Zach sitting in McCorkle Place


Pronouns: He/him/his


Zach Thornton 

Starting in fall of 2024, I will be a Visiting Assistant Professor at Virginia Tech.

I earned my Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2024. Before coming to UNC, I completed my B.A. at Michigan State University. During fall of 2022, I was a visiting scholar at the University of Virginia.

I work primarily in metaphysics, particularly on issues related to identity and distinctness. My dissertation "Identity and its Significance" investigates numerical identity and why it matters. My paper "The Identity of Necessary Indiscernibles" develops and defends a novel general metaphysically explanatory account of identity and distinctness facts. It is forthcoming in Philosophers' Imprint.

In addition to my work in metaphysics, I also have projects at the intersection of social epistemology and the social philosophy of language, in particular on issues related to speaking up against harmful speech. 

I believe games can be fun and pedagogically rich teaching tools that also help create an inclusive classroom, especially for neurodivergent students ( To promote the use of games in philosophical pedagogy, I have created a list of games for teaching philosophy.