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Call for Applications: International Visiting Fellowships in Critical Digital & Social Media Research

  • Posted by: Georg Theiner
  • Posted Date: January 25, 2016
  • Filed Under: Philosophy

The Westminster Institute for Advanced Studies (WIAS) www.westminster.ac.uk/wias is a newly created academic space at the University of Westminster in London for independent critical thinking beyond borders. Its inaugural research theme is Critical Digital & Social Media Research.

One of the WIAS’ key features is the Research Fellowship Programme that attracts and brings together current and future academic leaders. We invite applications for international junior and senior research fellows (from all academic backgrounds) who conduct fellowship research projects in the realm of Critical Social & Digital Media Research for the duration of 3 months in 2016. Several fellowships will be awarded as result of this call. The fellowships cover airfare and a contribution to accomodation and subsistence in London.

Funded scholarships are only awarded as a result of open calls. The WIAS invites both junior and senior fellows. Junior fellows are researchers who hold a PhD that has been awarded not more than 5 years before the date of the call publication. Senior fellows are researchers who hold a PhD that has been awarded more than 5 years before the call is published.

More details and application:

https://www.westminster.ac.uk/news/2016/call-for-applications-international-research-fellowship

Application deadline: February 29, 2016, 17:00 BST

Subscription to the WIAS newsletter in order to receive updates about events, future fellowship calls, calls of the book series “Critical Digital & Social Media Studies”, publications, etc. is possible here:

https://www.westminster.ac.uk/newsletter


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Library Trials to Routledge Handbooks Online and Taylor & Francis eBooks

From January 11 to March 11, the library will be running a trial of two major e-book platforms from Taylor & Francis: Routledge Handbooks Online, and Taylor & Francis eBooks (which contains mostly Routledge titles). Both collections are strong in a wide range of humanities and social science disciplines.

Routledge handbooks online

Routledge Handbooks Online contains collections of scholarly review articles on commonly researched topics. More than 600 volumes (about 18,000 chapters) are included. The articles are useful for getting a general overview of a topic, and make good jumping-off points for further investigation. Each chapter can be viewed in HTML or downloaded as a PDF.

T&F ebooks

Taylor & Francis eBooks contains more than 50,000 ebooks—both single-author texts and edited collections. Many of these are recent publications, but the collection contains works spanning the last century as well. The majority of them are DRM-free, with no time limits or print limitations, though some do have restrictions.

Your feedback about these resources is valuable to us. Please send your comments to Nik Fogle at nikolaus.fogle@villanova.edu. We’d particularly like to know what you found useful about them, what was lacking, and to what extent you would use this material in the future. Please be sure to tell us which of the two platforms your comments are about.


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JOB: 5 year Fellowship (and tenure track) on Ethics and Data Analytics / Big Data – University of Leeds, UK

The University of Leeds is seeking to appoint an outstanding research leader to the position of University Academic Fellow, to be based in Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied (Faculty of Arts), to work on the Ethics of Data Analytics (“Big Data”).

Applicants are expected to have demonstrated research excellence, and teaching ability, in the broadly-defined field of ethics or practical philosophy, have a commitment to inter-disciplinary work, and a skill-set for inquiry into the specific ethical issues raised in the field of ‘big data’. This might include a research track-record in neighbouring areas of philosophical inquiry such as privacy, justice, consent, risk, the public interest, trust, procedural justice.

In outline, the prestigious position involves a 5 year period heavily weighted towards research and external engagement related to that research. Successful completion of this 5 year ‘probationary’ period will lead to an appointment as Associate Professor at grade 9, and a transition into that role at the end of the initial 5 year period.

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/news/article/4379/university_academic_fellow_in_the_ethics_of_data_analytics_big_data

Potential applicants are strongly encouraged to make informal enquiries about the role. Please contact Professor Chris Megone, tel: +44 (0)113 343 7888, email: C.B.Megone@leeds.ac.uk, or Dr Jamie Dow, tel: +44(0)113 343 7887, email: J.Dow@leeds.ac.uk.

Closing Date:      Monday 18 January 2016

Jamie Dow

Lecturer, IDEA Centre (Inter-Disciplinary Ethics Applied), University of Leeds

Tel: +44 113 343 7887

Email: J.Dow@leeds.ac.uk

Web: http://bit.ly/per6sR (staff profile, Philosophy) http://sullogismos.wordpress.com (White Rose Ancient Philosophy in Yorkshire)

http://www.personal.leeds.ac.uk/~ieajd/

http://www.leeds.ac.uk/arts/leadingminds (Leading Minds Research Project

– the Ethics of Persuasion in Ancient Philosophy and Contemporary Leadership).


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JOB: 2 Assistant Professor Vacancies at Department of Philosophy, University of Twente, The Netherlands

The Department of Philosophy of the University of Twente in the Netherlands is looking for two assistant professors:

Assistant Professor in Philosophy (2 years, full-time)

Assistant Professor in Philosophy (1 year, full-time)

The department of philosophy is internationally leading in the philosophy and ethics of technology, and in philosophy of science in practice. It currently includes seven tenured staff members, three tenure trackers, two postdocs, fourteen PhD students, and several temporary faculty members. The department participates in and directs the interuniversity 3TU.Center for Ethics and Technology (ww.ethicsandtechnology.eu). Both the department and the Center have a strong international orientation and include members from many different nationalities. The department is currently in need of two temporary faculty members, one for two years and one for one year, to support its teaching activities and to strengthen its research program.

The Challenge 

You teach (80%) philosophy for bachelor and master programs in engineering and social science. You may also teach philosophy courses in the master program Philosophy of Science, Technology and Society (https://www.utwente.nl/psts/). Courses may include a selection of the following, depending on your strengths and preferences, and on what is vacant: philosophy of communication, business ethics, computer ethics, philosophy of psychology, academic/research skills and methods, philosophy of (value sensitive) design, human-technology relations for engineers, philosophy of science for students in engineering and social sciences, argumentation theory and logic, professional ethics for engineers, and others. Some courses will be co-taught with other teachers. You perform research (20%) in the area of philosophy, with a focus on the role of science and technology in society. Your research will focus on philosophical issues in relation to science and/or technology, in particular on ethics of technology, human-technology relations, and/or philosophy of science in practice.  It. will be embedded in the department’s research program and in either CTIT (the Centre for Informatics and Information Technology) or MIRA (Institute for Biomedical Technology and Technical Medicine). It may also be embedded in the 3TU.Center for Ethics and Technology.

Offer 

For both vacancies:  You are appointed as an Assistant Professor (full-time). The starting date is March 1, 2016 (negotiable). The gross monthly salary ranges from € 3.400,- up to € 4.654,- gross per month (based on experience) in accordance with the job profile for a “Universitair Docent-2”, under the University System for Job Classification (UJC). In addition, the University of Twente offers attractive employment conditions (for example, 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus on top of to the annual salary) and excellent facilities for professional and personal development.

Your profile 

You hold a Ph.D. in philosophy, preferably with a specialization in philosophical anthropology, (applied) ethics, political philosophy or philosophy of science (in case of the latter, preferably with specialization in social sciences), and an interest in technology and technological developments and/or in epistemological issues of the engineering and social sciences.

You have broad experience in teaching at a university level, preferably including students in science & engineering, social science, or other non-philosophical fields. You have demonstrable didactic skills in teaching, good teaching evaluations, and a passion for teaching. You are able and willing to teach in areas of philosophy outside your philosophical specialization, both in philosophy at large and in the philosophy/ethics of science and technology.

You have either had a focus on technology in your past research or you have a demonstrable interest in focusing on technology for your future research. You have published in peer-refereed journals, and have relevant international experience.

You have a strong command of the English language. All master programs at the University of Twente are taught in English, and English is the official language at departmental meetings. Bachelor teaching is often in Dutch, but in almost all cases teaching in English is allowed.

We want to stress that candidates with an all-round, broad experience in teaching (diverse courses) take precedence, since the main part of the position consists of teaching.

Information and application 

For more information, please contact prof.dr. C. Aydin (Chair Department; o.aydin@utwente.nl; phone +31-53-4893391) or prof.dr. Philip Brey (full professor and member of Daily Board; P.A.E.Brey@utwente.nl; phone: +31-53-4894426). Your application should reach us by January 17 2016, and should include a CV, a letter of application (including teaching evaluations), a summary and table of contents of your dissertation (or your full dissertation), a relevant research publication, and contact information for 2 or more references. Interviews will ideally be held between January 19 and January 29 depending on availability of selected candidates. Skype interviews are a possibility. Applications should be uploaded via www.utwente.nl/vacatures/en.

Please indicate if you want to be considered for the ‘one year position’ or the ‘two-year position’.  Depending on the financial situation of the department, there is perspective on extending the ‘one year position’ with an additional year.

About the university and region 

The University of Twente. We stand for science and technology, high tech, human touch, education and research that matter. New technology which drives change, innovation and progress in society. The University of Twente is the only campus university in the Netherlands; divided over five faculties we provide more than fifty educational programs. The University of Twente has a strong focus on personal development and talented researchers are given scope for carrying out pioneering research. The Faculty of Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences strives to hold a leading position in their fields in relation to the science and technology research programs of the University of Twente. In all these fields, the faculty provides bachelor, master and professional development programs.

The city of Enschede, in the east of the Netherlands, is a lively city of 150,000, located in beautiful countryside and near spectacular nature areas. It is only two hours away from major European cities like Amsterdam, Cologne and Düsseldorf, three hours from Brussels and also close to London, Paris and Berlin.

 

 


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CONCEPT 2016: CFP and Peer Review

Every spring, Graduate Arts and Sciences at Villanova publishes outstanding graduate student articles in all disciplines in its interdisciplinary journal CONCEPT.  Under the guidance of Dr. Lisa Sewell (English), graduate students serve as editors and peer reviewers for the journal.

Call for Papers

The journal is now accepting article submissions. The author of the best article in the 2016 issue will receive the Graduate Student Research Prize. The deadline for submission is Monday, February 1, 2016. Authors should register with the website, https://concept.journals.villanova.edu/ and follow the instructions there for posting their submission. (An author may submit no more than 1 article for consideration.) Any questions should be directed to the faculty editor-in-chief, Lisa Sewell (lisa.sewell@villanova.edu). Papers in all disciplines are welcome.

Call for Volunteers

The journal is now seeking volunteers to serve as editors and peer-reviewers. A board of five graduate student editors from across the disciplines participate in the editorial process, reading and making the final decisions on the contents of the print and on-line versions of CONCEPT. Peer reviewers contribute to the process of determining the short-list of essays that will then be assessed by the editorial board.  Peer reviewers may also submit work for consideration. The deadline for submission is Monday, February 1, 2016. If you are interested in serving as an editor or peer reviewer for CONCEPT for its 2016 issue, please contact co-editor Dr. Sewell (lisa.sewell@villanova.edu) directly.

http://www1.villanova.edu/villanova/artsci/graduate/currentstudents/concept.html

 


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NYU Conference: “Is the Brain Bayesian?” December 4-5, 2015

Is the Brain Bayesian?

Friday, December 4 – Saturday, December 5

Kimmel Center and Jurow Hall, New York University

REGISTER HERE

On December 4-5, the NYU Center for Mind, Brain, and Consciousness will host a conference on “Is the Brain Bayesian?”.

Bayesian theories have attracted enormous attention in the cognitive sciences in recent years. According to these theories, the mind assigns probabilities to hypotheses and updates them according to standard probabilistic rules of inference. Bayesian theories have been applied to the study of perception, learning, memory, reasoning, language, decision making, and many other domains. Bayesian approaches have also become increasingly popular in neuroscience, and a number of potential neurobiological mechanisms have been proposed.

At the same time, Bayesian theories have been controversial, and they raise many foundational questions. Does the brain actually use Bayesian rules? Or are they merely approximate descriptions of behavior? How well can Bayesian theories accommodate apparent irrationality in cognition? Do they require an implausibly uniform view of the mind? Are Bayesian theories near-trivial due to their many degrees of freedom? What are their implications for the relationship between perception, cognition, rationality, and consciousness?

All of these questions and more will be discussed at the conference. The conference will bring together both scientists and philosophers, and both proponents and opponents of Bayesian approaches, to discuss and debate a number of central issues. Speakers and panelists will include:

Jeffrey Bowers (Bristol), David Danks (Carnegie Mellon), Ernest Davis (NYU), Karl Friston (University College London), Weiji Ma (NYU), Larry Maloney (NYU), Eric Mandelbaum (CUNY), Gary Marcus (NYU), John Morrison (Barnard/Columbia), Nicoletta Orlandi (UC Santa Cruz), Michael Rescorla (UC Santa Barbara), Laura Schulz (MIT), Susanna Siegel (Harvard), Eero Simoncelli (NYU), Joshua Tenenbaum (MIT) and others

The conference sessions will run from 9:30am to 6pm on Friday and Saturday December 4-5. Friday sessions will be in Kimmel Center 914 (60 Washington Square South) and Saturday sessions will be in Jurow Hall in the Silver Center (100 Washington Square East). Conference registration and coffee will begin at 9am both days. A full schedule will be circulated closer to the conference date.

Registration is free but required. REGISTER HERE.


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Call for Philosophy Undergraduate Reviewers for STANCE

STANCE, AN INTERNATIONAL UNDERGRADUATE PHILOSOPHY JOURNAL

CALL FOR REVIEWERS

Stance seeks undergraduate philosophy students to serve as external reviewers. This is an exciting pre-professional learning opportunity. Reviewers hone their writing, researching, and reviewing skills by serving on a groundbreaking journal. Reviewers must have advanced undergraduate experience in philosophy, strengths in writing and editing, and the self-motivation necessary to complete work by given deadlines. As such, in addition to this application form, one letter of recommendation is required.

Chosen reviewers will be given one of two opportunities. Most will be External Reviewers and will be responsible for reviewing one or two papers in early January. A few will be selected to serve as Assistant Editorial Board Members on our review teams. Assistant Editorial Board Members will consider approximately 20 papers in December. All reviewers receive training material that explains what is expected in the formal review. Reviewers will also be credited in both the print and electronic versions of the journal.

If you are interested, please provide us with the following information:

Name:

Name of School:

Year in School:

Major(s)/Minor(s):

Philosophy Courses Taken:

What is your specialty or concentration?

What experience do you have that would qualify you for this project?

What goals do you have that working on Stance will support?

What, in your opinion, are the makings of a good philosophy paper?

Students should:

(1) return this application to ballstatestance@gmail.com(include “External Reviewer Application” as the subject heading) and

(2) arrange for a philosophy professor to send a letter of recommendation to ballstatestance@gmail.com(include “LOR” as the subject heading for recommendation letter).

For more information see http://stancephilosophy.com/.

Deadline: October 8, 2015

LETTER OF RECOMMENDATION FOR EXTERNAL REVIEWERS

Stance seeks your help to get better acquainted with an external reviewer applicant. Reviewers must have advanced undergraduate experience in philosophy, strong writing and editing skills, and the self-motivation necessary to meet deadlines. Please speak to the following questions in your letter. Thank you for assisting us in making this important decision.

Name of Student:

How does this student handle deadlines?

Has this student demonstrated a level of writing proficiency such that s/he can develop a useful anonymous review?

Has this student demonstrated the good judgment necessary for writing positive, constructive reviews of peers?

Does this student have sufficient experience in philosophy to provide substantive criticism of undergraduate manuscripts or the self-motivation necessary to conduct independent research to develop enough expertise to provide criticism?

Recommendations should contain “LOR” within the subject heading and be returned directly to us at ballstatestance@gmail.com.

Deadline: October 8, 2015


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[JOB] Vacancy: Coordinator at 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology [U Twente]

JOB VACANCY: Coordinator at 3TU Centre for Ethics and Technology

Faculty/department Department of Philosophy, University of Twente Level PhD degree Maximum employment 32 hours per week (0.84 FTE) Starting Date Dec 1, 2015 Salary scale €3.324 to €4.551 per month (fulltime, scale 11 CAO-NU)

Applications due Sept 16, 2015

About the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology

Science and technology are of paramount social, political and economic importance in the 21st century. They are not only drivers of economic and social developments; they shape our societies, practices and institutions. In order to come to grips with science and technology and to make adequate and appropriate political and policy decisions regarding them, we need to reflect on the ethical aspects of their development, the moral acceptability of their application, and their contribution to the quality of life and well-being. It is now widely recognized that technologies must be developed and used responsibly, as many choices are involved with major implications for health and safety, environmental quality, civil liberties, social justice, and the quality of life.

The 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology (www.ethicsandtechnology.eu<http://www.ethicsandtechnology.eu/>) is a cooperation of the philosophy departments of the three technical universities in the Netherlands (Delft and Eindhoven Universities of Technology and the University of Twente). The bundling of forces in the field of ethics and technology in the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology accommodates the increasing need for balanced, high quality and comprehensive reflection and judgment on moral, political and policy issues associated with science and technology.

The 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology is one of the eight Centres of Excellence of the 3TU.Federation (http://www.3tu.nl/en/). It currently comprises more than sixty researchers. It has a PhD programme with currently 15 PhD students enrolled. The Centre has a Scientific Director, Managing Director and Coordinator, joinly comprising the Daily Board of the Centre, a Management Team, consisting of two representatives of each of the three philosophy departments, and a Board of Deans, consisting of the deans of the respective faculties. The philosophy department of the Universityof Twente is responsible for the daily management of the research centre and houses the Daily Board.

Tasks

Together with the Scientific Director and the Managing Director, the coordinator(who also carries the title Assistant Director) forms the daily board of the Centre.

The primary task of the coordinator is to coordinate the activities of the 3TU.Centre for Ethics and Technology and the Centre’s PhD programme. The coordinator carries out the daily practical management of Centre, and works in close consultation with the Scientific Director and the Managing Director of the Centre. The coordinator is responsible for implementing the policy as outlined by the daily board. This includes the following tasks:

–       Daily management of the Centre, preparing meetings with the Centre’s Management Team and Board; coordination with other Centres of Excellence of the 3TU.Federation; communication with the secretary of the 3TU.Federation.

–       Coordination of the PhD programme, which includes course organization, administration, and evaluation; coordination with other Dutch graduate schools; evaluation of the graduate programme in relation to funding organizations; promotion of the graduate school and recruitment of new PhD students.

–       Organization of 3TU.Ethics events, including the annual research day, workshops, lectures, and conferences.

–       Coordination with international partner institutions in ethics and philosophy (among others, The Oxford Uehiro Centre for Practical Ethics, Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm, The Centre for Applied Philosophy and Public Ethics (CAPPE) in Australia).

–       Promotion of the Centre’s visibility and development and execution of communication plan, which includes website maintenance, promotion of the Centre on electronic mailing lists, developing outreach materials.

–       Finances, which include the administration of budget requests and declarations, support with attracting external money from funding organizations, coordination joint research proposals (KP7, Horizon2020, NWO).

Your office will be located at the University of Twente, where the daily board meetings will also take place. If at any point in the future the directorate of the Centre were to move to one of the other two universities, your office will move there as well.

Your profile

We are looking for an enthusiastic, results-oriented, and proactive colleague. Requirements:

–       PhD in philosophy (or related discipline), with an interest in technology and engineering and ethical aspects of technology. We will also consider outstanding candidates without a PhD.

–       Excellent social and organizational skills, professional disposition, responsible, accurate, independent, and a positive attitude.

–       Ability to communicate effectively in English. Mastery of Dutch is a pro.

–       Managerial experience is a pro.

–       Knowledge of the Dutch university system is a pro

Offer

We offer an appointment for a period of two years, with the possibility of renewal, depending on performance and availability of funds. The preferred starting date is December 1st. The appointment initially offered is for 32 hours a week (0,84fte). Depending on your expertise and interests, we may be able to add to this a 0,1 research or teaching appointment and/or support you in attracting research funding. The gross monthly salary is between € 3.324 and €4.551 (fulltime, scale 11 CAO-NU), and the annual (full-time) salary is between € 46.389 and € 63.513. The University of Twente has excellent terms of employment.

Information and application

Further information about the Centre can be found on the website, www.ethicsandtechnology.eu<http://www.ethicsandtechnology.eu/>. For questions about the vacancy, please contact Prof. dr. Philip Brey, Scientific Director of the Centre (p.a.e.brey@utwente.nl<mailto:p.a.e.brey@utwente.nl>).

Your application, including your CV and a letter of application, should be sent no later than September 16th, 2015. Applications should be uploaded via www.utwente.nl/vacatures/en<http://www.utwente.nl/vacatures/en> (using the button “apply here”). A limited number of suitable candidates will be invited for a job interview (Skype is a possibility). Interviews will take place in the week of September 20th.


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Getting Acquainted with PhilPapers

PhilPapers logo

 

 

Since its creation in 2009, PhilPapers has quietly become a leading research tool for scholars and students in philosophy. In essence it is a research database, and the main competitor for The Philosopher’s Index, but it’s also an open access archive and a discussion forum for the philosophical community. Since absorbing the content from the Philosophy Research Index back in April it also claims to be the largest research database in philosophy, with more than 1.7 million entries from some 4,600 journals. Much of its content is sourced by crawling the sites of journals and open-access archives, as well as member submissions.

PhilPapers grew out of MindPapers, a philosophy of mind bibliography created by David Chalmers in the mid 1990s. Today it is edited by Chalmers and David Bourget, along with an array of area editors, and is operated by the Philosophy Documentation Center and the Center for Digital Philosophy. It has been sponsored by a number of institutes and organizations, including the UK’s Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) and the philosophical profession’s main scholarly society, the APA.

Built with internet-based research in mind, PhilPapers is less clunky and more connected than most databases. The search function is complemented by the ability to browse a finely articulated taxonomy of philosophical topics and areas, each portion of which is curated by scholars with appropriate expertise. Navigating from the general area “History of Western Philosophy” to “Medieval and Renaissance Philosophy,” for instance, one finds a brief overview of the topic along with a list of key works before being presented with a breakdown of further subcategories.

medieval overview

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The PhilPapers platform includes an array of useful features, including the ability to set up content alerts for the topics and subtopics that interest you, as well as specific searches. Users can follow authors, save articles to bibliographies and reading lists, and export citations to citation management tools like Zotero and Mendeley. Other features, like links to an article’s Google Scholar page, or to cheap copies of a book on Amazon, help to integrate common next-steps in the researcher’s workflow.

monitor this page

Available on most pages

Each article record includes a number of download options, including a direct download (if the article is part of PhilPapers’ open access archive), as well as proxied and unproxied links to journals and full text databases. Users who create accounts with PhilPapers can have it store Villanova’s proxy and link resolver information for quick access to content via Falvey Library. Follow these directions to set it up:

Go to Preferences -> Off campus access, and enter this proxy schema:

http://ezproxy.villanova.edu/login?URL=

Under Preferences -> At my library, enter this as your link resolver URL:

http://openurl.villanova.edu:9003/sfx_local

Once that’s set up, you’ll have the option to “Find it @ Villanova University.”

find it at vu

 

 

To learn more about PhilPapers, or if you have questions, please contact the Philosophy Liaison Librarian Nikolaus Fogle (nikolaus.fogle@villanova.edu, 610-519-5182).


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‘History of Distributed Cognition’ Project

  • Posted by: Georg Theiner
  • Posted Date: August 11, 2015
  • Filed Under: Philosophy
  • Tags:

The ‘History of Distributed Cognition’ Project

http://www.hdc.ed.ac.uk/

The History of Distributed Cognition Project marks an intervention in both modern and historical notions of cognition. Recent research in philosophy of mind and cognitive science calls for a reappraisal of historical concepts of cognition due to the increasing evidence that cognition is distributed across brain, body and world. Gathering together scholars from across the globe and from across the humanities HDC sets out to reveal historical expressions of these notions of cognition from classical antiquity to modernism. In turn, this will open new approaches to understanding current definitions and debates.

‘Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?’

‘Where does the mind stop and the rest of the world begin?’ ask philosophers Andy Clark and David Chalmers. Their response might at first seem surprising. They claim that the mind is not brain-bound. They compare solving where to put the piece of a puzzle through: using brain-based mental imagery; physical rotation by the hands; or using an on-screen graphic image. In each case, brain, hands and computer play a similar role in guiding behaviour and therefore, they conclude, should be counted as an integrated part of that cognitive process. Ed Hutchins’ book Cognition in the Wild also makes a case for cognition as embodied and as extended into the material world through equipment and other social agents. Cognitive science more generally is accumulating evidence that we rely on features of the body and the world to supplement and structure our thinking in subtle and complex ways.

But this is not a new question. Humans have always used a variety of ‘mind tools’ to navigate their way through the world. This project will demonstrate the pervasiveness and variety of the expression of notions of distributed cognition from one period to another. One important strand is the history of the humours. Flowing through the vessels of every living organism, the humours were believed to link together brains, bodies and world. It was believed that they shaped physical and cognitive properties and that they were composed of the same four elements of which the world was made. From its origins in ancient Greece, this belief went on to influence medical and philosophical theories until the seventeenth century and beyond. Another important strand in the history of distributed cognition emerges from the Neoplatonic tradition which, drawing on its roots in Socratic ‘midwifery’, compares the offspring of the body, our children, with the offspring of the mind, our ideas, writings and inventions. A third model, which similarly influenced the Christian tradition, was the belief, shared in different ways by Platonists and Stoics, in the extension of psyche through the world as well as the body. Recognition of the social nature of cognition has an equally long history, from the prevalence in everyday Greek thought of dialogic models of mind via the notion of one’s friends as mirrors to one’s soul in Plato’s Alcibiades (and thence via Plutarch to Shakespeare) to Aristotle’s insistence that both self-knowledge and self-love depend on our ability to use the minds of others as a ‘second self’. So while technological innovations are revealing to us now the extent to which cognition is not just all in the head, this project will demonstrate that, just as humans have always relied on bodily and external resources, we have always developed theories, models and metaphors to make sense of the ways in which how we think is dependent on being in the world.

This project brings together scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum in order to track the expression of notions of distributed cognition in a wide range of historical, cultural and literary works from antiquity to the twentieth century. The project will collectively demonstrate the extent to which historical accounts offer us notions of the mind as constituted by brain, body and world. These insights from the humanities will then feed back into philosophy of mind and cognitive science, casting a new light on current definitions and debates.

Miranda Anderson, Douglas Cairns, Mark Sprevak and Mike Wheeler

 

 

 


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Last Modified: August 11, 2015