Nathan Hauthaler

"Im Rennen der Philosophie gewinnt, wer am langsamsten laufen kann. Oder: der, der das Ziel zuletzt erreicht." (another obscure Austrian philosopher)


I'm a Lecturer in Philosophy at Duke Kunshan University & Assistant Professor of the Practice at Duke University, & the Barry Foundation Fellow at PRRUCS at the University of Pennsylvania, where I work on the Anscombe Archive. I work mainly on the nature of agency & action, from various vantage points, both systematic & historical (see Research, & our favorite Greek hero: Articles).
I recently completed my PhD in Philosophy at Stanford, where I also founded & coordinated the research workshop Varieties of Agency (originally with Michael Bratman & Tamar Schapiro; most recently with David Hills & Barry Maguire).
Before coming to Stanford I studied Philosophy as well as Law, in Austria, the Netherlands, & the UK, & worked on issues in public international law. You might find my CV here.


I mainly work on fundamental issues of human agency & action, form vantage points of the philosophy of action, mind, ethics, metaphysics, & epistemology. In my dissertation I defend the thesis that intentional action constitutively involves a distinctively practical form of understanding of one’s doing that constitutes knowledge—practical knowledge. I defend the thesis focusing specifically on the ontology of action & the metaphysics of practical capacities exercised in intentional action.
More generally I am interested in the nature of action, practical cognition (practical thought, intention, reasoning), & practical constitution; also from historical vantage points, especially in Anscombe, Aristotle, and Classical Chinese philosophy.
I also work on various normative and applied questions concerning human agency, from questions concerning the nature & demands of friendship to applied & normative questions about the design of things we engage with.
For some of my current projects, see Articles. In subsequent work I will focus notably on social-structural determinant of agency & practical capacity: on how our social communities and milieus shape the contours of our agential outlook and constitution; how attending to them can in turn help understand the contours of our practical thinking & actions.
In public international law I remain particularly interested in issues about the use of force (ius ad bellum; in bello) & anti-discrimination law.


✧ (2020) "Strong Cognitivist Weaknesses". forthcoming in Analytic Philosophy, challenges the identification of intention with a form of belief.
✧ (2015) “Praktisches Unwissen und Irren”, Kertscher & Müller eds. (2015): Lebensform und Praxisform. Paderborn (Mentis). discusses forms of failure of practical thought & action.
✧ (2012): “Wittgenstein on Actions, Reasons, and Causes”, Marques & Venturinha eds. (2012): Knowledge, Language, and Mind. Wittgenstein's Early Investigations. Berlin (De Gruyter). discusses Wittgenstein on causation in action.
✧ (2012): “On the Responsibility to Protect and Its Emancipation from Humanitarian Intervention”, Mathis-Moser ed. (2012): Responsibility to Protect: A Canadian Heritage. Innsbruck (Innsbruck University Press). discusses the doctrine of Responsibility to Protect in comparison to the doctrine of Humanitarian Intervention.

In preparation for submission:
✧ “For No Particular Reason”: challenges the dogma that all intentional action is done for reasons;
✧ “Ten Carbon Copies” defends practical knowledge against a purportedly seminal counterexample;
✧ "Practical Knowledge and The Past": challenges the idea of practical knowledge of past action;
✧ “Actions, Processes, and Events”: defends a unified ontology of ongoing vs. concluded action;
“On Intention as Action”: challenges the identification of intention with a form of action;
✧ "Practical Knowledge and Practical Knowledge”: interprets Anscombe’s two notions of ‘practical knowledge’ in terms of practical capacity & felicitous exercise;
✧ "Extended Practical Knowledge?": articulates limitations from practical knowledge for forms of extended practical cognition and action;
✧ "Thought Friends": articulates a puzzle from mutual recognition for the nature of friendship;
"Reactive Luck": discusses the significance of luck afflicting us as bearers of reactive attitudes.


I've been engaged in teaching & student mentorship for more than a decade now, in London, Stanford, New York City, Duke Kunshan, & at San Quentin State Prison. I've designed & taught courses ranging from small individual & group tutorials to large introductory lectures to advanced seminars, for undergraduate & graduate students & advanced high-schoolers. I have extensive teaching experience in all things Practical Philosophy (Action, Ethics, Political Philosophy, Justice) & related applied issues (e.g. of Global Justice; Public Policy; Emerging Technologies), the history of philosophy (History of Analytic Philosophy; Classical Greek & Chinese philosophy), Great Books & Core curricula.

...or send a letter to:

Duke Kunshan University
中国江苏省昆山市杜克大道8号 邮编:215316
No. 8 Duke Avenue, Kunshan, Jiangsu, China 215316