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Department of Philosophy


Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy, BA, MA, PhD

Personal web page

Reader/Chair DEC in the Department of Philosophy

Contact Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy

Office Hours

Mondays, 2:00-3:00. Tuesdays, 1:00-3:00.


Based in Durham University’s Department of Philosophy, I am the university's Reader in the History and Philosophy of Science and a member of its Centre for Visual Arts and Culture. Trained in England, America and Germany, I am an intellectual historian with special interests in the history of science and its relationship to the conceptualisation of art, reason and human nature in modern Europe.

In all my work I treat scientific concepts as entities that emerge, flourish and recede over time based on their historical context - an approach that embraces two related historical methods called 'historical epistemology' and 'historical ontology'. Over the course of my career I have published on topics relevant to the history of a number of disciplines in the human, environmental and social sciences. My work on several of these topics was recently profiled in the American magazine Inside Higher Ed and by the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science.

I’ve worked at Princeton, Harvard, MIT, UCLA, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science (Berlin) and Caltech. My research has been supported through grants or fellowships awarded by the British Arts and Humanities Research Council, the Royal Society of London, the Wellcome Trust, the Mellon Foundation and Durham’s Institute for Advanced Study. At present I am completing a book that reveals the rich relationship between rationality and the visual arts during the Enlightenment.

In addition to serving on the executive councils for the British Society for the History of Science and the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, I've given evidence for a number of British government organisations (including the Department of Work and Pensions) and I served as an assessor for the National Research Exercise coordinated for the Greek Ministry of Education.


I supervise theses and dissertations on all aspects of the 18th- to early 20th-century intellectual history topics outlined above.

Research Groups

  • History and Philosophy of Science and Medicine
  • History of Philosophy
  • Mind, Language and Metaphysics

Research Interests

  • History and Philosophy Science (especially environmental science)
  • History of Objectivity
  • The History of Knowledge
  • The Scottish Enlightenment
  • Darwinism and Childhood
  • Science and the Visual Arts, 1750-present


Authored book

Book review

Chapter in book

Edited book

Journal Article

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