Nicolas Fillion

Associate Professor of Philosophy


PhD Philosophy (Western University), MSc Applied Mathematics (Western University), MA Philosophy (Université Laval), BA Mathematics (University of Illinois), BA Philosophy (Université Laval)


Nic has been at SFU since 2013, shortly after completing his PhD in philosophy at Western University. In addition to his departmental duties, Nic is currently serving as vice-president of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science, as member of the Program committee of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific division), and was recently on the Board of governors of the Canadian Philosophical Association. He his also a member of the Steering Committee of the Canadian High School Ethics Bowl, and the organizer of the BC Ethics Bowl.

Nic's main research contributions are in the philosophy of science and applied mathematics, but his research and teaching include the history of science, logic & mathematics, formal logic, decision and game theory, critical thinking, philosophy of language, and epistemology broadly construed. In addition to his teaching and research activities, he has also been involved with various outreach, regulation, and curricular initiatives to promote the teaching of philosophy and critical thinking in BC high schools.

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Science, Philosophy of Mathematics, Logic, Scientific Computation, History of Mathematics, Philosophy of conspiracy theory (which explains the profile picture)

Current Research Projects

Nic has ongoing research projects in all his areas of interests. Please consult his personal website for an up-to-date description.

Funded research: "The third pillar of scientific rationality", SSHRC Insight Grant, $75,713, 2018-2022 (Collaborators: Rob Corless and Chris Smeenk)

Recent Publications

  • Fillion, N. and Lynn, M. (2020). “The Content and Logic of Imperatives,” Axiomathes, Special issue: Imperatives.
  • Fillion, N. and Corless, R.M. (2019). “Concepts of Solution and the Finite Element Method: A Philosophical Take on Variational Crimes,” Philosophy & Technology.
  • Fillion, N. (2018) "Clinical Equipoise and Ethics of Adaptive Clinical Trials,'' Topoi, Special issue: Foundations of Clinical Reasoning.
  • Fillion, N., Corless R.M., and Kotsireas, I. (Eds) (2019). Algorithms and Complexity in Mathematics, Epistemology, and Science, in Fields Institute Communications, Springer.
  • Fillion, N. and Moir, R (2018). "Explanation and Abstraction from the Backward Error Analysis Perspective,'' European Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 8(3), pp. 735-759.

Most Significant Publications

  • R.M. Corless & N. Fillion (2013). A Graduate Introduction to Numerical Methods, From the Point of View of Backward Error Analysis, Springer: New York, 868pp. [This book made the Notable Book 2013 list of the ACM Computing Reviews in the category "Mathematics of Computing.'']
  • Fillion N (2016). "Demystifying the Applicability of Mathematics,'' in: A. Aguirre, B. Foster and Z. Merali (Eds), Trick or Truth: the Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics? (Essay-Winning Awards of the Foundational Questions Institute 2015), Springer, pp. 135-144.
  • N. Fillion & R.M. Corless (2014). On the Epistemological Analysis of Modeling and Computational Error in the Mathematical Sciences, Synthese, 191: 1451-1467.
  • Fillion, N. and Bangu, S. (2015). "Numerical Methods, Complexity, and Epistemic Hierarchies,'' Philosophy of Science, 82: 941-955.
  • Bellhouse, D.R. and Fillion, N. (2015). "Le Her and Other Problems in Probability Discussed by Bernoulli, Montmort and Waldegrave,'' Statistical Science, 30(1): 26-39.

Please see my personal website for my full list of publications, CV, and all that.