David Livingstone Smith
Professor of Philosophy, University of New England

David Livingstone Smith is a professor of philosophy at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine. He earned his PhD from the University of London, Kings College, where he worked on Freud’s philosophy of mind and psychology. His current research is focused on dehumanisation, race, propaganda, and related topics. He is the author of seven books and numerous academic papers. His most recent book Less Than Human: Why We Demean, Enslave, and Exterminate Others (St Martin’s Press, 2011) was awarded the 2012 Anisfield-Wolf award for non-fiction. He is also editor of How Biology Shapes Philosophy (Cambridge University Press, 2017), and he is working on a book entitled Making Monsters: The Uncanny Power of Dehumanization, which will be published by Harvard University Press.

David speaks widely in both academic and non-academic settings, and his work has been featured extensively in national and international media. In 2012 he spoke at the G20 summit on dehumanisation and mass violence. David strongly believes that the practice of philosophy has an important role to play helping us meet the challenges confronting humanity in the 21st century and beyond, and that philosophers should work towards making the world a better place.

Written by David Livingstone Smith

Adolf Hitler addresses the audience at the Berlin Sportpalast in 1942. Photo by Ullstein Bild/AKG

Why we love tyrants

Psychoanalysis explains how authoritarians energise hatred, self-pity and delusion while promising heaven on Earth

David Livingstone Smith

Freud’s glasses at the Freud Museum, London. Photo by Dukas Presseagentur/Alamy

Freud the philosopher

Before fathering psychoanalysis, Freud first slayed the dominant Cartesian intellectual tradition of mind-body dualism

David Livingstone Smith

Photo by Henry Diltz/Corbis via Getty

Mood and emotion
A theory of creepiness

A bear chasing you is simply scary but a guy with a big mouse’s head can give you the creeps. What’s the difference?

David Livingstone Smith

A Polaroid of an unaccompanied child following the 1994 Rwandan genocide. Such images were displayed on bulletin boards at NGOs. Photo by Jenny Matthews/Panos

The essence of evil

You don’t have to be a monster or a madman to dehumanise others. You just have to be an ordinary human being

David Livingstone Smith

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