Fan Zhang works in the intersection of archaeology and philosophy. One of the main research questions he asks is: Can archaeology make profound contributions to philosophy? To answer the question, he explores extensive theoretical literature in archaeology in addition to excavating archaeological sensibilities beyond metaphorical references in the history of philosophy. Modern archaeology’s extensive engagement with all branches of sciences from physics, geology, chemistry and biology to computer science and its established roles in art history and area studies such as Middle Eastern studies and European history provide Fan with dynamic interdisciplinary perspectives. In archaeology’s streamlining of fieldwork and laboratory, practice and theory, quantitative and qualitative methods, historiographical and speculative analyses, Fan detects a unique strain of empiricism that will prove useful to philosophers. For Fan, archaeologists are philosophers with a shovel.
Fan Zhang is a member of CAA International and of Canadian Society for the History and Philosophy of Science.