Stephen Gaukroger

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Stephen Gaukroger

Professor Stephen Gaukroger.jpg
Born (1950-07-09) 9 July 1950 (age 68)
OccupationHistorian of Philosophy and Science

Stephen Gaukroger, (born 9 July 1950) is a British/Australian historian of philosophy and science. He is Emeritus Professor of History of Philosophy and History of Science at the University of Sydney.

History of science study of the historical development of science and scientific knowledge

The history of science is the study of the development of science and scientific knowledge, including both the natural and social sciences. Science is a body of empirical, theoretical, and practical knowledge about the natural world, produced by scientists who emphasize the observation, explanation, and prediction of real-world phenomena. Historiography of science, in contrast, studies the methods employed by historians of science.

University of Sydney university in Sydney, Australia

The University of Sydney is an Australian public research university in Sydney, Australia. Founded in 1850, it was Australia's first university and is regarded as one of the world's leading universities. The university is colloquially known as one of Australia's sandstone universities. Its campus is ranked in the top 10 of the world's most beautiful universities by the British Daily Telegraph and The Huffington Post, spreading across the inner-city suburbs of Camperdown and Darlington. The university comprises 9 faculties and university schools, through which it offers bachelor, master and doctoral degrees. In 2014 it had 33,505 undergraduate and 19,284 graduate students.



Stephen Gaukroger was born in Oldham, Lancashire, and educated at Cardinal Langley Grammar School. He studied Philosophy at Birkbeck College, University of London, where he was awarded first class honours with the official congratulations of the Board of Examiners. He was a graduate student at Darwin College, Cambridge, completing his PhD in 1977 in the Department of History and Philosophy of Science.

In 1977 he was elected to a research fellowship at Clare Hall, Cambridge, and at the end of 1978 moved to a research fellowship at the University of Melbourne. In 1981 he took up a lectureship in philosophy at the University of Sydney. He married Helen Irving in 1980 and they have two children, Cressida (born 1986), and Hugh (born 1989). He divides his time between Sydney and London.


Gaukroger’s first publication was on Gaston Bachelard, and in the 1970s and early 1980s he wrote a number papers on classical philosophy and science, as well as on Marx, Euler, and Vico. But between the late 1970s and late 1990s he focused primarily on early modern philosophy, with books on Descartes and Bacon, including an intellectual biography of Descartes which placed his metaphysics and epistemology in the context of his natural philosophy. From the late 1990s onwards he has been concerned with a large-scale project on the emergence of a scientific culture, i.e. one in which all cognitive values come to be centred around scientific ones. Three volumes devoted to this question have appeared — The Emergence of a Scientific Culture: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1210-1685 (2006), The Collapse of Mechanism and the Rise of Sensibility: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1680-1760 (2010), and The Natural and the Human: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1739-1841 (2016). The fourth and final volume, Civilization and The Culture of Science: Science and the Shaping of Modernity, 1795-1935 will be published in 2019.


Gaukroger was elected a Fellow of the Australian Academy of Humanities in 1992, a Fellow of the Royal Society of New South Wales in 2016, a Fellow of the Royal Historical Society in 2016, corresponding member of l’Académie Internationale d’Histoire des Sciences in 2007 and full member in 2016. In 2003 he was awarded the Australian Centenary Medal for contributions to history of philosophy and history of science.



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