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Dr Simon Paul James

Associate Professor/DEC Chair

BSc, MA, PhD

AffiliationRoom numberTelephone
Associate Professor/DEC Chair in the Department of Philosophy +44 (0) 191 33 46555
Member of Durham CELLS (Centre for Ethics and Law in the Life Sciences)  


I came to philosophy by a roundabout route, taking a BSc in Biological Sciences, followed by an MA in the History and Philosophy of Science, before obtaining a PhD for a thesis on environmental ethics in 2001. I am currently an Associate Professor (Reader) in the Department of Philosophy.

My work engages with a wide range of issues in environmental philosophy, from Buddhist approaches to wildlife conservation to our moral relations with rock formations, and from the (so-called) problem of animal minds to the virtue ethical question of whether a good life must be a green life.

In my spare time, I enjoy playing guitar and (with Helen and my daughter Emily) walking in wild (or wildish) places.

Office hours

By appointment

Undergraduate Teaching

Research interests

  • Environmental philosophy
  • Existential phenomenology
  • Buddhist philosophy

Media Contacts

Available for media contact about:

  • Education & awareness: Environmental ethics
  • Ethics: Environmental ethics
  • Philosophy: Environmental ethics
  • Religion: Environmental ethics


Authored book

Chapter in book

Edited Journal

  • James, Simon P. & Cooper, David E. (2008). Buddhism and the Environment. Contemporary Buddhism, 8 (2): Taylor and Francis.

Journal Article

Newspaper/Magazine Article

  • James, S. P. (2015). The New Greenspeak. Earth Island Journal 30(1).

Other (Print)

  • James, Simon P. (2017). Conflict and Resolution (editorial for Environmental Values). 26(5): 535-538.
  • James, Simon P. (2016). Letting Nature take its Course (editorial for Environmental Values). Environmental Values 25(4): i-iv.