Photo of Colin Klein

APA Member Interview: Colin Klein

Colin Klein is an ARC Future Fellow and a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Philosophy at Macquarie University in Australia. He works on philosophy of mind and philosophy of science, very broadly construed.

Who do you think is the most underrated philosopher?

I’ve always had a soft spot for Ernest Nagel. Subsequent philosophy of science often shoves the late positivists into a cartoon villain mold. If you look beyond the standard excerpts, though, Nagel’s work is surprisingly thoughtful and sensitive, and touches on many topics that are still relevant.

What is your favorite thing that you’ve written?

I am proud of my book What the Body Commands: The Imperative Theory of Pain (MIT Press 2015). It’s the sort of work I love doing, combining philosophy and careful reading of empirical work. Pain is a great philosophical topic: it pops up in many different areas of philosophy, and laypeople really engage with it as well.

What is your favorite holiday and why? 


Thanksgiving. It is the most stubbornly non-commercial of the major holidays, and done right is all about the joys of having friends and family around and sharing a meal. I really miss it having moved to Australia, but I’ve found a clutch of expats who are willing to roast turkey in the summertime with me.

What time of day are you most productive and creative?

Between about 5:30 and 7:30 am. I love it when I can get up and write first thing in the day, before everything piles up and I still feel fresh. Plus then whatever else happens, the day feels productive.

When did you last sing to yourself, or to someone else?

My son is still too young to realize that I’m a terrible singer, so he catches the brunt of it. When he was very young the only songs I knew well enough to sing as lullabies were child-inappropriate narrative songs; he got a lot of “Whiskey in the Jar,” “Lakes of Pontchartrain,” and “Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.” I have been slowly learning proper toddler songs though.

What advice do you wish someone had given you?

It sounds really boring, but: archive every email and keep an accurate record of your calendar. Modern bureaucracy will demand that you produce all sorts of information that you don’t expect (especially if you emigrate!), and it’s easy to forget the details a decade down the line. Space is cheap these days, so there’s no reason not to.

Find out more about Colin here.  

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This section of the APA Blog is designed to get to know our fellow philosophers a little better. We’re including profiles of APA members that spotlight what captures their interest not only inside the office, but also outside of it. We’d love for you to be a part of it, so please contact us via the interview nomination form here.