Dr Miranda Anderson

Anniversary Fellow
University of Stirling

After completing a BA in History at UCL and working in Europe and Asia, Miranda completed an MSc, PhD and several fellowships at the University of Edinburgh. She is now an Anniversary Fellow in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Stirling and an Honorary Fellow of the University of Edinburgh. She believes in the mind-expanding value of engagement with the arts and humanities. Her research focuses on cognitive approaches to literature and culture. The Leverhulme Trust funded research on her book The Renaissance Extended Mind (2015) which drew on notions of the mind as extended across brain, body and world in current philosophy of mind and cognitive science in order to reappraise cognitive practices and notions of the mind in Renaissance literary, philosophical and scientific works. This monograph argues for the value of working across the arts and humanities and the sciences, by demonstrating how culture shapes aspects of the mind jointly with biology. This research led to the AHRC-funded History of Distributed Cognition project whose four edited volumes examine the practices and expression of ideas of cognition as distributed across brain, body and world between classical antiquity and the mid twentieth century (EUP 2018-20). Miranda then led the AHRC-funded Art of Distributed Cognition project, which centred around a contemporary art exhibition, The Extended Mind (2019-20), which involved 13 leading international artists, and a partnership with Talbot Rice Gallery, in order to demonstrate how distributed cognition provides new ways to understand the creation and experience of different art styles.
A major strand in her main research area, distributed cognition, is ‘Enactivism’. Enactivism combines biological and phenomenological research – it describes cognition as a sense-making process, which is evident in even basic life forms, and emphasises continuity across the properties of life and mind. She would like to advance interdisciplinary collaborations on this topic. Another area she would be interested in collaborating on regards different forms of communication for conveying information about the life sciences, such as narrative, images and data, and their capacities to impact the public imagination.