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William Bauer

Associate Teaching Professor

Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies

Withers Hall NA


Bauer joined the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at NC State in the fall of 2010. Previously, he was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where he completed a PhD in Philosophy and taught for five years. Before that, he finished an MA in Philosophy at Miami University (in Oxford, Ohio), served as a US Army officer for about six years, and completed a BA in Biology (minor in Philosophy) at Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago. Before that, he was born, raised, and attended public schools in Arizona.

Bauer’s primary areas of research and teaching interests include metaphysics, philosophy of science, and applied ethics (especially bioethics and machine ethics). He has published papers on the nature of mass, dispositional properties, personal identity, scientific reasoning, and artificial moral agents. His interests in metaphysics overlap with problems of bioethics (e.g. personhood as related to beginning-of-life issues, and theory of mind as it relates to animal welfare). At NC State, Bauer has had the privilege to teach Introduction to Philosophy, Thinking Logically, Bio-Medical Ethics, and Introduction to Research Ethics (graduate level).

Bauer states “I really enjoy discussions with everyone taking my courses, both in and out of class. I intend for my courses to be places of exploration, where together we map out argumentative territory, explore and critique new possibilities, and attempt to better understand the relationship between the world, the self, and values.”

Extension and Community Engagement

Numerous presentations to student groups on and off campus, concerning bioethics and related topics: e.g., “Bioethics, Logic, and the Trolley Problem” (Wake STEM Early College High School), “Animal Ethics: A Primer” (Goodnight Scholars and Women In Science & Engineering)

Published a short article for a general audience called “Why Science Needs Philosophy” in Life as a Human in May 2015.

Served as the Scholar in Residence at the University Honors Village from fall 2011 to spring 2014, leading numerous lunchtime and evening discussions on a variety of topics in logic, ethics, and metaphysics.

Presented “Personal Identity and Survival” at a meeting of Triangle Philosophy in May 2012.


Office Hours

Tue: 1:30-3:00
Thu: 1:30-3:00

Research Publications

Expanding Nallur’s Landscape of Machine Implemented Ethics. Science and Engineering Ethics (online 2020). DOI: 10.1007/s11948-020-00237-x

AI Assistants and the Paradox of Internal Automaticity (w/Veljko Dubljević). Neuroethics (online 2019). DOI: 10.1007/s12152-019-09423-6

Virtuous vs. Utilitarian Artificial Moral Agents. AI & Society (online 2018). DOI: 10.1007/s00146-018-0871-3

Powers and the Pantheistic Problem of Unity. Sophia (online 2018). DOI: 10.1007/s11841-018-0654-9

Getting It Together: Psychological Unity and Deflationary Accounts of Animal Metacognition (w/Gary Comstock). Acta Analytica 33(4): 431-451 (2018). DOI: 10.1007/s12136-018-0340-0

Against Branching Identity. Philosophia 45(4): 1709-1719 (2017). DOI: 10.1007/s11406-017-9870-8

Physical Intentionality, Extrinsicness, and the Direction of Causation. Acta Analytica 31(4): 397-417 (2016). DOI: 10.1007/s12136-016-0283-2

Why Science Needs Philosophy. Life as a Human (May 17, 2015).

Scientific Reasoning Can Be Circular. The Reasoner, 8(1): 4-5 (2014).

Review of the The Triple Helix: The Soul of Bioethics by Lisa Bellantoni. Metapsychology Online Reviews 17(20) (2013)

Dispositional Essentialism and the Nature of Powerful Properties. Disputatio: International Journal of Philosophy 5(35): 1-19 (2013).

Four Theories of Pure Dispositions. Properties, Powers and Structures: Issues in the Metaphysics of Realism, edited by Alexander Bird, Brian Ellis, and Howard Sankey, Routledge (2012).

An Argument for the Extrinsic Grounding of Mass. Erkenntnis: An International Journal of Scientific Philosophy, 74(1): 81-99 (2011). DOI: 10.1007/s10670-010-9269-4

Attributing Knowledge of the Virtues of Contextualism. The Reasoner, 2(8): 6-7 (2008).


Ph.D. Philosophy University of Nebraska-Lincoln 2010

M.A. Philosophy Miami University-Oxford, Ohio 2005

M.A. Humanities California State University-Dominguez Hills 2001

B.A. w/Honors Biology Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago) 1996