Associate Professor Northeastern University



I am an associate professor in the Northeastern University Department of Philosophy and Religion

My primary areas of research are in moral and political philosophy.  I've also published in jurisprudence and philosophy of action.  I explore questions in normative ethics and political theory from the perspective of practical agency embedded in a social world.  This involves drawing from research in psychology, urban geography, architecture, disability studies, technology studies, literary theory, and economics.   

I was originally trained—in college and for my MA—in philosophy of mind and metaphysics and I continually return to these topics in my research. 

I previously was an associate professor at Yale University, and then at the University of Leeds, where I founded the Program in Philosophy, Politics and Economics.  

Currently, I am co-authoring a monograph, with my former Leeds colleagues, Alex Schafran and Stephen Hall, on the production of urban spaces.  


For my latest mostly unedited thoughts, check the commentary section


Here are a few of my latest essays:

Political Creativity: A Skeptical View, forthcoming in Creativity and Philosophy, edited by Matthew Kieran and Berys Gaut (Routledge, 2017) - penultimate draft linked here.

Sovereign Agency and the Authority of Intentions, forthcoming in Reasoning, Brendan Balcerak-Jackson and Magdalena Balcerak-Jackson, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2019) - penultimate draft linked here.

Reliance Structures: How Urban Public Policy Shapes Human Agencyforthcoming in The Palgrave Handbook to Philosophy and Public Policy, edited by David Boonin (NYC: Palgrave Macmillan) - penultimate draft linked here


Short Bio

The Department of Philosophy at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill awarded me a PhD in 2004.  Gerald Postema supervised my PhD (with Tom Hill, Geoff Sayre-McCord, Jesse Prinz, and Michael Corrado also on the committee).  From 2004 - 2012, I was an assistant professor and then an associate professor at Yale University in the Department of Philosophy and an affiliate in Yale's Program in Ethics, Politics, and Economics.  I was also an occasional Lecturer in Law at the Yale Law School.  In Fall 2012, I moved to the University of Leeds.

My MA, received in 2000, was a critical examination of Jaegwon Kim's argument against non-reductive materialism.  Bill Lycan supervised it.  My BA is from Brown University where I studied Philosophy and Greek Classics.  Victor Caston was my advisor.  

Before relocating to Boston, I was  an avid ultimate frisbee player, playing at 7:00 am year-round in Prospect Park.  I was an enthusiastic member of the Park Slope Food Coop, which was a source of humor, friendship, and great food (mock me all you want!).  I've taught several classes for Trade School, including an especially fun night of Trade School at the Whitney.  I used to enjoy walking in the Yorkshire Dales.  Now I spend pretty much all my free time with my children.

Download my complete CV as PDF here (last updated October 2016).

You can email me at: m DOT smith AT leeds DOT ac DOT uk