Wesleyan portrait of Daniel  Smyth

Daniel Smyth

Assistant Professor of Letters

Boger Hall, 317

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

Boger Hall,

Assistant Professor, German Studies

Boger Hall,


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BA University of Chicago
MA University of Chicago
PHD University of Chicago

Daniel Smyth

My research projects lie in Modern (17th-19th c.) European Philosophy, chiefly in the German philosophical tradition, with an emphasis on metaphysics, epistemology, philosophy of mathematics, and aesthetics. Immanuel Kant is a central focus of my work, but my research extends backward in time to figures such as Galileo, Descartes, and Leibniz, as well as forward to figures such as Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.  I am particularly interested in how seventeenth-century developments in infinitary mathematics (such as calculus) and their application to natural phenomena exerted pressure on central tenets of traditional (largely Aristotelian) epistemology and metaphysics. I recently published a book arguing that such a concern with the reality and representation of infinitary phenomena was a formative influence on Kant's "critical" philosophy and, in particular, his theory of sensible intuition: Intuition in Kant: The Boundlessness of Sense.

Beyond these areas of specialization, my active interests extend to (in no particular order) theories of space and spatial representation, Augustine, mass culture and its figuration in 19th c. European art and literature, critical theory, the history and philosophy of mathematics, Pythagorean currents within Neo-Platonism, genres of philosophical writing (e.g. 'dialogue' vs. 'essay' vs. 'treatise'), and self-consciousness.

My approach to intellectual history is guided by an interest in cross-pollination between the disciplines – not only within "the humanities" but also between humanistic pursuits and emerging or entrenched scientific methodologies. In all of these fields, I attend to the ways historically situated humans attempt to make sense of the universe and their place in it (including the place of their sense-making practices).

Daniel Smyth received his Bachelor's in philosophy from the University of Chicago (2005), where he later returned to pursue a PhD (2015). He then enjoyed a two-year Postdoctoral Fellowship at Cornell University in the Philosophy Department and the Society for the Humanities before joining the Wesleyan faculty in 2017.  While pursuing his PhD, Daniel studied for extended periods in Germany, which led to an active practice as an academic translator of several books and dozens of articles.

Academic Affiliations

Office Hours

Office Hours (Spring 2024):

Wednesdays 9am-12pm, Boger Hall 317

Also by appointment, including on Zoom.

Office Phone: (860) 685 - 2276


Spring 2024
COL 266 - 01

COL 300 - 01
Infinity in Early Modern Philo

Fall 2024
COL 150F - 01
Great Books Unbound (FYS)

COL 243 - 01
Junior Colloquium