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Lauri Järvilehto

Born July 18, 1977, Helsinki

MA 2007 (Theoretical Philosophy), University of Helsinki
PhD 2011 (Philosophy), University of Jyväkylä

Founder and Chairman (2009-) and CEO (2009–2013) of the Academy of Philosophy
CEO and co-founder of Extended Mind Technologies, 2013–2014
Entrepreneur, composer and musician at Underwater Music, 1997–2009
Producer and composer at Musicmakers, 2001–2002
Conductor at the Swedish Theatre, 2000–2001

The Nature and Function of Intuitive Thought and Decision Making (Springer 2015)
Monenkirjavia kuvitelmia (‘Variously Patterned Fictions’, Tammi 2014)
Hauskan oppimisen vallankumous (‘The revolution of fun learning’, PS-Kustannus 2014)
Upeaa työtä! (‘Great work!’, Tammi 2013)
Tee itsestäsi mestariajattelija (‘Make yourself a master thinker’, Tammi 2012)

He has also published academic articles in peer-reviewed journals and books, as well as expert articles in Parliamentary publications, and popular articles.

Photo: Jani Saajanaho
Written by Lauri Järvilehto (Riitta-Ilona Hurmerinta, ed.)
Translated by
Joe McVeigh

From one journey of exploration to another

I feel like I am some kind of adventuring explorer in a metaphysical thought experiment. One of my first memories is of when I was five years old and sitting under a tree wondering why the world is the way it is. When I was growing up, I got very interested in music. At 14, I decided I would become a musician. I started to make time to work on it with determination. At 17, I had already composed my first theme music for the TV.

Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​
Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​

In 1997, when I was in my twenties, I moved to Helsinki. I set up my first studio in Pasila and worked practically around the clock on music. It was great to make music for television, to produce albums and to play gigs around Finland. In 2000 I worked as the conductor of the Swedish Theatre’s production of The Lord of the Rings musical and in 2001–02 I was the producer and composer in Musicmakers, Finland’s largest production company. Then the fast pace of the work backfired: I no longer found my work to be rewarding.

From a musician to a researcher

In 2003 I moved to Paris to reflect on what I really wanted. Then I realised that I had brought along the material for the theoretical philosophy entrance exam at the University of Helsinki. I returned to Finland and began my studies by taking up philosophy. When I started to write my dissertation in 2007, the harsh truth began to unfold for me: there are basically no jobs for philosophers.

During one conference in 2008, I half-jokingly said that I should found my own university: a place where you can research, lecture, think and discuss freely. In the end the idea grew into the Academy of Philosophy, a research and training company which currently employs almost 20 researchers and instructors. We were able to create a for-profit model which guarantees an adequate income for the employees of our academically free and innovative community.

The Academy of Philosophy. Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​
The Academy of Philosophy. Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​

From a researcher to a developer of education

In 2011 I had begun working with learning games. We wanted to thoroughly investigate how learning games should be made. In the autumn of 2014, work on the learning game front began to happen in earnest. Since then I have been mostly heading into learning and school reform, with a special emphasis on learning games and digital learning. Research and working life development have lessened.

The mission has long been to make things which significantly add to the general well-being of people, or ‘Life with a capital L’. I feel that learning and schools are the main pressure points where the changes brought about can greatly radiate out into both our society and the whole world.

We are close to a revolution in fun-filled learning, or situations where anyone can learn anywhere at their own pace and in their own way. At the moment I feel like the most significant actions on the forefront of this revolution make it so that more and more people can achieve meaning in their everyday lives and can feel good in life.

Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​
Photo: Lauri Järvilehto's personal archives.​


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