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Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture$
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Miranda Anderson and Michael Wheeler

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9781474438131

Published to Edinburgh Scholarship Online: May 2021

DOI: 10.3366/edinburgh/9781474438131.001.0001

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Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Studies

(p.18) 2 Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Studies
Distributed Cognition in Medieval and Renaissance Culture

Miranda Anderson

Edinburgh University Press

The purpose of this chapter is to provide a background to current research in medieval and Renaissance studies on topics related to distributed cognition and to consider how the various chapters in this volume represent, reflect and advance work in this area. The volume brings together 14 chapters by international specialists working in the period between the ninth and the seventeenth century in the fields of law, history, drama, literature, art, music, philosophy, science and medicine. The chapters revitalise our reading of medieval and Renaissance works by bringing to bear recent insights in cognitive science and philosophy of mind on the distributed nature of cognition. Together the chapters make evident the ways in which particular notions and practices of distributed cognition emerged from the particular range of sociocultural and technological contexts that existed during this period. This chapter attempts to put these contributions in their wider research context by examining how such topics have been approached by mainstream scholarship, earlier work in the cognitive sciences and by existing applications of distributed cognition theory. It draws out both more general features of distributed cognition and what was distinctive about medieval and Renaissance insights into (and superstitions about) the cognitive roles of the body and environment. Throughout this chapter, I reference the chapters in this volume that provide further information on topics covered or take forward the issues in question. In the concluding section, I turn to a fuller overview of the chapters themselves

Keywords:   distributed cognition, extended cognition, enactivism, embodied cognition, Medieval, Renaissance, cognitive humanities

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