David Livingstone Smith

I earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of London (Kings College) where I worked on philosophy of psychology.  My dissertation was published as Freud's Philosophy of the Unconscious (Kluwer, 1999).

I am professor of philosophy at the University of New England, where I teach courses on philosophy of psychology, philosophy of mind, metaphysics, free will and determinism, philosophy of human nature, philosophy of race, and other topics.




University of London, Kings College


Moral psychology

philosophy of psychology

philosophy of biology

human nature



Current Research

Self-deception, dehumanization, human nature, ideology, race.

Research Interests

Topics in moral psychology

Selected Publications

ÔForm and function in self-deception,Õ Paradigmi:Rivista di Critica Filosofica  (forthcoming).

 ÔA puzzle about ideology,Õ for B. Kaldis (ed.), Philosophy of the Social Sciences,
Synthese Library (forthcoming).

ÔLiesÕ and ÔUnconscious,Õ The Encyclopedia of Philosophy of the Social Sciences, Sage Publications [2013].

 ÔIndexically yours: why being human is more like being here than like being water,Õ in Corby, R. H. A & Lanjouw, A. (eds.) The Politics of Species: Exploring
the Species Interface
.  Cambridge: Cambridge University Press (2013)

ÔConclusions, confusions, and exclusions,Õ Journal of Social, Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology, 6(4), 532-535 [2012].

ÔPrécis of Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others,Õ  The Montreal Review [September, 2012].

Essay review, American Utopia and Social Engineering in Literature, Social Thought, and Political History. The Montreal Review [August 2012]. 

ÔBeyond Good and Evil: Variations on Some Freudian Themes,Õ in Bohart, A. et al. (eds.) HumanityÕs Dark Side.  Washington, DC: APA Books [2012].

ÔWar, evolution, and the nature of human nature,Õ in Shackleford, T. (ed.) Oxford Companion to Evolutionary Approaches to War and Violence.  New York: Oxford University Press [2012].

Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others.  New York: St. Martins Press [2011].

ÔAiming at self-deception: intentionalism, deflationism, and biological purpose,Õ
(response to von Hippel & Trivers) Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 33(6), [2011].

ÔA problem for FreudÕs anti-theistic argument,Õ in Beit-Hallahmi, B. (ed.) Psychoanalysis and Theism: Critical Reflections on the Grünbaum Thesis. Lanham, MD: Jason Aronson [2010].

ÔInterview with David Livingstone Smith,Õ in Burton, M. & Wilkinson, C. (eds.) Conversations on Truth.

Other Scholarly Activity

Winner of 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for non-fiction.

Sepeaker at 2012 G20 Economic Summit

Invited Plenary Presentation

ÔHuman and subhuman,Õ 6th annual Security and Human Behavior Meeting, University of Southern California [June 4, 2013]

ÔSelf-deception and self-misleading,Õ American Philosophical Association, Eastern Division Annual Meeting [December 29, 2012].

ÔLess than human? Civility in an age of discontent,Õ Keynote, Mizzou Diversity Summit, University of Missouri [October 29, 2012]

ÔLess than Human: Understanding the Psychological Roots of War, Genocide and Atrocities.Õ Keynote, Tijuana Innovadora, Tijuana, Mexico [October 18, 2012]

ÔLess than human: understanding the dehumanizing imagination,Õ Inamori Center for Ethics and Excellence, Case Western University [September 14, 2012].

Reading from Less Than Human, Anisfield-Wolf award ceremony, Cleveland, Ohio Theater [September 13, 2012].

ÔLess Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others,Õ Cuyahoga County Public Library, Beachwood Branch, Cleveland [September 12, 2012].

ÔLess Than Human,Õ G20 Summit, Los Cabos, Mexico [June 16, 2012].

ÔIdeology,Õ 5th annual Security and Human Behavior meeting, Google, New York, NY [June 5, 2012].

ÔThe Nature of Human Nature: How and Why Philosophy Matters,Õ 6th Annual Meeting of the Northeastern Evolutionary Psychology Society, Plymouth State University, Plymouth, NH [April 28th, 2012].

ÔA teleofunctional theory of self-deception,Õ Maine Philosophical Institute, Colby College, Watertown, Maine [April 21, 2012].

ÔCreatures of a kind somewhat inferiorÉÕ 38th Annual Conference on Value Inquiry, Salem State University, Salem, MA [April 19, 2012].

ÔDehumanization and violence,Õ Conference on the Evolution of Violence, Oakland University, Rochester, MI [April 10, 2012].

ÔDehumanization in Sudan,Õ Desmond Tutu Center, New York, NY; Symposium on Genocide in Sudan [November 26, 2011].
Does life have a purpose?Õ Ciudad de las Ideas, Puebla, Mexico [Nov. 12, 2011].

ÔLess than human,Õ Ciudad de las Ideas, Puebla, Mexico [Nov. 10, 2011].

ÔLess Than Human: The Moral Psychology of Killing,Õ Utah Valley University, 7th Annual Symposium on Restorative Justice and the Death Penalty [November 3, 2011].

ÔLess Than human,Õ Distinguished Liberal Arts Lecture, Quinsigamond Community College [October 24, 2011].
ÔSelf-deception and self-misleading,Õ Northern New England Philosophical Association [October 21, 2011].

ÔNot one of my kind: constructing the human/subhuman distinction,Õ closed workshop on Humans and Other Apes: Exploring the Species Interface, sponsored by the Arcus Foundation, New York City [August 13, 2011].

ÔPropaganda and the dehumanizing imagination,Õ Second Annual Workshop on Security and Human Behavior, Carnegie Mellon University [June 17, 2011].

ÔThe illusion of race,Õ Race and Gravy, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, [March 17, 2011].

David Livingstone Smith

David Livingstone Smith




Marcil Hall


(207) 602-2237