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 PhD student in Philosophy at Stanford, where I work mainly on the nature of agency & action (see Research). In 2019-20 am also a Fellow at the SCPKU at Peking University.
At Stanford, together with David Hills & Barry Maguire I coordinate the research workshop Varieties of Agency, which I co-founded together with Michael Bratman & Tamar Schapiro.
Before coming to Stanford I studied Philosophy as well as Law, in Austria, the Netherlands, & the UK, & worked as a human rights researcher. You may find my CV here.


My research concerns fundamental aspects of human agency & action, which I investigate from vantage points of the philosophy of action, ethics, & metaphysics. In my dissertation I defend the thesis that intentional action constitutively involves a distinctively practical form of understanding of one’s doing that qualifies as knowledge—practical knowledge. I defend it focusing on the ontology of action & the metaphysics of agential practical capacities & their exercise in intentional action.
Several essays of mine are currently under review with journals, more in preparation for submission. In “For No Particular Reason” (under review) I challenge the dogma that all intentional action is done for reasons; In “Ten Carbon Copies” (under review) I defend practical knowledge against a purportedly seminal counterexample. Essays in preparation for imminent submission include: “Actions, Processes, and Events”, in which I argue for a unified ontology of ongoing vs. concluded action; “Strong Cognitivist Weaknesses” & “On Intention as Action”, a pair of essays on the nature of intention, in which I challenge its identification with belief on the one hand, with action on the other; & “Practical Knowledge and Practical Knowledge”, in which I argue for a reading of Anscombe’s two notions of ‘practical knowledge’ in terms of practical capacity & its felicitous exercise.


I'm excited about teaching, which I've been doing for more than eight years now, in London, Stanford, New York City, & San Quentin. I've designed & taught courses ranging from small individual & group tutorials to large introductory lectures to advanced seminars, for high-schoolers, undergraduate & graduate students, & prison inmates. I have teaching experience & strengths not only in my research areas but also in ethics & political philosophy, the history of philosophy (history of analytic philosophy; classical Greek & Chinese philosophy), in Great Books & Core curricula, & in creative writing.