New Contributor: Oliver Lean

Posted on March 12, 2018 by

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It is a pleasure to introduce our newest contributor, Dr. Oliver Lean! Oli completed his PhD at the University of Bristol (2016) under the supervision of Samir Okasha. Previously, he also completed an MA in Philosophy and History of Science, and a BSc in Biochemistry at Bristol. Oli is currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the University of Calgary as part of the From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics project with Ken Waters.

Oli is an expert in pragmatism and the philosophy of information, which together provide a unique lens for his investigation of topics in philosophy of science, biology, and philosophy of mind, such as causation, Darwinism, scientific practice, and metaphysical claims about reality.  In working with Oli, I’ve discovered that issues concerning information permeate philosophy to an incredible extent. I think it’s safe to say that our readers will thoroughly enjoy his insights on a wide range of topic areas. And if you’re not a pragmatist already, be prepared. Oli’s general approach might just bring you over to the likes of William James. Nothing is off the pragmatic table: I attended a talk at the Apeiron Society where Oli reconciled the scientific perspective with mystical experience, through pragmatism of course. I will never forget how, in the Q&A, Apeiron attendees (literally) roared in favourable response to how he addressed the Dawkins-type objection that philosophy is dead. I thought they might carry him out of the room on their shoulders in celebration, and that is no joke.

Not only is Oli a stellar philosopher, but he is also a very fun person! His humor is always well-received by those around him. Oli and I had a blast together on our Walking Dead tour in Atlanta after the 25th Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association in November of 2016. He is also known for ‘Monkey Metaphysics’: he proposed a functional analysis of classification in non-human animals at the 2017 Banff meeting for the From Biological Practice to Scientific Metaphysics project. I look forward to reading more from Oli, and I’ll always keep my fingers crossed for something about zombies, but I know Oli is not one to be monkeying around!!

Welcome aboard Oli!

-Alison