Daniel Weinstock studied Political Science and Political Philosophy at McGill University, where he received a BA and an MA, between 1980 and 1986. He received a DPhil in Political Philosophy from Oxford University, where he studied between 1986 and 1991. From 1988 to 1989, he was a visiting doctoral student at Harvard University. He completed postdoctoral work in the Department of Philosophy at Columbia University, before joining the faculty of the Department of Philosophy of the Université de Montréal in 1993. From 2002 to 2011, he was the Founding Director of the Centre de recherche en éthique de l’Université de Montréal. In 2012, he became a Professor in the Faculty of Law and in the Department of Philosophy of McGill University. In 2013, he was appointed as Director of McGill’s Institute for Health and Social Policy. His term as Director began on August 1, 2013. He has held Visiting Appointments at Université Lyon III, at the Australian National University, at Ritsumeikan University (Kyoto, Japan), and at Universitat Pompeu Fabra, in Barcelona, Spain.
His research interests have spanned widely across a wide range of topics in contemporary moral and political philosophy – from the just management of ethnocultural and religious diversity in modern liberal democracies, to state policy with respect to children, families, and educational institutions. His main research interests at present have to do with the problem of health equity, and with issues of justice and inclusion as they arise in the organization of modern cities. The guiding thread of his research has been to connect philosophical and ethical argument with institutional reasoning. It is marked by the firm conviction that moral and political philosophers have paid insufficient attention to the institutional parameters that both enable and constrain the realization of normative ideals. His attention to institutional specificity has led to his being called upon quite regularly to serve on public policy commissions in areas as diverse as public health (he was the Founding Director of Quebec’s Public Health Ethics Committee), education, end-of-life medical care, and "reasonable accommodation."
His work and teaching have been recognized by a number of major prizes. In 1997 he was awarded a teaching prize by the Faculté des arts et des sciences de l’Université de Montréal for his innovations in developing ethics and public policy courses for the health sciences, and in 1998 he received a teaching prize awarded by the Université de Montréal to its most distinguished teachers at the University-wide level.
He has held both a Tier I and a Tier II Canada Research Chair in Ethics and Political Philosophy at the Université de Montréal.
In 1998, he was awarded a fellowship both to the Rockefeller Center for Human Values at Princeton University, and to the Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University. He spent the 1998-1999 academic year as a Rockefeller Fellow at Princeton. In 2004, he was made a Prize Fellow of the Pierre-Elliott-Trudeau Foundation, and in 2008, he received the Prix André-Laurendeau from the Association canadienne-française pour l’avancement des sciences.