Matthew Rickard

I'm a graduate student in the English Department and the Interdisciplinary Doctoral Program in the Humanities, concentrating on the literary and intellectual history of early modern England and France. I research the emergence of natural and political philosophy from the studia humanitatis in the 16th and 17th centuriesMy dissertation follows the rise of probability, from the recovery of Aristotle's Poetics to the mathematics of Pascal and Fermat.

Before graduate school, I was an aspiring statistician at Washington University in my native St. Louis. While I focus on the practice of observation and analysis in early modern Europe, I also study probability, statistics, and the conceptual problems posed by empirical inference today. I'm particularly compelled by the entanglement of literary theory and the philosophy of science.

To this end, I coordinate the English Department's Theory Colloquium, which will sponsor a reading group on Hegel's Phenomenology of Spirit in the 2016-2017 academic year. For more information, write me at