Per Hasle

Per Hasle


Building A2.28


Research and education information

Originally educated as a linguist (M.Phil. in German Philology, 1981) as well as a computer scientist (Exam.Scient. and Ph.D. in computer science, 1989), my approach to the field of information science strives to systematically integrate humanistic and computer science.

My special fields are

  • temporal logic
  • rhetoric
  • computer rhetoric
  • information architecture

What unites these fields in my approach is the relation between time and human understanding, crucial also to the subject of rhetoric. In my current studies, I focus on rhetorical uses of computers - for instance, websites aimed at influencing attitudes and behaviour of their users, or E-learning programs with the aim not just of "teaching", but also of developing specific qualities or attitudes in their users. And in turn, such processes have to do exactly with time and understanding.


Per F. V. Hasle (PH) was born in Fredericia, Denmark, on 29th October 1956. He enrolled in the University of Aarhus in 1975 to study German Philology, where he specialised within the field of mathematical linguistics. In 1981 PH graduated as cand. phil. (approx. M. Phil). in German Philology. His masters dissertation on presuppositions in Montague Grammar was awarded first class honours. In 1984 that degree was supplemented by the degree of exam. scient. (approx. B.Sc.) in computer science.


From mid-1983 to mid-1986, PH was employed at the University of Aarhus as a junior lecturer. From November 1986 till July 1988 he was employed as a Research Assistant at the University of Cambridge Computer Laboratory, where he did research on the logical and computational semantics of plurals and mass terms in English. Based on this research the University of Aarhus awarded PH his Ph.D. in Computer Science in June 1989.

From September 1988 till March 1992, PH was employed as a Research Associate at the Department for Communication at the University of Aalborg. In April 1992, PH was employed as Associate Professor at the Department for Information and Media Science at the University of Aarhus.

From 1998 till 2006 PH was Head of External Examiners (Censorformand) for the studies in Humanistic Informatics at the University of Aalborg, the University of Copenhagen, and the University of Southern Denmark.

In 2000, Per F. V. Hasle was appointed full Professor for Humanistic Information Science at the Department of Business Communication and Information Science, University of Southern Denmark. He held this position till 2003, where he became full Professor at the Department of Communication, University of Aalborg.

In 2008, Per Hasle was appointed Rector of the Royal School of Library and Information Science.

Per F. V. Hasle is author of numerous articles on language, logic and information, and especially on the work of Arthur N. Prior. Co-author with Peter Øhrstrøm of Temporal Logic - from Ancient Ideas to Artificial Intelligence (Kluwer 1995), a seminal volume on the development of the logic of time from Antiquity to the present day. In his native country PH is known especially for his contribution to the development of the field of humanistic information science, including publications on computer semiotics and rhetoric.

Since 2000, PH has devoted himself increasingly to rhetorical issues in information technology. In these studies he emphasises two aspects, persuasive design of computer software and ethical issues in information technology.

Persuasive design is the development in which computer software is used not merely for information purposes, but increasingly as a medium for influencing attitudes and behaviours of users. While logic in a broad sense is fundamental to classical information purposes, the rise of persuasive design brings rhetoric to the fore. In papers on rhetoric and information technology, PH has demonstrated how rhetoric is useful when persuasive purposes are at hand. Moreover, the perspective is even more encompassing than that: rhetoric provides a wholesale theoretical framework for understanding system development as constructive (or prescriptive) rather than descriptive processes. Rhetoric and persuasive design both play a significant role in Aalborg University's M.Sc. education in information architecture .

In studies of rhetoric, ethics and information technology, PH emphasises the role of ethos as a crucial parameter in rhetorical thought. Rather than mere persuasion, rhetorical ethos has to do with the ethical themes to which all kinds of communication give rise - as well as the self-development of the rhetorician. The foundational ethical issues studied and discussed in Rhetoric during two millennia are highly relevant for the ethics of IT-communication - basing this discussion on a historically and systematically profound basis. This is the case because IT-based communication is to a quite surprisingly high degree determinable within the theoretical framework of rhetoric, as already suggested in connection with persuasive design.