Karen R. Zwier


Dept:Philosophy & Religious Studies
Office:458 Catt
2224 Osborn Dr.
Ames IA


Karen R. Zwier holds a Ph.D. in History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh and has broad research interests in philosophical and scientific methodology as well as metaphysics of science. Her research is largely concerned with questions about how—and if—metaphysical claims are engaged by empirical scientific methods. Some of her specific areas of research include philosophy of causation, history and philosophy of physics and chemistry, ancient philosophy of nature, and science and religion.

Research Areas

History and Philosophy of Science; Science and Religion


Ph.D., History & Philosophy of Science, University of Pittsburgh, 2014
M.A., Philosophy, University of Pittsburgh, 2011
B.S., Computer Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006
B.A., Philosophy, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 2006

Selected Publications

2018. “Methodology in Aristotle’s Theory of Spontaneous Generation.” Journal of the History of Biology 51(2): 355-386.

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.

Selected Presentations

“On the Evidentiary Role of Miracles”, 2018 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Religion: Denver, CO, 17–20 November 2018.

“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.

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

Professional Activity

Webmaster, Philosophy of Science Association Women’s Caucus (2015–present)
Interim Director, The Comparison Project, Drake University (2017–18)