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Naomi Zack

Naomi Zack profile picture
  • Title: Professor
  • Phone: (541) 346-1547
  • Office: 239 Susan Campbell Hall
  • Office Hours: TBA for Fall 2016
  • Interests: Philosophy of Race (issues of ethics science, and identity), Feminist Theory and Politics, Disaster Ethics, History of Philosophy (esp. 17th c).
  • Curriculum Vitae


Have coffee with Professor Zack

My current book, THE ETHICS AND MORES OF RACE: EQUALITY AFTER THE HISTORY OF PHILOSOPHY (forthcoming Rowman & Littlefield, 2011) is an inquiry into the history of moral philosophy for principles of egalitarian humanism. While moral philosophers were not directly concerned with universal equality until after the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights was issued in 1948, critical interpretation of key moments in the "canon" does yield requirements for an ethics of race.

My most recent book, ETHICS FOR DISASTER (2009), adds philosophical ethics to disaster studies and disaster studies to philosophy. INCLUSIVE FEMINISM (2005) aims to resolve the contentions among feminists with a new relational definition of women and a theoretical basis for rule by women. Forthcoming in January 2010 is my HANDY PHILOSOPHY ANSWER BOOK for Viisible Ink Press, a general reader reference volume that provides the history of philosophy from the pre-Socratics to post-modernism in a series of questions and answers. I have an abiding interest in the history of philosophy, particularly 17c philosophy, pragmatism, and existentialism, as they are relevant to contemporary cultural criticism, stemming from my BACHELORS OF SCIENCE (1996) and my doctoral dissertation on the Epistemology of C. I. Lewis (Columbia University, 1970.) My earlier work on race and mixed race, as in THINKING ABOUT RACE (2006) and PHILOSOPHY OF SCIENCE AND RACE (2002) is also ongoing. In progress is a monograph, THE ETHICS AND MORES OF RACE, in which I engage philosophical ethics toward developing an ethics for race.

I have begun a video project, PHILOSOPHICAL INSTALLATIONS, an intersection of performance art with philosophical discourse in non-academic places. This will result in 30 second and 9 minute videos, availabe on line and through social media, with world-wide opportunities for participation and access.



Applicative Justice: A Pragmatic Empirical Approach to Racial Injustice, Rowman and Littlefield, 2016.

The Ethics and Mores of Race: Equality After the History of Philosophy, Rowman and Littlefield, 2011.

ETHICS FOR DISASTER, Rowman and Littlefield, 2009, 2010.

Inclusive Feminism: A Third Wave Theory of Women's Commonality, Rowman and Littlefield, 2005.

Philosophy of Science and Race, Routledge, 2002.

Bachelors of Science: Seventeenth Century Identity, Then and Now, Temple University Press, 1996.

Race and Mixed Race, Temple University Press, 1993.


Thinking About Race, Wadsworth, 1998; 2nd edition, Thompson-Wadsworth 2005.

Edited Anthologies

Women of Color and Philosophy: A Critical Reader, Blackwell Publishers, 2000, editor's introduction and article, "Descartes' Awake-Asleep Distinction and Realism."

RACE/SEX: Their Sameness, Difference and Interplay, Routledge, 1997, editor's introduction and article, "The American Sexualization of Race."

American Mixed Race: Constructing Microdiversity, Rowman & Littlefield, 1995, editor's introduction and article, "Life After Race."

Popular Reference

The Handy Philosophy Answer Book, Visible Ink Press, 2010.



“About the Ethics and Mores of Race: A Response to My Critics.” In “Symposium: The Ethics and   Mores of Race,” Radical Philosophy Review vol. 14, no. 2. 2012. pp 371-380 (Symposium pages 345-380.

 “Violence, Poverty, and Disaster: New Orleans, Haiti, and Chile.” Radical Philosophy Review ,Volume 15, No. 1 (2012): 53-65.

  “Naomi Zack: Digging Deeper into Ethics for Disaster” (Response to reviews of book, Ethics for         Disaster, Review Journal of Political Philosophy, J. Jeremy Wisnewski, Vol. 8.2, 2010, pp.                              35-54.

 “The Fluid Symbol of Mixed Race,” Hypatia, 25th Anniversary Issue, 25:4, Fall 2010, pp. 875-890.


"Reparations and the Rectification of Race," The Journal of Ethics, Vol. 7, No. 1, 2003, pp. 139-151.

"Philosophical Aspects of the 1998 AAA (American Anthropological Association) Statement on Race." pp. 445-465 Anthropological Theory, December 2001.

"American Mixed Race: Theoretical and Legal Issues," Harvard BlackLetter Law Journal, v. 17, Spring 2001, pp. 33-46

"Philosophy and Racial Paradigms," Journal of Value Inquiry Vol. 33, No. 3, September 1999, 299-317.

"Lockean Money, Globalism and Indigenism," Canadian Journal of Philosophy, 1999 Supplementary, Vol. 25, Catherine Wilson, ed., Civilization and Oppression, University of Calgary Press, 1999, pp. 31-53.

"Mixed Black and White Race and Public Policy," Hypatia, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 1995, pp. 120-132.

"Race and Philosophic Meaning," American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience, 94:1, Fall 1994, pp 14-20, reprinted in ibid, 99:2, Spring 2000, pp. 141-148.

"Locke's Identity Meaning of Ownership," Locke Newsletter, No. 23, 1992, pp. 105-114.

"An Autobiographical View of Mixed-Race and Deracination, American Philosophical Association Newsletter on Philosophy and the Black Experience, 91:1, Spring 1992, pp. 6-10.

Chapters in Books

“The Ethics of Disaster and Hurricane Katrina” Human Security, Homeland Security, and Women’s Groups, “ in Christopher Hobson, ed. The Human Security Paradigm,  forthcoming Routledge, 2014.

True Blood and Race: From Progress to Complacecy to Paganism to Humanity,” in Race, Philosophy, and Film Mary K. Bloodsworth-Lugo and Dan Flory, eds., Routledge, 2013, pp. 103-116 .

“Black Female Crossover Stand-Up Comics:  Freedom, Liberty, and Minstrelsy,” in Philosophy Feminism and Popular Culture, co-edited with Joanne Waugh, Lexington Press, 2013, pp. 37-50.

“Bella Swann and Sarah Palin: All of the Old Myths are Not True,” Twilight and Philosophy: Vampires, Begetarians, and the Pusuit of Immortality , Rebecca Housel and J. Jeremy Wisnewski, eds., Hoboken, NJ: Philosophy and Pop Cultur Series,John Wiley and Sons, 2009, pp.121-131.

"Race and Racial Discrimination," Hugh Lafollette, ed., Oxford Hand Book of Practical Ethics, Oxford University Press, 2002, pp. 245-271.

"White Ideas," Chris J. Cuomo and Kim Q. Hall, eds., Whiteness: Feminist Philosophical Reflections, Rowman and Littlefield, 1999, pp. 77-84.

"The Family and Radical Family Theory," Hilde L. Nelson, ed., Feminism and Families, Routledge 1997, pp. 43-51.

"On Being and Not Being Black and Jewish," Maria P.P. Root, ed., The Multiracial Experience, Newbury Park: Sage Publications, 1996. pp. 140-152

"Race, Life, Death, Identity, Tragedy and Good Faith," Lewis R. Gordon, ed., Existence in Black, Routledge 1996, pp. 99-110.

"Locke and the Indians," W. Creighton Pedan and Yaeger Hudson, eds., The Social Power of Ideas, Lewiston, NY: Edwin Mellon Press 1995, pp.347-360. (based on paper presented at University of Helsinki, 1993)



I was trained as an analytic philosopher at Columbia University. In teaching, I apply a method of traditional common sense philosophy to a variety of subjects. In addition to my research concentrations on race, mixed race, seventeenth century philosophy, and feminism. I'm interested in existentialism, contemporary ethics, philosophy of science and current philosophy of mind. I am strongly committed to helping students develop critical skills in thinking and writing. To that end, I encourage a lot of student participation and give and take in the classroom -- even in very large classes.

Course Links

Spring 2016
PHIL 410/510 Home and Homelessness
PHIL 433/533 Hume and Berkeley

Fall 2016
PHIL 433/533 Descartes and Locke

Winter 2017
PHIL 216 Philosophy and Cultural Diversity
PHIL 607 History of Political Philosophy

Spring 2017
PHIL 320 Philosophy of Religion
PHIL 433/533 Sartre



My main areas of research are Race, Disaster, and Feminism. I also teach modern (Descartes, Locke, Hume, Berkely) and 20th Century Analytic Philosophy. Recent books include: ETHICS FOR DISASTER (2009) and THE ETHICS AND MORES OF RACE (2011). In progress is THE THEORY OF APPLICATIVE JUSTICE.   

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