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Masks in Venice. Biennale 2015. Photo by Dorthe Jørgensen

Memorial site for WILLY AASTRUP at afdø

Read Kjeld Holm’s funeral sermon here.

Read Dorthe Jørgensen’s funeral speech here.

Read Irek Bialek’s memorial words here.

Read Dorthe Jørgensen’s text for a literary bench at the Langenæs Church, Aarhus, here.

Read Dorthe Jørgensen’s bonfire speech 2021 here.

Why limit oneself to just one thing? Why allow one’s mind to be enslaved by the one-dimensionality of modern specialization? Dorthe Jørgensen is a Danish philosophy professor, writer, theologian, literary historian, and historian of ideas who lives and works in Aarhus, Denmark. Read more about her in Biography and Profile.

Reality is multidimensional, says Dorthe Jørgensen. There is a surplus of meaning if only we seize the moment when the sun splits the clouds or the door is left ajar. That is world poetry; it is what opens the mind and gives food for thought. Based on philosophical aesthetics and hermeneutic phenomenology, Dorthe Jørgensen has developed a philosophy about this experiential dimension of the world, a philosophy entitled the metaphysics of experience. Read about it in Philosophy.

Dorthe Jørgensen has presented her thought in various forms, in both poetic and academic texts. She refuses to choose between being a writer or a philosopher. She insists on the way of thinking pertained to what in Europe used to be meant by an intellectual. Find references to Dorthe Jørgensen’s books in Publications. Find topics on which she offers talks and lectures in Outreach.

Book releases: “Poetic Inclinations” and “Imaginative Moods," Jan. 29, 2021. See also below and Publications


New research projects: 

1. Moral Imagination

2. Eternal Life

Two Interrelated projects,


Appointed Board Member, 2021; Ocean Institute (Tænketanken Hav), established 2021 


English Presentation of the Metaphysics of Experience

Dorthe Jørgensen’s metaphysics of experience is well known and widely used in the Nordic countries. This also applies to her research in philosophical aesthetics, hermeneutic phenomenology, and the philosophy of religion. On January 29, 2021, Aarhus University Press publishes two volumes entitled Poetic Inclinations and Imaginative Moods that together constitute the hitherto most comprehensive presentation in English of her thought. The books are available here and here.

Poetic Inclinations - Ethics, History, Philosophy: Philosophy originates in wonder that generates aesthetic thinking. Can this thinking foster human well-being and develop our notions of history, hospitality, freedom, and the good life? The book presents the formative nature of aesthetic thinking and attests its relevance in many disciplines and a broad spectrum of society, e.g., border studies, education policy, and social work.

Cover  - Table of contents  

Imaginative Moods - Aesthetics, Religion, Philosophy: What do human experiences of transcendence mean? Would investigating their mind-opening and world-transformative nature improve contemporary philosophy and theology? The book shows the importance of experiences traditionally categorized as religious or aesthetic for our understanding of, e.g., art, faith, prayer, presence, beauty, sensitivity, imagination, receptivity, and divinity.

Cover - Table of contents

The books may appeal to scholars and students within theology, the humanities, and the social sciences - but can also be relevant for practitioners such as artists, priests, teachers, pedagogues, psychologists, and social workers.

Spatiality and Sacrality

The purpose of this work in progress is to develop the philosophical basis for a book on sacred spaces, made in collaboration with visual artist Peter Brandes. The book will consist of phenomenological photos produced by Brandes and poetic-philosophical texts written by Dorthe Jørgensen. In their photos and texts, Brandes and Jørgensen will investigate the phenomenon of space experience in general, and the experience of the sacral nature of some spaces in particular. Dorthe Jørgensen will conduct phenomenological studies of personal space experiences acquired through visits to both religious and worldly spaces in Rome (churches and chapels, temples, the mosque and the synagogue, museums, streets, squares, parks, etc.). Simultaneously, she will study a selection of philosophical notions of spatiality and sacrality worded by, among others, Mario Perniola, Gaston Bachelard, Gernot Böhme, Rudolf Otto, Eugenio Trías, and Jean-Louis Chrétien. Dorthe Jørgensen has chosen Rome as the source and frame of her studies due to Rome’s unique wealth of diverse spaces, both various religious spaces and many different museums, in addition to a diversity of urban spaces. The Danish Institute in Rome generously supports her work, which will be published by Wunderbuch.

The Ethical Implications of Experiencing Transcendence

When we read a poem and find it beautiful, we have an aesthetic experience that is not controlled by us but occurs to us. The experience of beauty is the epitome of such experience and is historically often described as an experience of transcendence. Both aesthetic and religious experiences are experiences of transcendence; they are similar but also different. Modern and postmodern art, literature, philosophy, and theology testify to the fact that we have experiences of transcendence that are not experiences of something transcendent (a static essence). The transcendent may be not only near (rather than distant) but also substituted by immanent transcendence regarded as an opening up of mind and world which neither implies that we leave the  immanent nor that we obtain any knowledge of anything transcendent. Experiencing transcendence may be the event that we simply sense a surplus: we experience more than what the understanding can understand. Could such experience of transcendence be the limit experience that enables moral conduct and which should not be ignored by ethics? What could this imply for current discussions in, for instance, politics, environment studies, medicine, and religion? Dorthe Jørgensen’s research in this field is related to her book Poetic Inclinations mentioned above.

Find slides from a lecture on “Creativity and Aesthetic Thinking” that applies aesthetics ethically here.

Read Dorthe Jørgensen’s contribution “Nej’ets etik og kunsten at dø” (The Ethics of Saying ‘No’ and the Art of Dying) in no. 3 of the online journal Omtanke published by the think tank Eksistensen here.


The Metaphysics of Experience and Its Implications in Theology, Pedagogy, and Science

Systematic research in philosophical aesthetics, hermeneutic phenomenology, and philosophy of religion for the purpose of formulating a metaphysics of experience and developing its theoretical and practical implications in theology, pedagogy, and science. In Danish, this work resulted in a large number of articles as well as three monographs: Den skønne tænkning: Veje til erfaringsmetafysik. Religionsfilosofisk udmøntet (Beautiful Thinking: Pathways to the Metaphysics of Experience. Religio-philosophically Implemented, 2014, 965 pages), Nærvær og eftertanke: Mit pædagogiske laboratorium (Presence and Afterthought: My Educational Laboratory, 2015, 360 pages), and Hvorfor er vi så fantasiforskrækkede? Om reformationen og æstetikken (Why Are We Afraid of the Imagination? About the Reformation and Aesthetics, 2017, 70 pages). In English, the aforementioned research resulted in a large number of articles: “Sensoriness and Transcendence: On the Aesthetic Possibility of Experiencing Divinity” (2015), “Philosophy at a Crossroads” (2015), “The Dialogue of Experience” (2016), “Experience, Metaphysics, and Immanent Transcendence” (2015), “The Philosophy of Imagination” (2017), “Creativity and Aesthetic Thinking: Toward an Aesthetics of Well-being” (2018), “The Intermediate World: A Key Concept in Beautiful Thinking” (2018), “Limit and Threshold: Knowledge and Ethics in the Making” (2019), and “Protestantism and Its Aesthetic Discontents” (2020). See Publications, Profile, and Philosophy for further details and links.


Appointed member, Editorial Advisory Board, the journal “Open Philosophy” (de Gruyter Open, Berlin)


Research stay at the Danish Institute in Rome due to the research project “Spatiality and Sacrality,” 2018

Publication of “Experience in a New Key,” topical issue in “Open Philosophy,” Vol. 2 (de Gruyter Open, Berlin), 2019

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