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Zack Al-Witri

Title | Organization: 
Job Candidate | Ph.D. in Philosophy
Areas of Specialization: 

Metaphysics, Philosophy of Science (Laws and Explanation)

Areas of Competence: 

Epistemology, Race and Gender, Logic, Ethics, History of Philosophy (Kant)

Research: 

My current research concerns issues in metaphysics in the field of causality, dispositions, laws of nature, and explanation. My dissertation defended an analysis of causation in terms of dispositions. (Abstract here.) I developed responses to the problem cases of trumping preemption and double prevention from the causation literature and continue to be fascinated by these puzzling examples. In future research, I’m interested to see how dispositions can help account for other metaphysical notions (i.e. counterfactuals), and to investigate the idea that dispositions can compose. My research engages areas in ethics and social philosophy, such as the connection between causation and moral responsibility, and the connection between natural kinds and socially constructed kinds. At the University of St. Andrews where I completed my undergraduate degree, I wrote on Kant’s Critique of Practical Reason for my honors dissertation.

I have an interest in academic administration. At Columbia, I was involved in the university’s recent ten-year reaccreditation, part of a fellowship at the Provost’s office. Currently, I work at Stanford University where I help run the undergraduate liberal arts curriculum. I live in San Francisco with my wife, Clare, who is a horticulturalist at the UC Botanical Garden at Berkeley. I enjoy road cycling, backpacking, and fishing.