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Karl Adam

Philosophy Ph.D. Candidate

UNC Chapel Hill

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Karl Adam

Ph.D. in Philosophy from UNC Chapel Hill Anticipated in May 2022




I have lived in North Carolina since 2016 pursuing my Ph.D. in Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Most of my research is tied to questions of how we should live--especially how we should live together. My background in anthropology and history leads me to consider the implications of general claims made by my fellow western philosophers for times and places outside contemporary Europe and North America. I believe these implications are too often ignored and are important in assessing the truth of the general claims. I strive to practice what Stephen Angle calls "rooted global philosophy," which involves constructively engaging with other traditions of philosophy on their own terms while being rooted in one's own. My research, while in the analytic branch of the western tradition, tends to draw on American Indian/First Nations philosophy, Chinese philosophy, and Africana philosophy.

To learn more about me, please see my Research Statement. 





Ph.D. in Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, expected


MA in Philosophy, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


BA in Philosophy, Anthropology, and History, summa cum laude, Oakland University


Associate's degree in Liberal Arts, summa cum laude, Oakland Community College



Sep. 2017–Present
Instructor of Record ​
  • Phil 213--Asian Philosophy, Spring 2022.

  • Phil 220--17th and 18th Century Western Philosophy, Summer II, 2021.

  • Phil 274--African American Social and Political Thought, Summer I, 2020.

  • Phil 261--Ethics in Action, Fall 2019.

  • Phil/Poli/PWAD 272--The Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense, Summer II, 2019.

  • Phil 170--Social Ethics and Political Thought, Spring 2019.

  • Phil 154--Philosophy of Social Science, Fall 2018.

  • Phil/Poli/PWAD 272--The Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense, Summer II, 2018.

Courses TAed
  • Phil/Poli/PWAD 272--The Ethics of Peace, War, and Defense, Spring 2018 (for Douglas MacLean).

  • Phil 160--Introduction to Ethics, Fall 2017 (for Geoffrey Sayre-McCord).


Professional Service & Outreach

My outreach and service work consists primarily of service on various committees for the UNC philosophy department as a whole, work for the Parr Center for Ethics, and work for the Philosophy, Politics, and Economics (PPE) program.


Departmental Service

In the 2017-2018 school year, I served as Graduate Student Faculty Liaison, which involves representing graduate students at faculty meetings and writing a report summarizing the non-confidential issues discussed at each meeting along with any non-confidential decisions reached to be sent to all grad students. In the 2018-2019 and 2021-2022 school years I served as a member of the Graduate Student Committee, which considers any proposed changes to the philosophy graduate program. In the 2019-2020 and 2021-2022 school years, I served as a member of the Undergraduate Student Committee, which considers any proposed changes for the undergraduate philosophy major or minor. This committee also determines which undergraduate philosophy majors will receive the department's annual awards and evaluates grant proposals for undergraduates applying for funding from the department to do such things as attend conferences or produce works of public philosophy.


Parr Center for Ethics Service

I have regularly served as a judge for the North Carolina High School Ethics Bowl and the National High School Ethics Bowl (both run by the Parr Center) since joining the department in 2016. I was the Parr Center for Ethics Graduate Research Assistant for the 2019-2020 school year. In this capacity I participated in planning Parr Center activities, helped edit cases for the High School Ethics Bowl, and performed various other miscellaneous tasks. Our Outreach Director left at the end of 2019, so my primary responsibility for Spring 2020 was to oversee the Parr Center's outreach programs on an interim basis, which involved keeping track of hours worked, submitting payroll for graduate students doing outreach work for the Parr Center, and writing the annual report on outreach activities to be submitted to the Department Chair and the university administration. I also served on the hiring committee to replace the Outreach Director, which involved reviewing applications and conducting interviews with applicants as well as reaching a final hiring decision. Since 2020 I have also volunteered for the Parr Center's philosophy in prisons program, which involves regularly corresponding with inmates about philosophy. I presented as part of the UNC public philosophy colloquium series at the Carolina Meadows retirement community on November 12th 2021.

PPE Program Service

I have been a Philosophy, Politics, and Economics Program Affiliated Graduate Student since that designation was created in the fall of 2019, which involves generally helping with PPE program related activities. I was significantly involved in planning the Philosophy Politics and Economics Society Annual Meeting scheduled for 2020 but canceled due to the pandemic. In this capacity, I helped review presentation proposal submissions and was part of a small group that created the conference program by putting the proposals for individual paper presentations into coherent panels of three. I have also been involved in planning the conference originally scheduled for 2021 and now rescheduled for 2022, but this time the work has been spread over a much larger group of graduate students, so my share has been proportionately smaller. In the 2019-2020 school year, I served on the PPE program hiring committee, which involved reviewing applications for a tenure track position in the philosophy department as core faculty and recommending a short list of applicants for fly-outs. I have also led two reading groups for undergraduates for the PPE program--one on The Federalist Papers (Spring 2018) and the other on The New Jim Crow by Michele Alexander, (Fall 2020).