Simo Knuuttila


July 6, 2022

Simo Jussi Iisakki Knuuttila (8 May 1946 Peräseinäjoki – 2022) was a Finnish theologian and philosopher of religion. He was an academy professor at the Academy of Finland (1994–2009) and a professor of theological ethics and philosophy of religion at the University of Helsinki's Department of Systematic Theology (1981–2014). Knuuttila's central articles have been collected in the book Järjen ja tutuinen verstummat (1998).

Life and Career

Knuuttila was a student of Jaakko Hintika. He received his doctorate in theology from the University of Helsinki in 1976 with the dissertation Time and Possibility in Scholasticism. He was a research assistant at the Academy of Finland in 1976–1978, a junior researcher in 1978–1980, a temporary professor of practical philosophy in 1981. He was a member of the board of the International Society for the Study of Medieval Philosophy (Société Internationale pour l'Étude de la Philosophie Médiévale) since 1987 and was also an Institut Member of the Editorial Board of the International de Philosophie and the New Synthesis Historical Library series. He was the head of the Finnish Academy of Sciences in 2004–2006. Knuuttila was the director of two of the Academy of Finland's multidisciplinary research excellence units, the History of Mind Research Unit (2002–2007) and the Philosophical Psychology, Morality and Politics Research Excellence Unit (2008–2013).


Knuuttila was above all a researcher of the history of philosophy. He especially studied the history of logic and philosophy of mind and focused on antiquity and the Middle Ages. In terms of his philosophical orientation, he represented analytical philosophy. In addition to his main works, he edited several works on the history of philosophy and wrote numerous articles, for example on modal logic to The Cambridge History of Later Medieval Philosophy. He headed the translation work group of Aristotle's works and himself translated Nicomachean Ethics and First Analytics into Finnish.

Awards and recognition

Professor Knuuttila has been a member of the Finnish Academy of Sciences since 1988 and a member of the Academia Europæa since 2004. In 2008, Knuuttila was awarded the Gad Rausing Award of the Royal Swedish Academy of Fine Arts for research work in the humanities. In 2011, he received the Finnish Science Prize, which is awarded every two years, and is worth 85,000 euros.


Time and Modality in Aristotelian Scholasticism. Time and Modality in Aristotelian Scholasticism. Society for Missiology and Ecumenics, 1975. ISBN 951-95205-3-8. Modalities in Medieval Philosophy. Routledge, London 1993. Renaissance. Simo Knuuttila et al. Painatuskeskus, Helsinki 1995. Stratifications of reason and emotion. Publications of the Finnish Theological Literature Society 215. Helsinki: Suomalainen Teologinen killisuusseura, 1998. ISBN 952-9791-29-1. Emotions in Ancient and Medieval Philosophy. Clarendon Press, Oxford 2004.



Alhanen, Kai & Perhoniemi, Tuukka: Simo Knuuttila – a delicate thinker. So & so 2/2002, p. 56. Alhanen, Kai & Perhoniemi, Tuukka: Conversation with Simo Knuuttila - About God, logic and love. So & so 2/2002, pp. 57–61. Holopainen, Taina M. & Holopainen, Toivo J. (eds.): Movements of the Soul: Philosophical Historical Writings. Simo Knuuttila's 50th anniversary book. Helsinki: Gaudeamus, 1996. ISBN 951-662-654-8. Sintonen, Kirsti: Emotions in play from antiquity to the new era: Professor of the Year 2002 - academy professor Simo Knuuttila. Acatiim 1/2003. Sihvola, Juha: Simo Knuuttila's writings decisively change the overall picture of the history of philosophy. Helsingin Sanomat 3 April 1999.

On topic elsewhere

Simo Knuuttila.[outdated link] Center of Excellence for Research in Philosophical Psychology, Morality and Politics.