Interdisciplinary Symposium | The Art of the Extended Mind

1 - 5.45pm

Marcus Coates, 'The Extended Mind' @ Talbot Rice Gallery
Marcus Coates, ‘Extinct Animals’, 2018, Plaster of Paris, cast from the artist’s hands. Installation view, ‘The Extended Mind’, 2019. Image courtesy Talbot Rice Gallery, The University of Edinburgh

To mark the end of The Extended Mind, this symposium will bring leading philosophers together with artists from the exhibition. Across a series of short talks and discussions it will explore the idea that our thinking routinely takes place in systems that not only include the brain, but also the non-neural body and elements from the wider physical, technological and social environment. Promoting an interdisciplinary exchange, thinkers who have contributed to the intellectual debate over the extended mind will revisit the idea in light of the artworks; whilst artists Marcus Coates and Myriam Lefkowitz will reflect on the extended mind in relation to their own practices.

The symposium is followed by a closing public lecture by Prof Andy Clark, one of the first and most internationally prominent thinkers to articulate and defend the idea of the extended mind (click here to find out more and book).

The events on 31 January have received financial support from the University of Stirling, University of Edinburgh (School of Philosophy, Psychology and Language Sciences), Edinburgh University Press and the Scots Philosophical Association. Professor Andy Clark’s public lecture is sponsored by the Royal Institute of Philosophy. We gratefully acknowledge all this support.  

Admission Free
Click to book



1-2pm: Jesse Prinz (Professor of Philosophy, City University of New York)

2-2.40pm: Marcus Coates (Artist based in London)

2.40-3.20pm: Miranda Anderson (Anniversary Fellow in Philosophy and Literature, University of Stirling)

3.20-3.40pm: Tea and Coffee

3.40-4.20pm: Michael Wheeler (Professor of Philosophy, University of Stirling)

4.20-5pm: Myriam Lefkowitz (Artist based in Paris)

5-5.40pm: Giovanna Colombetti (Professor of Philosophy, University of Exeter)


From 5.40pm until 6.30pm Talbot Rice Gallery will be open, and gallery staff will be on hand to introduce the artworks. 


6.30pm: Public Lecture: ‘Cyborg Minds in Designer Worlds’ by Andy Clark

Separate booking required. Click here for more information and booking.



For questions about the content of the symposium please contact one of the organisers, Miranda Anderson ( or Michael Wheeler (



Jesse Prinz is Distinguished Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Committee for Interdisciplinary Science Studies at the City University of New York Graduate Center. He works primarily in the philosophy of psychology, with an emphasis on the role of perception, emotion, and socialization of various aspects of thought and behaviour. His current research interests include the nature of art. His many publications include The Emotional Construction of Morals (Oxford University Press, 2007), Gut Reactions: A Perceptual Theory of Emotion (Oxford University Press, 2004) and Furnishing the Mind: Concepts and Their Perceptual Basis (MIT Press, 2002).

Marcus Coates is an artist based in London. His practice explores the capacity of the imagination to find solutions to real-world problems and has seen him employ various techniques to access his unconscious reasoning. His works included inThe Extended Mind explore our ability to conjure up Extinct Animals and, in The Trip, question the role artists can play in extending other people’s experiences. Select shows and performances include: The Last of Its Kind, Workplace Gallery, 2018; The Sounds of Others, Innsbruck Biennale, Austria, 2018; Marcus Coates: Sound Reasoning, Mining Institute, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2017; Modern Visionaries, Laing Gallery, Newcastle upon Tyne, 2017; You Might As Well Ask A Crow, Workplace Gallery, 2016; Arrivals/Departures, 16 performances across 12 months, Utrecht, NL, 2016; Making Nature, Wellcome Collection, London, 2016; Marcus Coates, Kate MacGarry, London, 2015; The Sounds of Others: A Biophonic Line, Manchester Museum of Science and Industry, 2014.

Miranda Anderson is an Anniversary Fellow in Philosophy and Literature at the University of Stirling and an Honorary Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Her research explores ideas of the mind across the arts and sciences. She is principal investigator of the Art of Distributed Cognition project and curated the Extended Mind exhibition with Tessa Giblin and James Clegg. Her book, The Renaissance Extended Mind (Palgrave, 2015) explores parallels between Renaissance and current ideas that the mind extends across brain, body and world. She is co-editor on all 4 volumes of the History of Distributed Cognition series (EUP, 2018-20), which examine ideas and practices of distributed cognition between classical antiquity and modernism.

Michael Wheeler is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Stirling. He works primarily in philosophy of science (especially cognitive science, psychology, biology and artificial intelligence) and philosophy of mind. His book, Reconstructing the Cognitive World: the Next Step, was published by MIT Press in 2005. He has published widely on the subtle and complex ways in which human beings intimately couple with technology to transform, enhance, and sometimes impede, cognitive performance, and has recently focused on the ways in which artistic creativity often takes place in such world-entangled systems. 

Myriam Lefkowitz is an artist and choreographer based in Paris. Her work explores embodiment through performative pieces, Walk, Hands, Eyes (Edinburgh) providing audiences visiting The Extended Mind an opportunity to have a personal guided of tour of the city with their eyes closed, co-authoring a unique sensory tour. Lefkowitz’ work has been presented at, Situations, Bristol, 2017; Public Art Agency, Stockholm, 2016; oO, The Lithuanian & Cypriot Pavilion, 55th International Art Exhibition, Venice Biennial, 2013; The Center for Contemporary Art, Vilnius, 2013. In 2011 she took part in the master of experimentation in Art and Politics, SPEAP, Science Po Paris, founded by Bruno Latour.

Giovanna Colombetti is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Exeter. A philosopher of cognitive science, she draws liberally on phenomenology, analytic philosophy, psychology and neuroscience. Her research has focused largely on embodied affectivity and more recently on the contribution that the social sciences and the field of material culture studies can make to our understanding of affectivity, in the context of philosophical debates over the extended mind. Her book, The Feeling Body: Affective Science Meets the Enactive Mind was published by MIT Press in 2014.



The Extended Mind exhibition is funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council under the broader project heading, The Art of Distributed Cognition (2019-20). The core academic team is Miranda Anderson (Philosophy and Literature, Stirling), Douglas Cairns (Classics, Edinburgh), Mark Sprevak (Philosophy, Edinburgh) and Michael Wheeler (Philosophy, Stirling), working alongside colleagues at the Talbot Rice Gallery, especially James Clegg and Tessa Giblin. An associated off-site performance piece by Myriam Lefkowitz, entitled Walk, Hands, Eyes (Edinburgh), is supported by Creative Scotland. The Art of Distributed Cognition builds on a prior AHRC-funded project, A History of Distributed Cognition ( 

Playfair Library
University of Edinburgh
Old College, South Bridge, Edinburgh EH8 9YL