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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 and the Materiality of Early Modernity. 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). 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

  • Eddy, Matthew Daniel, Mauskopf, Seymour H. & Newman, William R. (2014). An Introduction to Chemical Knowledge in the Early Modern World. Osiris 29(1): 1-15.
  • Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2014). How to See a Diagram: A Visual Anthropology of Chemical Affinity. Osiris 29(1): 178-196.
  • Eddy, Matthew Daniel (2013). The Shape of Knowledge: Children and the Visual Culture of Literacy and Numeracy. Science in Context 26(2): 215-245.
  • Eddy, M. (2011). The Line of Reason: Hugh Blair, Spatiality and the Progressive Structure of Language. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 65(1): 9-24.
  • Eddy, M. (2011). The Prehistoric Mind as a Historical Artefact. Notes and Records of the Royal Society 65: 1-8.
  • Eddy, M. (2010). The Alphabets of Nature: Children, Books and Natural History in Scotland, circa 1750-1800. Nuncius 25: 1-22.
  • Eddy, M. (2010). Tools for reordering:Commonplacing and the Space of Words in Linnaeus' Philosophia Botanica. Intellectual History Review 20(2): 227-252.
  • Eddy, M. (2008). An Adept in Medicine: Rev. Dr. William Laing, Nervous Complaints and the Commodification of Spa Water. Studies in the History and Philosophy of the Biological and Biomedical Sciences 39: 1-13.
  • Eddy, M. (2008). The Dark Side of Collecting: Early Modern Chemistry, Humanism and Classification. Ambix 55: 283-292.
  • Eddy, M. (2006). Academic Capital, Postgraduate Research and British Universities: A Bourdieu Inspired Reflection. Discourse 6: 211-223.
  • Eddy, M. (2006). The Medium of Signs: Nominalism, Language and Classification in the Early Thought of Dugald Stewart. Studies in the History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences 37: 373-393.
  • Eddy, M. (2005). Converging Paths or Separate Roads? The Roles Played by Science, Medicine and Philosophy in the Scottish Enlightenment. Philosophical Writings 30: 30-40.
  • Eddy, M. (2004). Elements, Principles and the Narrative of Affinity. Foundations of Chemistry 6: 161-175.
  • Eddy, M. (2004). fallible or Inerrant? On the Constructivist's Bible. British Journal for the History of Science 37: 93-98.
  • Eddy, M. (2004). Scottish Chemistry, Classification and the Late Mineralogical Career of the "Ingenious" Professor John Walker. British Journal for the History of Science 37: 373-399.
  • Eddy, M. (2004). The Science and Rhetoric of Paley's Natural Theology. Literature and Theology 18: 1-22.
  • Eddy, M. (2003). Do Philosophers Make the Worst of Poets? Philosophical Writings 23: 81-85.
  • Eddy, M. (2003). The University of Edinburgh Natural History Class Lists. Archives of Natural History 30: 97-117.
  • Eddy, M. (2002). Scottish Chemistry, Classification and the Early Mineralogical Career of the "Ingenious" Rev. Dr. John Walker. British Journal for the History of Science 35: 411-438.
  • Eddy, M. (2001). Geology, Mineralogy and Time in John Walker's University of Edinburgh Natural History Lectures. History of Science 39: 95-119.
  • Eddy, M. (2001). The Doctrine of Salts and Rev John Walker's Analysis of Scottish Spa. Ambix 48: 137-160.