Mind and Knowledge

The Mind and Knowledge research cluster is one of the three clusters of research strength in the Stirling Philosophy Unit. As such, it functions as a focus for research activity in the unit, including publications, conferences and workshops, research grants, and a wide range of interdisciplinary, impact and public engagement activities. It provides one route by which the unit contributes to the University-wide research theme of Cultures, Communities and Society.

Developing organically from its members’ work, the cluster is the source of recent and ongoing projects in extended cognition and AI, the epistemology of modal claims and risk, formal epistemology, perceptual knowledge, rationality, self-consciousness and a priori knowledge.

Recent collaborative projects include:

  • Agency, Rationality, and Epistemic Defeat, UKRI Future Leader Fellowship (2021-25), in collaboration with Stirling Psychology and Vienna University of Veterinary Medicine. This project will investigate the nature of rational belief-revision, the relationship between human and animal rationality, and whether animals and human infants may be capable of some form of reflective thinking. [Also part of the Logic and Language cluster]
  • Varieties of Risk, AHRC-funded project (2020-23), in collaboration with Edinburgh Philosophy and project partners Glenmore Lodge (Scottish Outdoor Training Centre) and the Scottish Avalanche Information Service. This project brings together researchers in philosophy, economics, and psychology to discuss the prospects of a form of risk pluralism. [Also part of the Logic and Language cluster]
  • The Art of Distributed Cognition, AHRC follow-on grant (2019-20) following on from the prior History of Distributed Cognition project (AHRC 2014-18), in collaboration with Edinburgh Classics, Edinburgh Philosophy, and Edinburgh’s Talbot Rice Gallery. Co-created The Extended Mind exhibition which featured 12 international artists, attracted 3500 visitors, and delivered exhibition workshops with primary schoolchildren, trainee psychotherapists, the Ragged University, people affected by homelessness, and maximum security prisoners at HMP Shotts.
  • The Mind in Your Pocket (Technologies of the Extended Mind) Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada Insight Grant (2018-22), in collaboration with the University of British Columbia, Fordham University New York, University of Colorado and the University of Twente. Bringing together philosophy and neuroscience, and affiliated with the Neuroethics Collective, this project investigates the neuro-ethical implications of the technologically extended mind. [Also part of the Legal, Moral and Political Philosophy cluster]
  • Knowledge Beyond Natural Science, funded by the John Templeton Foundation (2017-19), in collaboration with the University of British Columbia. This project conducted parallel investigations into the nature and role of self-knowledge and the a priori, evaluating the challenge they pose to naturalistic models of ourselves and our cognitive lives. Among other public-facing activities, this project delivered a series of Cafés Philosophiques at Blackwell’s Bookshop, Edinburgh. [Also part of the Logic and Language cluster]

In addition, the cluster has attracted a number of recent awards supporting individual research projects, including The Two Sides of Self-Consciousness (Humboldt Fellowship for Experienced Researchers, 2017-19) and Towards a Non-Uniform Epistemology of Modality (AHRC Leadership Research Fellowship, 2015). It has also supported the research of three University of Stirling interdisciplinary post-doctoral Anniversary Fellows co-affiliated with Computing Science, Literature, and Psychology.

PhD graduates supervised within the cluster have worked on a wide range of topics in recent years, including brain death and personal identity, embodied social cognition, the explanatory connection between action and desire, phenomenology and the minimal self, predictive processing, scepticism, and sensorimotor enactivism. Recent research students from this cluster have gone on to academic posts at the Universities of Cambridge, Campinas and Tartu, and the French National Centre for Scientific Research.

Related outputs

Ebert PA, Smith M & Durbach I (2019) Varieties of Risk. Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. https://doi.org/10.1111/phpr.12598

Haddock A (2019) Disjunctivism, Skepticism, and the First Person. In: Doyle C, Milburn J & Pritchard D (eds.) New Issues in Epistemological Disjunctivism. Routledge Studies in Epistemology. Abingdon: Routledge. https://www.routledge.com/New-Issues-in-Epistemological-Disjunctivism-1st-Edition/Doyle-Milburn-Pritchard/p/book/9781138094093

Mandrigin A (2019) The where of bodily awareness. Synthese. https://doi.org/10.1007/s11229-019-02171-3

Millar A (2019) Knowing By Perceiving. Oxford: Oxford University Press. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/knowing-by-perceiving-9780198755692/

Roca-Royes S (2019) Concepts and the Epistemology of Essence. Dialectica, 73 (1-2), pp. 3-29. https://doi.org/10.1111/1746-8361.12266

Wheeler M (2019) The Reappearing Tool: Transparency, Smart Technology, and the Extended Mind. AI and Society, 34 (4), pp. 857-866. https://doi.org/10.1007/s00146-018-0824-x

Wright C (2019) "How did the serpent of inconsistency enter Frege's paradise?". In: Ebert PA & Rossberg M (eds.) Essays on Frege's Basic Laws of Arithmetic. Oxford UK: Oxford University Press, pp. 411-436. https://global.oup.com/academic/product/essays-on-freges-basic-laws-of-arithmetic-9780198712084?prevNumResPerPage=60&lang=en&cc=gb#

Milne P (2018) Assertion, Inference and the Conditional. In: Beran O, Kolman V & Koren L (eds.) From Rules to Meanings: New Essays on Inferentialism. Abingdon: Routledge, pp. 219 - 235.

Niker F, Reiner PB & Felsen G (2018) Updating our Selves: Synthesizing Philosophical and Neurobiological Perspectives on Incorporating New Information into our Worldview. Neuroethics, 11 (3), pp. 273-282. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12152-015-9246-3