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. His main research contributions are in the philosophy of science and applied mathematics, but his research and teaching include the history of logic, mathematics, and science, formal logic, decision and game theory, critical thinking, philosophy of language, and epistemology broadly construed. He has also recently been working on learning Ancient Greek and preparing to teach ancient Greek philosophy.

In addition to his teaching and research activities, Nic has also been involved with various outreach, regulation, and curricular initiatives to promote the teaching of philosophy and critical thinking in BC high schools.

In addition to his university service, Nic is currently serving as Vice-President of the Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science and as Chair of the Board of Ethics Bowl Canada. He has also recently been on the Program committee of the American Philosophical Association (Pacific division) and of many other international conferences.

Areas of Interest

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

Current Research Projects

Nic has ongoing research projects in each of 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 Articles

  • Fillion, N. (2021), "Semantic layering and the success of mathematical sciences," European Journal for Philosophy of Science, 11 (3), 1-25.
  • Fillion, N. (2021), "Developing core competencies with the Ethics Bowl," Detours: Social Science Education Research Journal, 1 (1), 1-9.
  • Fillion, N. and Lynn, M. (2021). "The Content and Logic of Imperatives," Axiomathes, 31: 419-436.
  • Fillion, N. and Corless, R.M. (2019). "Concepts of Solution and the Finite Element Method: A Philosophical Take on Variational Crimes," Philosophy & Technology, 34: 129-148.
  • Fillion, N. (2018) "Clinical Equipoise and Ethics of Adaptive Clinical Trials," Topoi, 38(2): 457-467.
For a full list of Nic's publication, see his page on Google Scholar.

Most Significant Articles

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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., Corless R.M., and Kotsireas, I. (Eds) (2019). Algorithms and Complexity in Mathematics, Epistemology, and Science, in Fields Institute Communications, Springer.
  • 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.


  • Lesley B. Cormack Award for Excellence in Teaching, Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, SFU, 2019.
  • Foundational Questions Institute (FQXi) 2015 Essay Prize “Trick or Truth: the Mysterious Connection Between Physics and Mathematics”, for my essay "Demystifying the Applicability of Mathematics."
  • Notable Book 2013 list of the ACM Computing Reviews for the book A Graduate Introduction to Numerical Methods in the category "Mathematics of Computing."