Dr Matthew Burch

Senior Lecturer
School of Philosophical, Historical and Interdisciplinary Studies
Dr Matthew Burch
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872708

  • Location

    6.145, Colchester Campus



Matt Burch is a Senior Lecturer in Philosophy, the Director of the Interdisciplinary Studies Centre, and the Deputy Director of the Essex Autonomy Project. He has published on diverse topics, e.g., deliberation, disability rights, objectivity, weakness of will, religious experience, and the phenomenology of illness. What brings unity to this diversity is his methodological approach of “applied phenomenology”, which he defines as a research program that brings the phenomenological method and the resources of other disciplines to bear on problems beyond the scope of any mono-disciplinary approach. He has worked on several projects with the Essex Autonomy Project, including an AHRC-funded project on the compliance of the Mental Capacity Act (2005) and the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, and the Wellcome Trust-funded Mental Health and Justice project. From 2018-2019, he had an Early Career Research Fellowship from the Independent Social Research Foundation. His current research draws on the resources of risk studies, phenomenology, human rights discourse, mental capacity law, the philosophy of mind, and literary and cultural studies to develop a concept of risk suitable for singular risk decisions and a basic account of normative guidance for such decisions.

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Matt works on issues at the intersection of phenomenology

Open to supervise

action theory

Open to supervise

and research in the cognitive and social sciences.

Open to supervise

Current research

The stance of objectivity in legal contexts

the question of risk in the care professions

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • The World in Question: The Social, Cultural, Political & Environmental Legacies of the Enlightenment (CS201)

  • Dangerous Ideas: Essays and Manifestos as Social Criticism Capstone (CS301)

  • Selected Issues in Human Rights (HU300)

  • Introduction to Epistemology (PY109)

  • Introduction to Philosophy (PY111)

  • Philosophy and Religion (PY407)

  • Modern Revolutions in Science, Politics, and Culture (CS101)

  • Self and Identity (PY110)

Previous supervision

Camille Walker
Camille Walker
Thesis title: A Phenomenology of Forgetting
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 13/3/2024
Michael Alexander Moore
Michael Alexander Moore
Thesis title: Aiming to Practice Freedom: A Constitutivist Approach to Foucault’S Ethics
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 27/1/2021
Samuel James Oliver
Samuel James Oliver
Thesis title: History and Ideality in Husseri, Derrida, and the Critical Theory Tradition
Degree subject: Philosophy
Degree type: Doctor of Philosophy
Awarded date: 5/7/2019


Journal articles (10)

Burch, M., (2023). Phenomenology’s Place in the Philosophy of Medicine. Theoretical Medicine and Bioethics. 44 (3), 209-227

Burch, M., (2021). Make Applied Phenomenology What it Needs to Be: An Interdisciplinary Research Program. Continental Philosophy Review. 54 (2), 275-293

Burch, M. and Furman, K., (2019). Objectivity in Science and Law: A Shared Rescue Strategy. International Journal of Law and Psychiatry. 64, 60-70

Burch, M., (2018). Making Sense of Akrasia. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences. 17 (5), 939-971

Burch, M., (2017). Autonomy, Respect, and The Rights of Persons with Disabilities in Crisis. Journal of Applied Philosophy. 34 (3), 389-402

Burch, M., (2016). Religion and scientism: a shared cognitive conundrum. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion

Burch, M., (2013). The Existential Sources of Phenomenology: Heidegger on Formal Indication. European Journal of Philosophy. 21 (2), 258-278

Burch, M., (2010). Blurred vision: Marion on the ?possibility? of revelation. International Journal for Philosophy of Religion. 67 (3), 157-171

Burch, M., (2010). Death and Deliberation: Overcoming the Decisionism Critique of Heidegger's Practical Philosophy. Inquiry. 53 (3), 211-234

Burch, M., (2009). The Twinkling of an Eye - Kierkegaard and Heidegger on the Possibility of Faith. American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly. 83 (2), 219-238

Books (2)

Burch, M. and McMullin, I., (2020). Transcending Reason: Heidegger’s Reconceptualization of Rationality. Rowman & Littlefield. 978-1-78660-958-8

McMullin, I., (2019). Normativity, Meaning, and the Promise of Phenomenology. Routledge

Book chapters (3)

Burch, M., (2020). Giving a Damn About Getting it Right: Heideggerian Constitutivism and Our Reasons to be Authentic. In: Transcending Reason: Heidegger on Rationality. Editors: Burch, M. and McMullin, I., . Rowman & Littlefield. 978-1786609588

Burch, M., (2019). Against Our Better Judgment. In: Normativity, Meaning, and the Promise of Phenomenology. Editors: Burch, M., Marsh, J. and McMullin, I., . Routledge. 9781138479913

Burch, M., Marsh, J. and McMullin, I., (2019). Introduction. In: Normativity, Meaning, and the Promise of Phenomenology. Routledge. 1- 6

Grants and funding


The Theory of Risk and the Practice of Care: Bridging the Gap

Independent Social Research Foundation


Mental Health and Justice

Wellcome Trust

+44 (0) 1206 872708


6.145, Colchester Campus