Harry Alanen

About me

I am a 3rd year DPhil (read: PhD) student in Philosopy at the University of Oxford. My research is on Aristotle's philosophy of action, and it is supervised by Prof. Ursula Coope, and Prof. Terence Irwin (in 2014-15). Before starting the DPhil I completed the M. St. in Ancient Philosophy at Oxford, and prior to that, a BA in Philosophy at the University of Helsinki—my home town.

Before pursuing a career in academia I worked as an entrepreneur in the IT-sector, co-founding Developer's Helsinki, a web development company. After three years I decided that a career in the private sector was not my calling, and so I returned to finish a degree in Philosophy that I had left behind. During my first day back at the university I realized that what I really love is learning new things, and so it became clear to me that a career in academia is what I wanted to pursue.

During January to April 2017, I will be a visiting research student at Yale University, working with Prof. David Charles on my thesis. The visit is supported by grants from the Alfred Kordelin Foundation and New College, Oxford.

My research

My current research is on Aristotle's philosophy of action, in particular, on questions relating to the ontology of actions, and the psychology of agents. I am interested in seeing how Aristotle's approach to the explanation of action differs from contemporary approaches, especially causal theories inspired by the work of Donald Davidson.

More generally, I am interested in how contemporary problems in philosophy derive or relate to the history of philosophy. I am also interested in action in relation to ethics, and in the philosophy of Wittgenstein. If you are working on, or interested in, similar topics, get in touch!