About me

I am Professor of Jurisprudence at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Before joining the staff at Helsinki, I was Professor of Legal Theory at the University of Leicester, UK, from 2004 to 2011. From 2001 to 2004, I worked at the Helsinki Collegium for Advanced Studies, an interdisciplinary research institute, as Deputy-Director and Fellow, and prior to that I served a three year term as Director of the Finnish Institute in London, a charitable trust advancing cultural and academic co-operation between Finland and the UK and Ireland. I am involved in the editorial work of two international journals both reflecting my personal research interests: Law and Critique (published by Springer), and Law, Culture and the Humanities (published by Sage). My research work is guided by a dedication to interdisciplinary approaches to law and international collaboration, and I hope that these will also be reflected in my teaching.

My three published monographs revolve around a central theme.

Thinking Without Desire (Hart, 1999) attempted to show how the ‘scientific’ pursuit for knowledge that legal positivism had adopted from its neo-Kantian affiliations made a philosophy of law impossible. The only philosophical position in relation to law, the book claimed, had to be a ‘first philosophy’.
The second monograph (Järjen lait [“The Laws of Reason”], Tutkijaliitto, 2002) further explored the Kantian and neo-Kantian traditions that continue to condition legal scholarship with epistemological claims and prerequisites.
Finally, Sovereignty, Knowledge, Law (Routledge, 2009) analysed the various ways in which the notion of sovereignty has been used to prevent the scientific project from failing.

The two projects I am currently working on are spin-offs from the former.

The first continues the theme of sovereignty, but this time from a perspective that is closer to constitutional theory and sociological constitutionalism. It involves a ‘political constitutional theory’, informed by the work of Carl Schmitt, claiming that, despite its explicit allegiance to politics, conventional political constitutionalism undermines that which is specifically political about constitutions. In addition to the theoretical framework, the project addresses issues such as the political tensions between the elected branches and the judiciary and the gradual shift of factual power from the legislature to the executive in contemporary liberal democracies.

The second is an attempt to reformulate and to radicalise the idea of law as a human science, as a Geisteswissenschaft, or a ‘moral science’ as John Stuart Mill would have called it.

I teach jurisprudence and socio-legal-related modules at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels, and I am heavily involved in the research training of postgraduate research students. I welcome proposals for supervision from potential research students working in my areas (international students working in English are more than welcome), especially in constitutional theory and interdisciplinary research in law and political theory.

You will find more detailed information (CV, publications, etc.) here. You can download a vCard here.