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16.11.2022   kl. 11:15 - 12:15

Mental processes are not only in your head but interlaced with the world around you: Interdependence and vulnerability in the cognitive sciences

Guest Lecture at DIAS with Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science, John Sutton, Australia.

Abstract: Theorists of situated or distributed cognition claim that mental processes – remembering, feeling, wondering, and so on – are not all only in the head. We are dependent and interdependent creatures – not just in childhood, illness, and old age, but by nature.
We rely cognitively and emotionally, as well as economically and politically, on the complex and interacting ecologies in which we are embedded: on other people, on artifacts and technologies, on institutions and practices, and on architecture, familiar and sustaining places, on the earth. It’s partly because our minds are thus relational or meshing that we are vulnerable creatures: removing, disrupting, depleting, or threatening the people, places, and resources we depend on is mental and affective violence as well as moral and ideological damage. I pursue this theme by examining relations between place, memory, and skill, in both critical and constructive discussions of how theories of mind have influenced cultural and political practices, and how they might do so differently in the future.

John Sutton is a cognitive philosopher, working on memory and skill. He is Emeritus Professor of Philosophy and Cognitive Science at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and a Fellow at Paris’ Institute for Advanced Study. Read more about him here: and here:

This Lecture is part of the DIAS Minds Group, that brings together scholars engaged in the study of mind, cognition, and behaviour. The DIAS Minds Group is a transdisciplinary research group based at the Danish Institute for Advanced Study (DIAS). It brings together scholars engaged in the study of mind, cognition, and behaviour, both as a general scholarly endeavour and as the study of mindful behaviour in different social practices (e.g., in sports, health, performing arts, organisations, the market, urban environments).

The Lecture takes place in the DIAS auditorium and is open for everyone - Fioniavej 34 (Odense Campus)