Wesleyan portrait of Daniel  Smyth

Daniel Smyth

Assistant Professor of Letters

Boger Hall, 317

Assistant Professor, German Studies

Boger Hall,

Assistant Professor, Philosophy

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 mind, and aesthetics. Immanuel Kant is a central focus of my work, which then extends backward in time to figures such as Descartes and Leibniz, as well as forward to figures such as Hegel, Marx, and Nietzsche.  I am particularly interested in how developments in infinitary mathematics (e.g. the calculus) and their application to natural phenomena exerted pressure on central tenets of traditional (largely Aristotelian) epistemology and metaphysics. My current book project argues that such a concern with the reality and representation of infinitary phenomena was a major formative influence on Kant's "critical" philosophy and, in particular, his theory of sensible intuition.

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

A guiding thread in my approach to intellectual history is an interest in fruitful cross-pollination between the disciplines – not only within the "humanities" but also between humanistic pursuits and emerging or entrenched scientific methodologies – as 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.  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

Prof. Smyth is on sabbatical leave for Fall 2020.

To schedule a meeting, please send him an email.

Boger Hall 317

Phone extension: 2276


Fall 2021
COL 150F - 01
Great Books Unbound (FYS)

COL 241 - 01
Sophomore Colloquium 1