Dr Michael Edwards

Gurnee Hart Fellow and Senior College Lecturer in History
Affiliated Lecturer, Faculty of History
Dr Michael Edwards

PhD Cambridge 2006.

MPhil Cambridge 2002.

BA Cambridge 2000.

I was a Junior Research Fellow in History at Christ's College, Cambridge from 2005 to 2009, and a Kennedy Scholar at Harvard University from 2000 to 2001. In 2012 I held an Early Career Fellowship at CRASSH.

Together with Professor Christoph Lüthy of Radboud University, Nijmegen, I edit the journal Early Science and Medicine.

My research interests are in early modern British and European intellectual and cultural history and the history of science. I am particularly interested in the early modern Aristotelian and scholastic traditions and their relationship to the 'new philosophy' of Hobbes and Descartes, in early modern psychology and natural philosophy, the history of the concepts of time and space, and more generally in the connections between natural and political philosophy. My book Time and Science of the Soul in Early Modern Philosophy (Brill, 2013) examines theories of time in natural philosophy, metaphysics and political theory from late scholastic philosophy to Descartes and Hobbes. It argues that, prompted by a common but controversial background in Aristotle’s Physics, early modern philosophers developed new approaches to the relationship between time and the human body and soul, recognising the political and philosophical implications of what they saw as mankind’s temporal nature.

I also work on the intellectual and cultural history of Catholic religious orders before 1800, particularly the Jesuits and the Minims, focusing on the scientific and philosophical interests of their members, including Marin Mersenne, the intellectual broker, prolific correspondent and friend of Descartes.

I supervise Ph.D and M.Phil students across a range of topics in intellectual history from 1550-1800.

'The History of Political Thought to c.1700' (Part 1 Paper 19)

'The History of Political Thought c.1700-c.1890' (Part 1 Paper 20 / Part 2 Paper 4)

'British Political History 1485-1714' (Part 1 Paper 4)

'European history 1450-1760' (Part 1 Paper 16)

'The Politics of Knowledge from the Late Renaissance to the Early Enlightenment' (Part 2 Paper 17)

Lectures for Part 2 Paper 17 ('The Politics of Knowledge') and Part 1 Paper 16 (Early Modern Europe).

Fellow of the Royal Historical Society (FRHistS), 2009.


Tags & Themes


Jesus College
Cambridge CB5 8BL

01223 339310


Key Publications

  • Time and the Science of the Soul in Early Modern Philosophy (Brill, 2013).
  • ‘Marin Cureau de la Chambre and Pierre Chanet on Time and the Passions of the Soul,’ History of European Ideas 38 (2) (2012), 200-217.
  • ‘The Fate of Commentary in the Philosophy of the Schools c.1550-1640,’ Intellectual History Review 22 (4) (2012), 519-536.
  • ‘Substance and Essence’ in The Oxford Handbook of British Philosophy in the Seventeenth Century ed. Peter Anstey (Oxford University Press, 2013).
  • ‘Body, Soul and Anatomy in Late Aristotelian Psychology’, in Form and Matter in Early Modern Philosophy, ed. Gideon Manning (Brill, 2012), pp. 33-75.
  • ‘Philosophy, Early Modern Intellectual History and the History of Philosophy’, Metaphilosophy 43 (1-2) (2012), 82-95.
  • 'Digressing with Aristotle: Hieronymus Dandinus' De corpore animato (1610) and the Expansion of late Aristotelian Philosophy', Early Science and Medicine 13 (2), (2008), 127-170.
  • 'Aristotelianism, Descartes and Hobbes', Historical Journal 50 (2) (2007), 449-464.