rhythm of everyday life, and the security created by it predictability and pleasantness.

One of Arto Haapala’s most recent international endeavours is the founding of an academic journal. The publisher of the first three volumes of the Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology was Bloomsbury; in future, the publisher will be Routledge. The Journal is an English language publication focusing on phenomenological aesthetics.

Professor Arto Haapala is the founder of the "Journal of Aesthetics and Phenomenology".


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