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Leonie Smith

Dr., Ms

Personal profile

Overview

PhD thesis

Epistemic exclusion and epistemic self-defence: collective and individual responsibilities, rights and harms

Supervisors

Research interests

Social ontology, social epistemology, political theory, global justice, rights, ethics

Additional information

I am currently the Analysis Studentship Fellow for 2020/21. My previous PhD work was generously funded by a doctoral studentship award from The University of Manchester and a final year doctoral studentship from the Society for Applied Philosophy.

Prior to my PhD, I read PPE (Philosophy, Politics, and Economics) at the University of Oxford, graduating in 2015, and I studied the MLitt in Philosophy at the University of St Andrews, awarded with Distinction in 2016.

Even more prior, I had a career as a programme director and strategy consultant, working primarily in the banking and retail industries.

Alongside my research and teaching, I am the Administrator for The Mind Association; the Editorial Assistant for the journal Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric; and a MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) UK mentor. I also regularly speak at schools, colleges and other access events on my research and was previously a Manchester Access Programme tutor. Please feel free to contact me in respect of any of these roles.

From September 2018 to November 2018 I held a funded Visiting Fellowship at The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science at the University of Tilburg (Netherlands).

Research interests

Current research

I am interested in philosophical questions at the crossroads of social epistemology, social ontology, political theory and global injustice. My PhD project brings these themes together: first, by identifying and examining the epistemic and ontological harms faced by severely excluded social groups, taking UK welfare claimants as a case study; second, by introducing and analysing the moral permissibility and practicality of an epistemic resistance which relies on manipulating the cognitive biases of dominant knowers through techniques such as epistemic nudging; and third, by addressing a  range of conceptual issues in collective responsibilities for global poverty, the rights of corporate agents, and the proper focus for restitutive justice.

My publications to-date present: the problem of the reliable liar for sensitivity-based accounts of testimonial knowledge; the nature of harm in the case of global poverty; the need for a relational account in international reconciliation projects; various issues in epistemic injustice and in the treatment of marginalised groups in the media; and the status of corporate personhood rights (I was awarded the International Social Ontology Society‘s inaugural essay prize  for early career scholars (up to six years post-PhD), for the last of these).

Publications

“What Social Media Facilitates, Social Media Should Regulate: Duties in the New Public Sphere” (forthcoming). Co-authored with Fay Niker.
The Political Quarterly

 Epistemic Injustice and the Attention Economy(2020). Co-authored with Alfred Archer.

Ethical Theory and Moral Practice. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s10677-020-10123-x.

“The Right to Press Freedom of Expression vs the Rights of Marginalised Groups: An Answer Grounded in Personhood Rights” (2020). In Miguel Garcia-Godinez, Rachael Mellin and Raimo Tuomela (eds.) Social Ontology, Normativity and Law. De Gruyter: Berlin: 79-96.

“Structural Alienation: Catherine Lu’s Structural Approach to Reconciliation from within a Relational Framework” (2019). Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric , 11(2): 1-14. 

“How Might Financial Aid form a part of the Negative Duty Not to Harm, in the Case of Global Poverty?” (2018). Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, (2018), vol.118, iss.3: 419-428.

“The Curious Case of Ronald McDonald’s Claim to Rights: An Ontological Account of Differences in Group and Individual Person Rights”(2018). Journal of Social Ontology, vol.4, iss.1 (2018): 1-28.

“Suggestions and Challenges for a Social Account of Sensitivity” (2016). Social Epistemology Review and Reply Collective 5(6): 18-26.

What social media facilitates, social media should regulate:

duties in the new public sphere

Media contributions and coverage

Activities and esteem

Papers presented by invitation

Symposium on Stephanie Collins' Group Duties

“Epistemic injustice and groups”
CONCEPT research group (The University of Cologne, Germany). 

Oct 2021

SWiP Turkey invited speaker series

“What is our concept of impostor syndrome, and what do, and should, we want it to be?”
(Bilkent University, Turkey - hosted online)

June 2021

Conference in Social Ontology. 'Doing Things Together'

“What Are the Agents of the Press and What Are the Agents of Social Media?”
(Bilkent University, Turkey - hosted online)

Apr 2021

‘Ontology, Normativity and the Law’

“Reinterpreting the legal responsibilities of the media for UK poverty-based rights abuses”
The Glasgow Social Ontology Research Group (University of Glasgow, UK).

May 2019

Hertfordshire Philosophy Research Seminar

“The UK media: collective and individual responsibilities for poverty abuse”
(University of Hertfordshire, UK)

Apr 2019

Hertfordshire Philosophy Society public talk

“How to win over epistemic enemies and influence people”
(University of Hertfordshire, UK)

Apr 2019

Moral Psychology Research Group

“How to win over epistemic enemies and influence people”
(Tilburg University, Netherlands)

Nov 2018

Tilburg Research Seminar in Epistemology and Philosophy of Science

“Epistemic nudging: the permissibility of manipulation in resisting testimonial injustice”
(The Tilburg Centre for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science, Netherlands.

Oct 2018

MANCEPT workshops 2018

“Just Epistemic Resistance: ethics in context”
Workshop: ‘Legitimate Injustice and Just Resistance’ (Univ.  of Manchester, UK).

Sep 2018

‘Rationality and Democracy’ workshop

Nudging and epistemic paternalism: their value in promoting epistemic freedom of choice” (University of Vienna, Austria).

Jun 2018

Postgraduate colloquium

“Epistemic objectification: the possibility of resistance under conditions of exclusion” (University of Melbourne, Australia).

May 2018

MANCEPT seminar

series

“Epistemic resistance: individual and collective permissibility”
(University of Manchester, UK).

May 2018

CeASR Social Change seminar

Povertyism, media bias, and epistemic harm”
Centre for Applied Social Research (Leeds Beckett University, UK).

May 2018

‘Collectivity and Responsibility’

From collective to individual remedial responsibility for global harms”
Workshop (Lund University, Sweden).

Apr 2018

KCL Department of Philosophy seminar

Epistemic exclusion and resistance under austerity”
(Kings College London, UK).

Nov 2017

UK Social and Political Inequalities Group

UK austerity measures and epistemic exclusion”
Workshop: ‘The Politics of Marginalised Groups’ (University of Manchester, UK).

Jun 2017

The Vienna Forum for Analytic Philosophy

Povertyism, exclusion, and epistemic objectification”
(University of Vienna, Austria).

May 2017

AHRC North West Consortium forum

“The curious case of Ronald McDonald’s rights as a person”
Representing the University of Manchester (University of Keele, UK).

Dec 2016

Stirling Philosophy Society public talk

“The curious case of Ronald McDonald’s rights as a person”
(University of Stirling, UK).

Nov 2016


Refereed Accepted Papers

 

The 12th Rocky Mountains Ethics Congress

“Asylum-seekers, the media and personhood”
(University of Colorado, Boulder USA).

Aug 2020
(*moved online)

The Munich Graduate Conference in Ethics 2020

“Asylum-seekers and collective media discrimination”
(University of Munich, Germany).

Jul 2020
(*moved online)

SAP Annual Conference 2020

“Asylum seekers, epistemic injustice and the UK media”
The Society for Applied Philosophy, special panel on ‘Epistemic Injustice and Asylum’ (University of Edinburgh, UK).

Jul 2020
(*cancelled)

‘Philosophy of migration and asylum’ conference

“Asylum seekers, epistemic injustice and the UK media”
(NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal – to be held online).

Jun 2021
(*postponed)

IAPS World Congress 2020

“Asylum seekers, epistemic injustice and the UK media”
International Association for Political Science (Vienna, Austria).

TBC (*postponed)

APA 94th Pacific Division Meeting 2020

“Poverty, Meritocracy, & Epistemic Injustice” (co-authored)
Political Epistemology Network session (San Francisco, USA).

Apr 2020
(*cancelled)

MANCEPT workshops 2019

Debating rights: (mis) diagnosing epistemic and human rights abuse by the UK mainstream media against UK welfare claimants”
Workshop: ‘Diagnosing Rights’ (University of Manchester, UK).

Sep 2019

ENSO Biennial Conference VI (2019)

The UK media: collective and individual responsibilities for poverty abuse”
The European Network for Social Ontology (Tampere University, Finland).

Aug 2019

SAP Annual Conference 2019

Epistemic nudging: the permissibility of cognitive manipulation in resisting testimonial injustice”
The Society for Applied Philosophy (University of Cardiff, UK).

Jun 2019

ASPP Annual Conference 2019

The inability of UN rights legislation to address UK poverty abuse”
Association for Social and Political Philosophy (Newcastle University, UK).

Jun 2019

Tenth Annual Braga Meetings 2019

“Human rights legislation and UK poverty abuse: a failed case of application”
Braga Meetings on Ethics and Political Philosophy, special session: ‘Revisiting the Idea of Human Rights’ (University of Minho, Portugal).

Jun 2019

‘Death, Dying, and End Times’ conference

‘I didn’t ask to be born’: you don’t get to give me death, just to bring about my happy life” (University of Alberta, Canada).

Apr 2019

The Princeton Workshop in Social Philosophy

Just resistance: the permissibility of epistemic nudging in overcoming epistemic harm” (Princeton University, USA).

Feb 2019

‘Epistemic Injustice’ workshop

Reclaiming our agency as marginalised knowers”
(University of Johannesburg, South Africa).

Feb 2019

Warwick Graduate Conference in Political and Legal Theory 2019

“Negotiating with the epistemic enemy”
(University of Warwick, UK).

Feb 2019

‘Human Rights, Poverty and Social Justice’

The Inability of Rights Legislation to Address UK Poverty Abuse”
University College Dublin Centre for Human Rights (Dublin, Ireland).

Nov 2018

GAP 10th Annual Conference

Epistemic resistance”
The German Society for Analytic Philosophy (University of Cologne, Germany).

Sep 2018

‘Current Trends in Social Epistemology’

Epistemic nudging”
(University of Melbourne, Australia).

Aug 2018

‘Contemporary Issues in Ethics & Epistemology’

“Epistemic injustice and the tools of the oppressor”
(University of Pavia, Italy).

Jun 2018

Ninth Annual Braga Meetings 2018

“Human rights legislation and UK poverty abuse: a failed case of application”
Braga Meetings on Ethics and Political Philosophy (University of Minho, Portugal).

Jun 2018

‘Injustice, Resistance, and Progress’ conference

Just resistance: the permissibility of epistemic nudging in overcoming epistemic harm” LSE Dept of Government, with the Jean Beer Blumenfeld Center for Ethics (London School of Economics, UK).

Jun 2018

‘Moral Epistemology conference

Just resistance: the permissibility of epistemic nudging in overcoming epistemic harm” (ACU, Melbourne, Australia)

May 2018

Oxford Graduate Conference in Political Theory 2018.

Just resistance: the permissibility of epistemic nudging in overcoming epistemic harm”
(University of Oxford, UK).

Apr 2018

LSE Political Theory Grad Conference (2018)

Injustice, insight, and resistance”
LSE Dept of Government (London School of Economics, UK).

Mar 2018

Summer school in ‘Social Epistemology’

“Testimonial injustice and epistemic objectification”
(University of Madrid, Spain)

Aug 2017

The Ninth Congress of ESAP 2017

“A non-instrumentalist account of epistemic objectification”
The European Society for Analytic Philosophy (LMU Munich, Germany).

Aug 2017

The 91st Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and Mind Association

How might compensation form a part of the negative duty not to harm, in the case of global poverty?”
Postgraduate Session speaker (University of Edinburgh, UK).

Jul 2017

SAP Annual Conference 2017

“Alleviating global poverty: Why the easiest action is also one that is demanded of us”
The Society for Applied Philosophy (University of Copenhagen, Denmark)

Jun 2017

St Andrews’ ‘The Ethics of Giving’ conference

“Individual charitable giving and the negative duty not to harm”
(University of St Andrews, UK).

May 2017

SWiP ‘The Profession we Want’ conference

Starting from gender and sexism: spreading the word, changing the culture”
Society for Women in Philosophy: panel speaker (University of Manchester, UK).

May 2017

Stockholm Philosophy Grad Conference (2017)

“Global poverty and individual duties”
(Stockholm University, Sweden).

Apr 2017

Oxford Grad Philosophy Conference (2016)

“How might compensation form a part of the negative duty not to harm, in the case of global poverty?” (University of Oxford, UK).

Nov 2016

‘I, You and We Phi’ workshop

“Performative personhood and shared group agency”
First Cork Annual Workshop on Social Agency (University College Cork, Ireland).

Oct 2016

MANCEPT workshops 2016

“An ontological account of group-agent / individual-agent differences in responsibilities and rights”
Workshop: ‘Collective Agency & Global Justice’ (University of Manchester, UK).

Sep 2016

ISOS Biennial Conference: Collective Intentionality X (2016)

“An ontological account of group-agent / individual-agent differences in responsibilities and rights”
International Social Ontology Society (The Hague World Forum, The Netherlands).

Aug 2016

Graduate conference in ‘Social Epistemology’

“Suggestions and Challenges for a Social Account of Sensitivity”

(University of Tartu, Estonia)

Mar 2016

Summer Schools attended / forthcoming

Cornell University

Summer Schhol: Athena in Action (held online)

 

University of Groningen

Summer School: Public Philosophy and Social Ontology

Aug 2019

University of Madrid

Summer School: Social Epistemology

Aug 2017

IUC, Dubrovnik

Summer School: Social Epistemology & Relativism

Jul 2017

University of Antwerp

Summer School: Political Myth & Propaganda

Aug 2016

Teaching

Seminar Teaching

2020/21: Creating a Sustainable World (first semester); Intro to Metaphysics and Epistemology (second semester); Study Skills for Economics (second semester).

2019/20: Early Moderns (first semester); Ethics (first semester); History of Philosophy (second semester); Economics: study skills (second semester)

2018/19: Introduction to Political Philosophy (second semester); History of Philosophy (second semester).

2017/18: Critical Thinking (first semester); Intro to Metaphysics and Epistemology (second semester).

Lecturing

2020/21: Akan Concept of Personhood (third-year Personhood and Freedon of the Will).

2019/20: Psychological Laws (second-year Philosophy of Mind).

2018/19: Social Reality (first-year M&E).

Convener

2020/21: Philosophy of Science (second-year).

Prizes and awards

  • Awarded a Faculty of Humanities Outstanding Teaching Award for 2020.
  • Awarded the Analysis Studentship position for 2020-2021 (taken up at the University of Manchester).
  • Awarded a Doctoral Scholarship from The Society for Applied Philosophy (one of two awarded annually), 2019-2020.
  • Awarded a Jacobsen Studentship from The Royal Institute of Philosophy (one of eight awarded annually, 2019-2020 (not taken up as secured alternative funding).
  • Awarded the University of Manchester Presidential Medal for Distinguished Achievement, for Postgraduate Researcher of the Year 2019.
  • Awarded the Faculty of Humanities (UoM) Award for Postgraduate Researcher of the Year.
  • Awarded a Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science (TiLPS) Visiting Fellowship (taken up Sep-Nov 2018).
  • Awarded the Harry Lesser Teaching Prize (University of Manchester), Aug 2018.
  • Awarded a University of Manchester PhD Studentship, 2016-2019.
  • Awarded first prize in the 2016 Essay Competition of the International Social Ontology Society (ISOS) for my paper: “The Curious Case of Ronald McDonald’s Rights as a Person: An Ontological Account of Differences in Group and Individual Person Rights”.

Grants awarded for conference papers presented

Competitively awarded conference paper presenter bursaries for accommodation / travel and / or registration fees from various bodies for: the 94th Pacific Division Meeting of the APA, 2020; the University of Melbourne conference on Social Epistemology, 2018; the MANCEPT annual workshops in Sep 2016 and Sep 2018; the Postgraduate session of the Joint Session of the Aristotelian Society and the Mind Association in Jul 2017; University of Tartu conference on Social Epistemology (Estonia), Mar 2016.

Grants awarded for conferences organised

  • Mind Association funding award for a conference on "Exploitation and Exploitations".
  • Mind Association funding award for a conference on "Politics, the Law and Ontology".
  • Royal Institute of Philosophy postgrad conference funding award for a series of conferences on aspects of Personhood and Selfhood.
  • AHRC North West Doctoral Training Partnership funding awards for a series of conferences on aspects of Personhood and Selfhood. Prepared and submitted with Professor Sorin Baiasu (Keele University).
  • Mind Association funding award for a conference on "The Narrative Self".
  • Society for Applied Philosophy funding award for the Applied Philosophy stream of Open Minds XIII, the UoM Philosophy graduate conference.
  • Mind Association funding award for Open Minds XIII and Open Minds XIV, the UoM Philosophy graduate conference.
  • Aristotelian Society funding award for Open Minds XIII, the UoM Philosophy graduate conference.
  • Additional funding awards received from various University of Manchester funding bodies totalling c£8,350 to date.

Impact

Events organised

  • Exploitation and exploitations: philosophical theory and practice. Co-lead organiser (forthcoming, Oct 2021).
  • Epistemic Injustice and AsylumCo-organiser and panellist (Sep 2020, online).
  • Politics, the Law and Ontology:a workshop in social ontology. Co-lead organiser (Apr 2019).
  • Personhood and Selfhood: a three-part Royal Institute of Philosophy workshop series on: Social Personhood (Jan 2018); The Narrative Self (Apr 2018); and Selfhood and Self-Consciousness (Jul 2018). Convener for the series and lead organiser of the first workshop (joint organiser of the remaining two).
  • Collective Agents and Global Structural Injustice: a MANCEPT 2017 workshop. Co-lead organiser (Sep 2017).
  • Open Minds XIII (2018) and Open Minds XIV (2019): Postgraduate conferences in Philosophy.Co-lead organiser.
  • PhilChat (2018) (2019) (2020): MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) events for undergraduate students. Joint organiser.
  • UoM Philosophy Reading Party (2017), (2018) and (2019): annual residential philosophy trip. Originator / organiser.
  • UoM Philosophy PhD seminar (2017 - 2020): Originator and convener of the weekly graduate seminar.

 

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 1 - No Poverty
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Course convener / online lecturer, Philosophy in Prisons (charity)

Jan 2019 → …

Administrator / Assistant to the Director, The Mind Association

Nov 2017 → …

Editorial Assistant, Global Justice: Theory Practice Rhetoric

Oct 2017 → …

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