New leadership at the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science
“Leadership and organisation have to be approached with the intellect and the heart,” says Alexander Almér, recently appointed Head of the Department of Philosophy, Linguistics and Theory of Science. The new Deputy Head of Department is Christine Howes.
Alexander Almér thinks the Head of Department role is an exciting one.
“When you put your all into doing something good, it’s stimulating. I have a great belief in the importance of our subjects in the modern world and in the way they interact. And I see great potential in the wide-ranging activities already being carried out in the department to build further collaboration, both with other disciplines and with surrounding society.”
Questions about the academic legitimacy of the humanities and their role in society are regularly raised in public debate.
“Our department can make a contribution to the debate by demonstrating potential ways forward, applying our disciplines in theory and in practice,” says Alexander Almér.
Philosopher and cognition scientist
Alexander Almér has long experience in the university world and was formerly Head of the Division of Cognition and Communication in the Department of Applied IT where he previously held the post of Deputy Head of Department and taught cognitive science.
“I started by completing a PhD in theoretical philosophy in 2007. If someone today were to ask what I was working on back then, I would say something about philosophy of language, pragmatics and semantics. I might also mention that I see thinking, language and communication as complex expressions of the fact that we are social biological creatures who have developed over a long period of time under pressure of selection. As a cognitive scientist, I have dedicated time to building an education programme at the University of Gothenburg while also conducting research,” says Alexander Almér, continuing:
“I’m interested in what emotions are and the cognitive and social role they have. A related theme is social impact on decisions, assessments and behaviours, plus group-related phenomena such as polarisation. I look forward to having the opportunity to bring together the threads from my philosophical studies and the work I did later.”
From London to Gothenburg
Christine Howes has been appointed Deputy Head of Department. A senior lecturer in computational linguistics, she has been working in the department since 2014 when she moved to Sweden from London.
“My research is about conversation and interaction – especially misunderstandings – which could be handy as a manager. I come from the UK and have experience of a different higher education system. This means I have a broad perspective on how universities work (and when they don't...),” says Christine Howes.
For a few years now, she has been Head of the Linguistics, Logic and Theory of Science Unit. She will retain this role.
The two took up their new posts on 1 April and are appointed for six years until 30 June 2028.
Text: Monica Havström