About me

Leonie Smith is a doctoral candidate in Philosophy at the University of Manchester, with primary interests in social epistemology, social metaphysics, and material injustice. Her PhD project, Epistemic Exclusion, Resistance and Nudging, brings these themes together: first, identifying and examining the particular epistemic and ontological harms faced by severely excluded social groups, taking UK benefit claimants as a case study; and second, introducing and analysing the moral permissibility and practicality of an epistemic resistance which relies on manipulating the cognitive biases of dominant knowers. In doing so, she introduces the novel concepts of epistemic nudging and epistemic salespersonship.

She has additionally published on the problem of the reliable liar for sensitivity-based accounts of testimonial knowledge, on the nature of harm in the case of global poverty (forthcoming), and on corporate personhood rights. Leonie was awarded the International Social Ontology Society‘s inaugural essay prize  for early career scholars (up to six years post-PhD), for the latter of these, in 2017.

Leonie has recently been awarded a funded Visiting Fellowship at The Tilburg Center for Logic, Ethics, and Philosophy of Science at the University of Tilburg (Netherlands) which she commenced in September of this year. Prior and post this in 2018, Leonie has presented her research in Leeds, London, Manchester, Oxford and Dublin in the UK and Ireland; in Lund, Vienna, Braga, Pavia and Cologne (Europe); and in Melbourne (Australia). She was additionally accepted to conferences in Hanover (Germany) and Boston (US) this year, and initiated and co-convened the 2018 Royal Institute of Philosophy three-part conference series on ‘Personhood and Selfhood’ (additionally sponsored by the AHRC). Leonie has also served on the organising committees of various student conferences at the University of Manchester and continues to convene the Manchester PhD Philosophy seminar series and co-ordinate the annual Manchester Philosophy reading party.

Outside of her research and teaching commitments Leonie volunteers as a MAP (Minorities and Philosophy) UK mentor and works with talented year 12 students from backgrounds currently under-represented in higher education, as a Manchester Access Programme tutor, as well as presenting and mentoring at various local school-based events. Since late 2017, she has also held the remunerated roles of Administrator for The Mind Association, and Editorial Assistant for the journal, Global Justice: Theory, Practice, Rhetoric, in addition to her responsibilities as a PhD student representative at Manchester.

Leonie’s work is generously funded by a doctoral studentship award from The University of Manchester. Prior to her PhD she received her BA(hons) in PPE at the University of Oxford in 2015, and completed the MLitt in Philosophy (with Distinction) at the University of St Andrews in 2016. For details of additional funding and awards received, or for further information regarding her work and experience please get in touch at L.smith@manchester.ac.uk.