Páll Skúlason has passed away

The philosopher Páll Skúlason died on the last day of the Icelandic winter, Wednesday 22 April 2015 at the National Hospital of Iceland. Páll who was diagnosed with leukemia in the Fall of 2012 fought a valient battle against a cruel disease with great serenity, supported by family and friends.

Páll was determined to use whatever time was left to him to make his works available to the general public. In the past three years he managed, with the help of coworkers from the field of philosophy, to publish six books. In addition he completed two manuscripts which will be published in the coming months. He thought, wrote and was determined to enjoy life until the very end.

Páll´s family will continue to maintain this website in his memory. In his philosophy, Páll strove to touch people´s lives and get us all to reflect on our prejudices and seek ways to improve our world. This website will make Páll´s writings and reflections available and give voice to his message about the power of thought in human life.

New book - A Critique of Universities

New book - published january 2015

Whart sort of institution should the university aspire to be? What role should it be playing in the present? How should it be governed? Are universities taking proper care of the knowledge that they are responsible for? These questions, along with others, are pursued by Páll Skúlason in the present volume on the basis of many years of reflection and experience of university administration. His main thesis is that universities need to be more dedicated to critical thinking and to cultivate the moral dimension of scientific, and technical knowledge.


Saga and Philosophy

In this paper, which gives its name to a collection of articles in English published in 1999, I argue that we need to bring narration and philosophy together in order to understand our historical world. I take as an exemple the philosophies of Hegel and Marx to show how they require realistic narrations to give substance to their theories.


On Justice, Love, and Freedom

Or Three Perspectives on Ethical Decision


A sketch of some basic moral principles

 and how they should be applied



In this lecture I want to raise the following questions: Are there any basic moral principles that we can learn to understand and apply correctly in our daily work and relationships?


The Never-ending Paper, or the Problem of Entering Derrida

A talk for the Philosophy Society
in the University of Aberdeen February 22, 1994

On the contemporary philosophical scene, Derrida holds a remarkable posi­tion. Some people take him to be the most original thinker of our times. Others take him to be the greatest charlatan of 20th century philosophy. And maybe he is both. Or neither.


The Ethics of Nature

On Nature, values and our duties towards animals


In this paper we will mainly be discussing three related topics: first, the values of life; second, the view that we humans have of nature; and, third, our duties towards animals.


Mankind’s Responsibility for the Future

Let me begin by telling you what I am not going to do in this paper. I will not be discussing various philosophical theories about responsibil­ity. My purpose is much more specific. I want to try to map out the main areas where our responsibility for the future is at stake and thus indicate how we may assume our responsibility.


The Roles of the Philosopher in Public Life

Unpublished paper, still a work in progress
In this paper I will discuss three related theses about the possible roles of the philosopher in public life: (1) He tries to make sense of the world; (2) he tries to educate people to appreciate true values; and (3) he criticizes his own time in light of ideals of practical reason.


On Morality and Justice

Paper delivered at a Colloquium in honor of Michael M. Karlsson at the University of Akureyri on April 19th 2013.

I argue that the Icelandic terms jafnrétti (equal rights), jafnræði (equal position) and jöfnuður (equality) may help us understand  better the concept of Justice.


Involuntary treason

Professor of Philosophy Páll Skúlason on the economic crisis.
Interview in Grapevine 4.12.2008

A Grapevine reporter sat down with Páll to discuss the philosophical sides of the current economic crisis, and to investigate if the current economic bankruptcy was perhaps preceded by a moral bankruptcy.


Nature and Purpose of Academic Thought

  This paper was originally delivered at Hólar at a conference celebrating the 900th anni­versary of the School of Hólar on the 29th of April 2006.

This paper deals with the question why universities have become so important in our societies. In answering this question, the author discusses the cosmopolitan nature of universities and describes their activity as the exercise of theoretical thinking. He distinguishes such thinking from political, religious and commercial modes of thinking,


Question of Technology

My concern is to introduce specific questions about technology that I would ask you to consider. I hope that these questions will remain in your minds, giving rise to new ideas that could provoke further discussion at this conference. My presentation merely provides a cursory overview of the issues at stake; it is in no way intended to be exhaustive. Rather, its main purpose is to outline a philosophical point of view pertaining to the subject matter of this conference.


The Aims and Institutional Structure of the University

The Aims and Institutional Structure of the University

How is the university to be organized institutionally? This question has been much discussed recently, and many universities have been reorganized according to certain models which are now in fashion. But there has perhaps been too little systematic recognition of the fact that different institutional models are ordered to different ends; that is to say, it is the ends that are to be served that determine – or anyway should determine – the structure of an institution dedicated to those ends. If this is so, it is a mistake to focus too intensively on any one institutional model and to try to re-form every important institution according to a single paradigm.

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