Karen R. Zwier

I am currently a visiting assistant professor in the department of Philosophy and Religion at Drake University. I hold a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and I have broad research interests in philosophical and scientific methodology as well as metaphysics of science. My research is largely concerned with questions about how—and if—metaphysical claims are engaged by empirical scientific methods. Some of my specific areas of research include philosophy of causation, history and philosophy of physics and chemistry, ancient philosophy of nature, and science and religion. In all of the philosophical questions that I address in my work, I attempt to integrate ideas from the history of philosophy and cases from the history of science into my treatment.

Degree Education

Sandra Mitchell (Advisor, University of Pittsburgh, HPS)
John Norton (University of Pittsburgh, HPS)
James Woodward (University of Pittsburgh, HPS)
Mark Wilson (University of Pittsburgh, Philosophy)
Robert Batterman (University of Pittsburgh, Philosophy)

Non-Degree Education

Facoltà di Filosofia, Pontificia Università Lateranense (2003-2005)


Forthcoming. “Methodology in Aristotle’s Theory of Spontaneous Generation.” Journal of the History of Biology.

2018. “Introduction to the CEPOS Discussion.” American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 92(1): 107-121.

2017. “Interventionist Causation in Thermodynamics.” Philosophy of Science 84(5): 1303-1315.

2013. “An Epistemology of Causal Inference from Experiment.” Philosophy of Science 80(5): 660-671.

2012. “The Status of Laws of Nature in the Philosophy of Leibniz.” Proceedings of the American Catholic Philosophical Association 85: 149-160.

2011. “Dalton’s Chemical Atoms versus Duhem’s Chemical Equivalents.” Philosophy of Science 78(5): 842-853.

2011. “John Dalton’s Puzzles: From Meteorology to Chemistry.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science 42(1): 58-66.


“Miracles: A Philosopher’s Stance.” The Comparison Project 2017-2019 Lecture Series: Drake University, Des Moines, IA, 14 September 2017.

“Interventionist Causation in Thermodynamics.” Twenty-Fifth Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: Atlanta, Georgia, 3-5 November 2016.

“Could Aquinas’ Causes Be Interventionist Causes?” Theology and the Philosophy of Science: Analytic, Scholastic, and Historical Perspectives: Concordia University of Edmonton, Edmonton, Canada, 14-15 October 2016.

“Can Simulation Count as Experiment in Experimental Philosophy?” First Annual META Conference: Beyond Intutions: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 7-8 October 2016.

“What is Catholic Engagement with Philosophy of Science?” Science, Philosophy, and Religious Commitment: Catholic Engagement with Philosophy of Science: University of St. Thomas, St. Paul, Minnesota, 26-28 June 2016.

“Interventionist Causation in Chemical Thermodynamics.” Twenty-Fourth Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: Chicago, Illinois, 6-9 November 2014.

“An Epistemology of Causal Inference from Experiment.” Twenty-Third Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: San Diego, California, 15-17 November 2012.

“Experiment as Test of Causal Claims: A History.” Ninth Biennial Meeting of the International Society for the History Of Philosophy Of Science: Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada, 21-24 June 2012.

“The Status of Laws of Nature in the Philosophy of Leibniz.” Eighty-Fifth Annual Meeting of the American Catholic Philosophical Association: St. Louis University, St Louis, Missouri, 27-30 October 2011.

“Experiment as Source and Test of Causal Content in Science.” PSX2 (2nd International Workshop on the Philosophy of Scientific Experimentation): University of Konstanz, Konstanz, Germany, 21-22 October 2011.

“Dalton’s Chemical Atoms vs. Duhem’s Chemical Equivalents.” Twenty-Second Biennial Meeting of the Philosophy of Science Association: Montréal, Quebec, 4-6 November 2010.

“Aristotle on Spontaneous Generation.” Understanding the Methodology at Work in Generation of Animals: Fifth Pittsburgh/London Workshop on Aristotle’s Generation of Animals: University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, 25-27 May 2010.

“Aristotle’s Practical Syllogism: Putting Human Deliberation into Action.” Thought and Action in Aristotle and the Aristotelian Tradition: Marquette University, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, 16-18 June 2009.

“Aristotle’s Syllogism on the Basis of a Hypothesis.” 105th Annual Meeting of the American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 27-30 December 2008.

“John Dalton: From Puzzles to Chemistry by Way of Meteorology.” 2008 History of Science Society Conference: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 6-9 November 2008.

“Aristotle on Spontaneous Generation.” Aristotle, Ethics, and Science: A Conference and Graduate Student Workshop: St. Joseph’s University, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 4-5 October 2008.

“The Causal Markov Condition: Should You Choose to Accept It?” Causality and Probability in the Sciences (CAPITS 2008): University of Kent, Canterbury, UK, 10-12 September 2008.



Drake University
S18: Physics and Philosophy
S18: Philosophy of Science
S18: Philosophy of Religion
F17: Religion and Science
F17: Religion and Science (FYS)
F17: Comparative Religion
F16: Religion and Science
S16: Philosophy of Science
F15: Physics and Philosophy
S15: Religion and Science
S14: Religion and Science
University of Pittsburgh
S12: Causal Reasoning
F11: How Science Works
S11: Causal Reasoning
F10: How Science Works
S08: Magic, Medicine, and Science
F07: Darwinism and Its Critics

Professional Affiliations

Interim Director of The Comparison Project

Research Fellow with Models of Providence: An Abrahamic Inquiry

Co-organizer of the CEPOS sessions at ACPA 2017

Co-organizer of the 2016 CEPOS Conference

Webmistress for the PSA Women’s Caucus

Full CV





Married to Matthew C. Zwier

Children: Claire, Joshua, Benjamin, Hannah

Maiden name: Hauck

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