Edinburgh Research Explorer

Dr Miranda Anderson

(Former employee or visitor)


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, based at St John's College, Oxford, and 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 explores 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. Miranda is looking forward to joining IASH as a Nominated Fellow from March to September 2018.


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 was appointed Regional Director for Scotland of the JSPS Alumni Association in April 2017 and is a participant in Scottish Crucible 2017. She is 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. Miranda has been awarded a Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation Grant for a 2017 lecture tour to Kyoto University, Osaka University and the University of Tokyo.



• 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. Distributed cognition and the humanities

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

  2. 'Multiplicity embarrasses the eye': The digital mapping of literary Edinburgh

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

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Research activities & awards

  1. 'Mind in World: A History of Distributed Cognition'

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  2. 'Mind in World: A History of Distributed Cognition'

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

  3. 'Mind in World: A History of Distributed Cognition'

    Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

View all (50) »

Research projects

  1. History of Distributed Cognition

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

  2. Palimpsest: an Edinburgh Literary Cityscape

    Project: Funded ProjectResearch

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

    Project: Other ProjectResearch Collaboration with external organisation

View all (4) »

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