Philosopher Smith honored with Humboldt award

Michael Smith, a Princeton professor of philosophy, has been selected to receive a Humboldt Research Award, which will support research in collaboration with colleagues in Germany.

The award is granted by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation of Bonn, Germany, to internationally recognized scientists and scholars in honor of lifetime achievements in research.

The award will enable Smith to spend up to one year at the Humboldt University of Berlin, where he will collaborate with colleagues from the university's philosophy department. There he hopes to focus on the relationship between values and reasons for action and the ways in which understanding of each of these relates to an idealized account of rationality.

Smith, who is the McCosh Professor of Philosophy, first joined the Princeton faculty in 1985 after teaching at Wadham College at the University of Oxford and at Monash University in Victoria, Australia. In 1989 Smith returned to Monash for five years, then taught at the Research School of Social Sciences in Australia for nine years before returning to Princeton in 2004.

Smith's research focuses on ethics, moral psychology, philosophy of mind and action, political philosophy and philosophy of law. He is the author of "The Moral Problem," for which he was awarded the American Philosophical Association Book Prize, and "Ethics and the A Priori: Selected Essays on Moral Psychology and Meta-Ethics." He is the co-author of "Mind, Morality and Explanation: Selected Collaborations." He is also the editor of "Meta-Ethics" and the co-editor of "Reason and Value: Themes From the Moral Philosophy of Joseph Raz," "The Oxford Handbook of Contemporary Philosophy" and "Common Minds: Themes From the Philosophy of Philip Pettit."

Smith is an associated faculty member of Princeton's Department of Politics. He has held visiting posts at universities in Germany, Japan, New Zealand, Sweden and the United Kingdom.

The Humboldt Foundation grants up to 100 Humboldt Research Awards annually.