Nathan Hauthaler

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


I recently completed my PhD in Philosophy at Stanford. I work mainly on the nature of agency & action, from various vantage points, both systematic and historical (see Research, and our favorite Greek hero: Articles).
At Stanford, together with Michael Bratman & Tamar Schapiro I co-founded the research workshop Varieties of Agency, which I last coordinated together 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 may 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, and 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), and 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 and demands of friendship to applied and 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 and 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 and 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 nine years now, in London, Stanford, New York City, & 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.

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