Dr William Bauer

Picture of Dr William Bauer

Teaching Assistant Professor and Lecturer


I joined the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies at NC State in the fall of 2010. Previously, I was at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln where I completed my PhD in Philosophy and taught for five years. Before that, I 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, I was born, raised, and attended public schools in Arizona.

My primary areas of research and teaching interests include metaphysics, philosophy of science, and bioethics. I am currently developing a comprehensive theory of reality (focused on the  nature of fundamental causal powers). I have published papers on the nature of mass, dispositional properties, personal identity, and scientific reasoning. My interests in metaphysics overlap strongly with central problems of bioethics, e.g., the fundamental nature of persons and its importance for euthanasia and abortion, theories of mind and their relevance to animal welfare, and the application of theories of free will to questions of moral responsibility and justice.

At NC State, I have taught Introduction to Philosophy, Thinking Logically, Bio-Medical Ethics, and Introduction to Research Ethics (graduate level). I 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.

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.


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

Against Branching Identity. Forthcoming in Philosophia. (Online July 18, 2017). DOI: 10.1007/s11406-017-9870-8

Physical Intentionality, Extrinsicness, and the Direction of Causation. Acta Analytica 31: 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).

Dispositional Essentialism and the Nature of Powerful Properties. Disputatio: International Journal of Philosophy, Vol. 5, No. 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. in Philosophy from University of Nebraska-Lincoln, 2010
  • M.A. in Philosophy from Miami University-Oxford, Ohio, 2005
  • M.A. in Humanities from California State University-Dominguez Hills, 2001
  • B.A. w/Honors in Biology from Illinois Institute of Technology (Chicago), 1996