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Gabriel Sandu

Born November 6, 1954, Bucharest (Romania)

Master of Arts 1984, PhD 1991, docent in theoretical philosophy 1992, University of Helsinki
Master of Economics 1978, Academy of Economic Sciences (Bucharest)

Professor of theoretical philosophy 1998– and director of studies 2010­–, University of Helsinki
Acting professor 2007–2008, professor 2008–2009, Pantheon-Sorbonne University
Research professor 2004–2007, International History, Philosophy and Science Teaching Group, the French National Centre for Scientific Research
Director of the Department of Philosophy 2001–2003, University of Helsinki
Member of the departmental council of the Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies 2010–, University of Helsinki

Publications, research projects and other academic activities

Research themes
The philosophy of language, logic, formal semantics, anaphora, truth theory

Romanian presidential award of merit in the field of culture 2015
Member of the Academia Europaea
Member of the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters
Vice-chairman of the International Institute of Philosophy

Photo: Gabriel Sandu's home archive
Written by Gabriel Sandu (Tomas Sjöblom, ed.)
Translated by Matthew Billington

Logician Dabbling with Logistics

I was the Director of the Department of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki between 2001 and 2003, when the department moved from the Metsätalo building to Siltavuorenpenger. The move required an expansion of my philosophical expertise, as I needed to plan the location and décor of the new offices with architects and the technical crew. It was a real logistical achievement for a logician to arrange 55 individuals working in philosophy in a manner acceptable to all.

The Department of Anatomy had previously been located on Siltavuorenpenger, and the “amphitheatre” that they had used had to be exorcised to drive out the evil spirits that had accumulated over the years. One day I had the opportunity to observe when three priests—a Lutheran, a Catholic and an Orthodox—performed an exorcism to set things right with the spirit world, and while they were at it they blessed the new philosophy offices. Despite all this, the next ten years at Siltavuorenpenger were honourably spent teaching and learning rational thought. If philosophy at Siltavuorenpenger served as an antidote to superstition, then moving the department back to the top floor of Metsätalo raised philosophy back to to its traditional place. It is, after all, the font of all sciences.

In the wake of an international conference, I had the opportunity to apply for lifetime tenure as a research professor (Directeur de recherches) at the French National Centre of Scientific Research (Centre National de la Rescherche Scientifique). I decided that a change in scene was in order, and I moved from Helsinki to Paris.

Gabriel Sandu at the University of Amsterdam in 2012. Photo from Gabriel Sandu’s home archive.


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