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Professor Vasilis Politis, Trinity College Dublin

Ustinov College

January - March 2018

Professor Vasilis Politis attended the University of Oxford from 1982

where he completed his B.A., B.Phil., and D.Phil., followed by a

Fellowship to the Stiftung Maximilianeum in Munich in 1984-1985.

Since 1992 he has taught at Trinity College Dublin. In 2004 he was

elected to a Fellowship at Trinity College Dublin; in 2007-2008 he

was Senior Research Fellow of the Irish Research Council; and in

2009-2010 he was Fellow at the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin. He

has held visiting professorships in Leiden University (Holland) and

Wuhan University (China), and in 2017 he is a visiting professor in

Uppsala University (Sweden) and Renmin University (China).

Professor Politis specialises in Ancient Greek Philosophy. With the

publication of

The Structure of Enquiry in Plato’s Early Dialogues

(Cambridge, 2015), and following numerous papers, he recently

completed a major research project, on the function of aporia -

puzzlement and particular puzzles - in the method of argument and

enquiry of Plato and Aristotle. The significance of this project has

been recognised not least through the collection of papers due to

appear on this topic, and covering the whole of Ancient Philosophy:

The Aporetic Tradition in Ancient Philosophy

(Cambridge, 2017),

edited by Professor Politis and Dr George Karamanolis (University of


Professor Politis is currently working on a new major research

project, which builds on the previous one—this being the project

that he plans to advance and, if possible, bring to completion during

his stay at the IAS. A central thesis of his previous project is that

Plato shows that if we want to engage with and try to answer certain

radical questions—and questions that are typically of a general

human interest—then we are committed to the search for the

essence of things. In this current project, he explores Plato’s great

metaphysical theory, the theory of Forms, from this perspective.

The aim is to demonstrate that the central commitments in Plato’s

mature metaphysics can be derived from the basic commitment to

intellectual enquiry and from the twin sources of radical enquiry:



and the search for essences. The wider aim is to

make Plato’s metaphysics live and significant in contemporary

debate, in the way in which Aristotle’s metaphysics is live and

significant in contemporary metaphysics.

Professor Sverre Raffnsøe, Copenhagen Business School

Hatfield College

January - March 2018

Sverre Raffnsøe is Professor of Philosophy at Copenhagen Business

School and editor-in-chief of

Foucault Studies

. Since 2008, he

has been PI of three major externally funded four-year research

programmes, designed to foster interdisciplinary collaboration.

His educational background is in philosophy and comparative

literature; he has been visiting professor at the Danish Institute of

Advanced Studies in the Humanities, the former Danish University

of Education and Linköping University; and he is a partner in the

international Research Network

Trust and Risk in Literature

, funded

by the Danish Council for Independent Research.

Professor Raffnsøe is the author of books and articles on aesthetics,

social philosophy, management and governance, critical and

cultural theory, and recent French and German philosophy.

A research focus has been the structure and the structuring

of societal reality. In 2002 he was awarded Dr. habil. for the


Coexistence without common sense I-III

, aiming to

articulate the nature of the current social bond. For the last three

years, the notion and the articulation of social structures have

further played a pivotal role in publications in journals such as

Organization, International Journal of Philosophy and Theology,

Outlines, Organization Studies, Management & Organizational

History, Ephemera,


Journal of Political Power

. A structural

approach to the analysis of social relations is for example

developed in: ‘Beyond Rule: Trust and Power as Capacities’ and

‘Foucault’s dispositive.’ This approach was also applied within a

structural analysis of processes of management, learning, value

creation and creativity in ‘Learning to stay ahead of time’ and

‘Søren Kierkegaard.’ In particular, the articulation of an ongoing

structuration forms a privileged starting point for social analysis,

philosophical analytics and meditation in the monograph


Foucault: philosophy as diagnosis of the present

(Palgrave, 2016).

A relational approach to the human factor is equally present in two

recent books on the Anthropocene:

The Human Turn

(CBS, 2013)


Philosophy of the Anthropocene

(Palgrave, 2016).

At the IAS, Professor Raffnsøe plans to continue his study of social

structures and structuring. He investigates the Foucauldian notion

of the “dispositive” as a key motif in Foucault’s thought and a

methodological approach. A relational and dispositional approach

to the human factor will be further developed in a monograph

contracted with Routledge,

Managing Motivation: the human turn in

management thought.