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Department of Philosophy


Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy, BA, MA, PhD

Personal web page

Senior Lecturer/Chair DEC in the Department of Philosophy

Contact Dr Matthew Daniel Eddy

Fields of Interest

European and American intellectual history; science, health and environment in Modern Britain; history and philosophy mind, embodyment, aesthetics and gender.


Matthew Daniel Eddy came to the department in 2003 after studying the history and philosophy of science in America, Britain and Germany. He is an expert on the science and the intellectual culture of Britain and the British Empire from the Enlightenment to World War I. His first book, The Language of Mineralogy: John Walker, Chemistry and the Edinburgh Medical School 1750-1800, was funded by a British Arts and Humanities Research Council grant. It traced the cultural origins of environmental science in relation to the professional and medical concerns of middle-class intellectuals. His forthcoming book, Rewriting the Enlightenment: Science, Education and the Graphic Foundations of Reason, 1700-1820, was funded by Mellon and AHRC grants and argues for a new visual approach to the intellectual history of the late Enlightenment.

A council member of the British Society for the History of Science as well as the Society for the History of Alchemy and Chemistry, he has won fellowships from MIT, Harvard, the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science in Berlin, UCLA’s Clark Library, and Durham University’s Institute of Advanced Study. He has held a visting professorship at the California Institute of Technology and he currently serves on the editorial boards of Ambix and Notes and Records of the Royal Society of London.

Eddy’s articles have appeared in a wide range of academic journals including the British Journal for the History of Science, Book HistoryIntellectual History Review, Science in Context, Osiris, Notes and Records of the Royal Society, Literature and Theology, among others. He has assisted on numerous documentaries aired on the BBC and is passionate about public history, acting as a guest speaker, workshop organiser or curator at venues ranging from the Library of the Royal Society of London to local museums in northern England. He also has served on advisory boards of projects being run by the AHRC, the Netherlands National Research Council, the Greek Ministry of Education, and others. 

Eddy teaches postgraduate courses on modern European intellectual history, and undergraduate courses on the history of science, health, religion, and the environment.


Dr Eddy supervises 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
  • Mind, Language and Metaphysics


Books: authored

Books: edited

  • Eddy, M., Mauskopf, S. & Newman, W. (2014). Chemical Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Osiris. Chicago: University of Chicago.
  • (2011). Prehistoric Minds: Human Origins as a Cultural Artefact, 1780-2010. Royal Society of London.
  • Eddy, M. & Knight, D. (2008). William Paley’s Natural Theology: or, Evidences of the Existence and Attributes of the Deity. Modern Classics Series. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Eddy, M. & Knight, D. (2005). Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science, 1700-1900. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Books: sections

  • Eddy, Matthew (2015). Useful Pictures: Joseph Black and the Graphic Culture of Experimentation. In Cradle of Chemistry: The Early Years of Chemistry at the University of Edinburgh. Anderson, Robert G. W. John Donald. 99-118.
  • Eddy, M. (2013). Nineteenth-Century Natural Theology. In The Oxford Handbook of Natural Theology. Russell Re Manning Oxford: Oxford University Press. 100-117.
  • Eddy, M. (2010). Natural History, Natural Philosophy and Readership. In The Edinburgh History of the Book in Scotland, Vol II: Enlightenment and Expansion, 1707-1800. Brown, S. & McDougall, W. Edinburgh: University of Edinburgh Press.
  • Eddy, M. (2010). The Sparkling Nectar of Spas; or, Mineral Water as a Medically Commodifiable Material in the Province, 1770–1805. In Materials and Expertise in Early Modern Europe: Between Market and Laboratory. Klein, U. & Spary, E. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press. 283-292.
  • Eddy, M. (2007). The Aberdeen Agricola: Chemical Principles and Practice in James Aderson's Georgics and Geology. In New Narratives in Eighteenth-Century Chemistry. Principe, L. Dordrecht: Springer.
  • Eddy, M. & Knight, D. (2006). Introduction. In William Paley's Natural Theology. Eddy, M. & Knight, D. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Eddy, M. (2005). Set in Stone: The Medical Language of Mineralogy in Scotland. In Science and Beliefs: From Natural Philosophy to Natural Science. Eddy, M. & Knight, D. Aldershot: Ashgate.

Journal papers: academic