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Professor Simon P. James

Professor/DEC Chair

BSc, MA, PhD

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Professor/DEC Chair in the Department of Philosophy  
Professor of Philosophy in Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)  


I came to philosophy by a roundabout route, taking a BSc in Biological Sciences, followed by an MA in the History and Philosophy of Science, before obtaining a PhD for a thesis on environmental ethics in 2001.

My work engages with a wide range of issues in environmental philosophy, from Buddhist approaches to wildlife conservation to our moral relations with rock formations, and from the (so-called) problem of animal minds to the virtue ethical question of whether a good life must be a green life.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar and (with Helen and our two daughters, Emily and Charlotte) walking in wild (or wildish) places.

Office Hours

During Michaelmas Term: Tuesday 09:30am-11am and 3:15pm-14:45pm.

Epiphany Term: No office hours (on research leave)

Easter Term: Monday 1pm-4pm

My office is Room 201, upstairs in 50 Old Elvet, the main building of the Philosophy Department.

Undergraduate Teaching

Research interests

  • Environmental philosophy
  • Existential phenomenology
  • Buddhist philosophy

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • General issues: I work in the field of environmental philosophy, which means I try to identify and address the philosophical questions raised by environmental issues.


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited Journal

  • James, Simon P. & Cooper, David E. (2008). Buddhism and the Environment. Contemporary Buddhism, 8 (2): Taylor and Francis.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • James, S. P. (2015). The New Greenspeak. Earth Island Journal 30(1).

Other (Print)