Film and book favorites: Timo Airaksinen, Professor Emeritus of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki.


(photo credit: Foto Airaksinen)

Dr. Airaksinen is one of the best known philosophers in Finland. In addition to his professorial duties at the University of Helsinki, he frequently takes part in public discussions about various topics, and is a popular speaker. Some of his work has been translated into English, including

  • The Philosophy of Marquis de Sade (1995)
  • Ethics of Coercion and Authority (1988)
  • The Philosophy of H.P. Lovecraft (1999)

Here are his film and book favorites. Thanks for taking part, Professor! 


Most of the films I see today, and I see many, are rubbish. So, this list is from my youth when I still could truly appreciate the motion picture art. The best Western ever is the “Last Train from Gun Hill.” It is stern, straightforward, and convincing story of a lawman doing his work plus having a revenge motive. Kirk Douglas is so good in this film! Then of course “Doctor Strangelove.” What can I say? I like the comedy, politics, and the cowboy bomber pilot and all the technical work the crew does. Finally, to go back to this day, the films of Mae West are something else, especially when she sings about the “Willie of the Valley.” It is obscenely funny. I like her swagger when she walks and talks, too.


I discuss only novels although these days I mostly read non-fiction and philosophy. The best novel ever for me is Herman Melvilles “Moby Dick.” I have visited New Brunswick, MA where it all starts and the beautiful whaling museum there. The White Whale is an unforgettable symbol of something (I do not know of what, though). The book should be read together with Edgar Allan Poe’s “A. Gordon Pym,” a seriously underestimated masterpiece of American literature. I also read Kafka’s “The Trial” and “The Castle,” although I do not seem to like those book so much. I have written several scholarly articles on them and as objects of serious study they are the best. I love them because I do not know they mean.

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