When I was a teenager, I hesitated between three paths: composition, physics, or philosophy.
I quickly found out that composition or science didn’t give me the satisfaction or motivate me in the way that philosophy did. When I was 17, my Dutch teacher asked the class where they would want to be in 10 years. Most answered in terms of success, of various sorts. I had already thought of this question, and decided that, even if I should fail, that failure could feed into wisdom. And that failure isn’t so bad if one is wise. So I answered, to general hilarity (I had a reputation): “I want to be wise in 10 years”
Yet, in retrospect, I followed all three paths to some extent: science, art, and philosophy
I started out with a degree in physics and mathematics at the KU Leuven, including a research stint at the Kavli Institute at Stanford University.
I was very good at violin, and so studied violin at the Royal Conservatory of Brussels & the Conservatoire Nationale Supérieure de Musique de Paris. For a long time, until 2013 or 2014 or so, I spent more time doing music than doing philosophy. I still am active as a professional violinist today.
Also within philosophy I’ve followed an unconventional intellectual path. Initially, when I switched to philosophy, I wanted to move as far away from science as possible. I was good at physics, and didn’t go into philosophy in order to do physics-related thinking. In fact, I went into continental philosophy. My alma mater, the Higher Institute of Philosophy at KU Leuven, was also one of the few remaining fortresses of continental philosophy, so that probably had a large influence as well.
I studied Bergson for a couple of years, but the desire to engage closely with contemporary science was at odds with the scholarship style in continental philosophy. I studied for a year at the philosophy department in Princeton University, and engaging with people like Mark Johnston or Michael Smith persuaded me that one can do meaningful analytic philosophy. So I switched to analytic philosophy of science in 2014.
After finishing my doctorate in 2017, I expanded into applied ethics. I spent 3 years at the Center for Biomedical Ethics and Law at the KU Leuven, including a research stay at The Hastings Center.
In 2021 I joined the IHPST in Paris to work on a project on Generalized Darwinism.
I am no longer interested in philosophy for the sake of myself as I once was when younger. I now approach philosophical work as a service -- with different types of philosophical work serving different communities (scientific community, other philosophers, policy makers, broader public). My main focus lies in doing philosophy of science as (1) a service to other philosophers, by addressing the perennial questions through the lens of new scientific developments, and (2) a service to the broader public.