Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Miranda Anderson

Research Fellow


Dr Miranda Anderson completed her MSc and PhD in English Literature at the University of Edinburgh, after several years travelling and working in Europe and Asia, following on from her BA (Hons) in History at University College London. Her travel abroad has included several years in Japan, first as a Monbukagakusho research scholar, supported by the Japanese Embassy in London, and later as a fellow of the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science (JSPS). She was awarded an Early Career Fellowship by the Leverhulme Trust in order to pursue work on a book, The Renaissance Extended Mind, which explores parallels (and contrasts) between recent philosophical theories on the embodied and extended mind and analogous ideas in literary, philosophical, and scientific texts circulating between the fifteenth and early-seventeenth century. She is affiliated with the Mind and Cognition group in the Philosophy department at the University of Edinburgh.

She was an associate researcher on The Balzan Project - St John's College, Oxford, which was directed by Prof. Terence Cave. This interdisciplinary project explored the topic of ‘Literature as an Object of Knowledge’ and focused on cognitive approaches to literary studies. 

Miranda initiated and was a co-investigator on the pilot project 'A History of Distributed Cognition' which was based at Eidyn: The Edinburgh Centre for Mind, Epistemology and Normativity. She is now a Research Fellow on the full scale-research project, A History of Distributed Cognition. The project will explore the expression and suppression of the paradigm of distributed cognition from classical antiquity to the mid-twentieth century. She is also currently working on a related book entitled Figuring the Mind.

Research Interests

Miranda combines specialization in Medieval and Renaissance literary, philosophical, and scientific texts, with a broader interest in investigating paradigms of the human mind and self across disciplinary and historical spans, along with related ethical issues. She edited an interdisciplinary book on the history of the mirror as an object and as an image in art and texts, The Book of the Mirror. She has also published several papers on her research in Japan with Prof Hiroshi Ishiguro; these explore the implications of robotics for understandings of human nature. More generally, her recent publications examine relations between research in philosophy of mind and cognitive science and in the arts and humanities, and considers the ways in which these disciplines can inform each other. She is also interested in how the digital humanities can contribute to our reading of literary texts, particularly in terms of assessing the attribution of aesthetic qualities.

Research activity

Miranda was the initiator of Palimpsest as a prototype and of the AHRC-funded project on which she then became a Research Fellow. Palimpsest enables users to access fictional and historical texts set in Edinburgh either via the webpage or via their mobile while exploring the city. The outcome of this project, now renamed Lit Long, can be found here: http://litlong.org/ . The project was awarded runner-up British Library Labs 2015 Award for Research.

Miranda is a recipient with Dr Ruth Goodridge and Dr Kinjiro Amano of the 2016 JSPS London JBUK Collaboration Prize. She is also a collaborator on the Royal Society of Edinburgh funded project: The Cognitive Experience of Verbal versus Screen-based Narrative and the Potential Role of the Episodic Memory System. She is a participant in Scottish Crucible 2017.



• Mind, Subjectivity and Literature

• Critical Practice: Performance

• Dissertation Supervision

• Shakespeare’s Comedies: Identity and Illusion

• Shakespeare: Modes and Genres

• MSc in Design and Digital Media

Research outputs

  1. Immersion and defamiliarization: Experiencing literature and world

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  2. The Extended and Predictive Mind in Shakespeare

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)

  3. Thinking with things: considering the role of museums in human cognition

    Research output: Non-textual formWeb publication/site

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Research activities & awards

  1. Thinking with Things: School Workshops

    Activity: Public engagement and outreachSchools engagement

  2. 'Thinking Bodies: Why Look Back', Thinking with Bodies in Ancient Greece and Rome: Coimbra-Edinburgh Workshop

    Activity: Participation in conference, seminar or training courseParticipation in workshop, seminar, course

View all (34) »

Research projects

  1. Palimpsest: an Edinburgh Literary Cityscape

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

  2. History of Distributed Cognition

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

  3. The Balzan Project - St John's College, Oxford University

    Project: Other ProjectResearch Collaboration with external organisation

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ID: 175999