Benjamin Smart



College: College of Social Sciences and International Studies
Discipline: Sociology and Philosophy
Department: Sociology, Philosophy and Anthropology
Research Centre/Unit: Egenis, the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences.

AOS: Theoretical Biology; Living Systems Theory; Epistemology of Science.

AOC: Philosophy of Biology; Philosophy of Cognitive Science; Biological Metaphysics; Logic; German Philosophy (Kant, Schopenhauer, Nietzsche).

I defended my thesis in September, 2022. My doctoral research focused on the contemporary epistemological challenges to living systems theory. Specifically, I examined the epistemic interrelations between three facets of living systems phenomena: their organisation, individuality and subjectivity (see: § 'Research'). The thesis was resubmitted with minor revisions in April, 2023. The changes were formally approved in May 2023. Currently, I am in the process of preparing several articles that constitute the final output to my doctoral research project. 

Before joining Egenis and the University of Exeter, I received my BA in Philosophy at Cardiff University, specialising in 19th century German philosophy as well as hard and soft theories of mind. I received my MA in Philosophy of Biology and Cognitive Science at the University of Bristol, where I submitted a dissertation on the topics of the evolutionary epistemology of reasoning and dominance hierarchies in animal societies.

Initially I started my doctoral research on a slightly different project at Cardiff University, one that looked at the history of organisms and biological individuals in the context of 19th Century neo-Kantian philosophy. I moved to the University of Exeter and Egenis in 2017, revising the project to focus on living systems in the context of more contemporary questions about theoretical biology and scientific epistemology.