Vassilis Filias was born in Athens in 1927 and read law at the University of Athens from 1946 to 1953. He then continued his studies in theoretical economics and sociology at the German universities in Munich and Hamburg. At the Faculty of Economics and Social Sciences of the University of Hamburg, he received his doctorate in 1960 with the dissertation “Das Verhältnis sozial wirksamer Faktoren in der Soziologie Max Webers” (The Relation of socially effective Factors in Max Weber’s Sociology). He completed his education with postgraduate studies in development economics at the London School of Economics (1963-1964).
In the following years, Filia’s career was strongly influenced by the political developments in his home country (for more on this please see the chapter Political Activities).
From 1975 Filias worked at the Panteion School of Political Sciences in Athens, first as a lecturer and from 1977 as a tenured professor of sociology.
From 1981 to 1982 he held the post of Dean at the Panteion University. In 1985, he founded the new Department of Sociology there, which he chaired as President until 1989. The department quickly established itself and received great recognition nationally and internationally.
This positive development of the Panteion in the years 1975 to 1989 was due to the close cooperation with Professor Sakis Karagiorgas and other professors who had fought against the junta in the years 1967 to 1974. The university reached a high academic level and took a leading position among higher education institutions in the country. Vassilis Filias was among the university professors who applied the highest quality standards in the selection and evaluation of faculty and students. For this reason he is still being seen as the “patriarch of sociology” in Greece. He was an advocate of a broad, universal education and generally rejected concentration on and exclusive specialisation in a single subject or topic.