New Major AHRC Project "A History of Distributed Cognition" (2014-2018)

"Neither the bare hand nor the unaided intellect has much power; the work is done by tools and assistance, and the intellect needs them as much as the hand."

Francis Bacon, The New Organon, 1620

  • What can the recent insights of cognitive science on the distributed nature of cognitive systems bring to our reading of Western European texts in the fields of history of ideas, history of science and medicine, material culture and literary studies? 
  • How do such models stimulate a re-evaluation of what is understood to constitute cognition in the explicit and implicit conceptual models in use between classical antiquity and the mid-twentieth century?
  • How do the various notions of distributed cognition interrelate within their own period and across historical periods? 
  • What sociocultural and environmental contexts lead to the manifestation, within a particular historical period, of particular forms of these paradigms or to their suppression? 
  • How can recent work in cognitive science be informed by an understanding of historically situated models of distributed cognition?