Esa Saarinen is a Finnish philosopher who is professor of applied philosophy at Aalto University and co-director of the Systems Intelligence Research Group.
Saarinen completed his Ph.D. degree in 1978 at the University of Helsinki, where he has since held docentship. His extrovert public persona - he became known as the punk doctor - was reflected in his lectures at the university, which drew increasingly large audiences until the late 1990s. After failing to get the position of full-time professor at the Departmernt of Philosophy at the University of Helsinki, Saarinen resigned his lecturer position. Soon afterwards he was appointed professor at Helsinki University of Technology, since renamed Aalto University. His lectures there each year draw full lecture halls.
Saarinen's philosophical interests have changed dramatically, from early writings in formal logic, to concerns with existentialism and later to media philosophy. The year 1994 saw the publication of Saarinen's most well-known work, Imagologies: Media Philosophy, written jointly with American philosopher Mark C. Taylor. The collage of writings was based on a joint course they ran simultaneously in Finland and USA via conference telecasting - one of the first ever in university education. During the last five years he has been most active in developing the concept of systems intelligence together with professor Raimo P. Hämäläinen.