Lilli Alanen

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Lilli Alanen (née Gullichsen, born 1946) is a Finnish philosopher and Professor of History of Philosophy at Department of Philosophy at Uppsala University, Sweden. She specialises in the history of philosophy — with particular interest in René Descartes and David Hume but she has also contributed to feminist philosophy.

In her critically received book[1] on Descartes (2003), Alanen goes beyond mere history, drawing out the historical antecedents and the intellectual evolution of Descartes' thinking about the mind, showing how his emphasis on the embodiment of the mind has implications far more complex and interesting than the usual dualist account associated with his thinking suggests.

Lilli Alanen is a member of the Ahlström family. Her mother was Finnish art collector and patronage Maire Gullichsen.

Selection of writings by Alanen

  • Lilli Alanen, Descartes's Concept of Mind, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass., 2003.
  • Lilli Alanen and Charlotte Witt (eds.), Feminist Reflections on the History of Philosophy (The New Synthese Historical Library), Springer, New York, 2004.
  • Lilli Alanen and Sara Heinämaa (eds.), Commonality and Particularity in Ethics, Palgrave Macmillan, London, 1997.
  • Lilli Alanen, Studies in Cartesian epistemology and philosophy of mind, Acta philosophica Fennica, Helsinki, 1982.


  1. See, for instance, Sean Crawford, "Descartes's Concept of Mind is a rigorous and imaginative work, and a worthy corrective to the popular image of Descartes's philosophy of mind as narrowly concerned only with the indubitably known immaterial mind of the solitary meditator." Metapsychology, Volume: 8, Number: 36, 2004.

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