Distributed Cognition in Classical Antiquity ed. by Miranda Anderson, Douglas Cairns, and Mark Sprevak (review)


Patrick Colm Hogan announced in 2002 that “cognitivist methods, topics, and principles have come to dominate what are arguably the most intellectually exciting academic fields today” (1). Today, what dominates those “cognitivist methods, topics, and principles” is likely to be Distributed Cognition. The term was initially addressed by Edwin Hutchin in Cognition in the Wild (1995) and currently has been developed to encompass an intertwined group of theories including embodied cognition, embedded cognition, extended cognition, and enactive cognition (together also called “4E Cognition”). The distributed views of cognition generally hold that mind is “spread out over the brain, the non-neural body and an environment consisting of objects, tools other artefacts, texts, individuals, groups and/or social/institutional structures” (Hutchin 2). Over the past two decades, the notion has become a key tenet of cognitive studies in the humanities and has been practiced by an ever-increasing number of scholars such as Karin Kukkonen, who applies theories of distributed cognition to literature in 4E Cognition and Eighteenth-Century Fiction: How the Novel Found Its Feet (2019). In spite of that, there is so far no work comparable to The Edinburgh History of Distributed Cognition series, ambitiously edited by Miranda Anderson and Douglas Cairns, who solicit “scholars from across the disciplinary spectrum to track the notions of distributed cognition in a wide range of historical, cultural and literary contexts from antiquity through to the twentieth century.”

Read Article On Muse