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Wolfson Research Institute for Health and Wellbeing

Wolfson Fellow

Dr Benedict Smith, MA (hons), MA, PhD

Teaching Fellow/Director Philosophy MA in the Department of Philosophy

Contact Dr Benedict Smith

EMAIL: b.w.smith 'at'


I was an undergraduate at the University of Glasgow and then a postgraduate at the University of Warwick. I have been a member of staff in Durham since 2005 with a brief period of teaching back at Warwick. I have previously lectured and tutored on a variety of modules and I was Research Fellow on a 3-year AHRC/DFG project: 'Emotional Experience in Depression: A Philosophical Study’.

My current research focuses on a number of issues in moral philosophy, broadly construed. For example, I have recently written articles on the nature of moral experience, motivation, trust, and the role of concepts in our moral thought and practice. My other interests include naturalism, normativity and judgement, the work of Hume and Wittgenstein, and topics in epistemology and the philosophy of mind and psychiatry. A recent major project was completing a book on moral particularism: Particularism and the Space of Moral Reasons (Palgrave Macmillan) and I am currently in the process of planning a second book on moral experience. Click here for details of 2 workshops on moral experience that I, with my colleagues Dr. Simon James and Prof. Matthew Ratcliffe, organized during the summer 2008.

I live in Durham with my wife, Laura, and our children Bronwen, Tobias and Dominic. In my spare time I like trying to catch up on the work I haven’t finished. And I also like going to the mountains in Assynt, NW Scotland.

I am currently the Director of the Taught MA in Philosophy. Please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you would like any more information.



Ethics, Moral Philosophy, Philosophy of Mind, Epistemology, History of Philosophy, Philosophy of Psychiatry




- Particularism and the Space of Moral Reasons (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011). (more)


- 'Depression and Motivation', Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, (forthcoming). (draft)

- (with Matthew Ratcliffe, Matthew Broome and Hannah Bowden) 'A Bad Case of the Flu? The Comparative Phenomenology of Depression and Somatic Illness', Journal of Consciousness Studies (forthcoming).

- 'What Mystery of Moral Experience?', Journal of Value Inquiry, 46(2) 2012. (draft)

- ‘Knowledge and the Justification of Values', Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 15(2) 2009.

- ‘Traditional Moral Knowledge and Experience of the World', Analyse & Kritik, 30(1) 2008. (draft)

- ‘Particularism, Perception and Judgement', Acta Analytica, 21(2) 2006. (draft)

- ‘Reasons, Responsibility and Fiction’, Philosophy, Psychiatry and Psychology, 13(2) 2006.

- ‘Analogy in Moral Deliberation: The Role of Imagination and Theory in Ethics', Journal of Medical Ethics, 28(4) 2002.

- ‘Possible Worlds and Moral Philosophy’, Teorema, Vol. 20(3) 2001.


- The Roots of Morality, by Maxine Sheets-Johnstone (Penn State University Press, 2008) in Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, (Vol.10, 2011)

- Naturalism and Normativity, by Mario De Caro and David Macarthur (eds.), (Columbia University Press, 2010) in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (here)



• June 2013, La Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, Humean Readings
Title: ‘Hume and Subject Naturalism’
• May 2013, University of Gdansk, Poland, Virtues and Moral Character
Title: ‘Situation and Virtue: Explanation, Context and Character’
• July 2012, Durham University, Wittgenstein and Scientism
Title: ‘Wittgenstein, Naturalism and Scientism’
• March 2011, Durham University, Emotions and Depression project
Title: ‘Depression and Motivation’
• June 2008, Durham University, Moral Phenomenology Workshop
Title: ‘Moral Philosophy and Moral Phenomenology’
• May 2008,University of York, Philosophy Society
Title: ‘Moral Phenomenology’
• June 2007, London Metropolitan University, MacIntyre and Revolutionary Aristotelianism
Title: ‘Traditional Moral Knowledge and Experience of the World’
• June 2005, Bled, Slovenia, Particularism Conference
Title: ‘Particularism, Perception and Moral Knowledge’
• July 2004, University of Cape Town, South Africa, Space of Reasons conference
Title: ‘Moral Knowing and the Space of Moral Reasons’
• February 2004, University of Warwick, Experience, Norms and Nature
Title: ‘McDowell and Moral Experience’
• March 2002, University of Stirling, Virtues: Moral and Epistemic conference
Title: ‘Virtue and Philosophical Inquiry’

Research Groups

Department of Philosophy

  • Applied Phenomenology