This page at www.johnsutton.net has been
my website since March 2012, replacing www.phil.mq.edu.au/staff/jsutton,
which I ran since early 2000.
Some internal links may still not be operative - sorry! Please email me if you have any questions
or suggestions. Sorry about all
the green :)
I work in the Department of Cognitive Science (formerly
Macquarie Centre for Cognitive Science), at Macquarie University, Sydney, after some
years in the Philosophy
The Department is lead host to CCD, the ARC Centre of Excellence in Cognition
and its Disorders.
Tel: (61 2) 9850 4132. The easiest way to get in touch is to email me. (I'm not the
LSE economist John Sutton;
nor the philosopher Jonathan
Sutton of Auburn Uni; nor the South Sydney Rabbitohs playmaker John
I'm also a member of CAVE
(Centre for Agency, Values, and Ethics) and CEPET (Centre for Elite Performance,
Expertise, and Training).
covers memory, skill, and distributed cognition, seeking to integrate philosophical,
psychological, and historical ideas and methods, across five broad areas
listed below. A good sample of my
writing covering many of these themes is
'The Feel of the World:
exograms, habits, and the confusion of types of memory',
in Andrew Kania (ed), Memento:
philosophers on film (Routledge, 2009), 65-86.
Or for an intro to memory theory, see my
in the online Stanford Encyclopedia
For a full list of my writings, most with access, go to my
page (also see categorized
papers page). Or you can also visit my Google
Scholar page or my page at
1. The framing theoretical background for my work is distributed cognition in the traditions
of anthropologist Edwin Hutchins
and philosopher Andy
Clark. The central idea is that remembering and
other cognitive processes are sometimes distributed across
brain, body, and world (both social and material). I defend a '2nd-wave'
account based on the complementarity of internal and external resources.
For a taster listen to The
Mind on ABC
Radio's The Philosopher's Zone,
Menary & me (podcast
mp3 here), and the 2012
update with Rob Rupert.
For some of my work on this try 'Exograms and Interdisciplinarity:
history, the extended mind, and the civilizing process',
in Richard Menary (ed), The
Extended Mind (MIT Press, 2010), pp.189-225.
Among other general issues in philosophy of cognitive
science, I'm still hooked on dreams: 'Dreaming',
in P. Calvo and J. Symons (eds), Routledge
Companion to the Philosophy of Psychology (2009),
2. I study links between autobiographical and social memory, and
collaborative cognition more generally, with Amanda
Harris and our team. We build on and adapt empirical research traditions
in cognitive psychology studying collaborative recall
and transactive memory systems, to study what happens when people who know
each other well (long-term couples, friends, colleagues, team-mates)
remember their shared past together. For a taster listen
Together on ABC Radio's All in the Mind
(direct link to podcast).
For some of our work with long-term couples see Harris, Keil,
Barnier, & McIlwain,
Remember, We Forget: collaborative remembering in older couples',
Discourse Processes 48 (4), 2011,
267-303. For links between this empirical research and the philosophical
distributed cognition, see Sutton, Harris, Keil,
& Barnier, 'The Psychology
of Memory, Extended Cognition, and Socially Distributed Remembering',
Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences
9 (4), 2010 521-560.
For more detail and references see our (needing-updated)
page on 'From autobiographical
memory to collective memory: an interdisciplinary study of individual and
I also work in interdisciplinary memory
studies more broadly. I
Studies, issue 6 number 3 now out,
and a book series Palgrave Memory
of View in Personal Memory: a philosophical study of perspective in
remembering and imagining'. Remembering the personal past is a key part of
mental life: but why do we sometimes remember past events
from an external or 'observer' perspective, seeing ourselves
in the remembered scene? How do
visuospatial perspectives relate to emotional and narrative perspectives?
9-11 May 2013*.
4. 'Mindful Bodies in Action, or Applying intelligence
to the reflexes: embodied skill and kinesthetic memory,' with
Doris McIlwain and our team.
Skilled experts in sport or dance perform extraordinary actions in
perfect time, with exquisite control, and display resilient
coping under pressure: their mindful bodies blend cognition and emotion in
action. This project in philosophy of psychology seeks to integrate disconnected
research on skilled movement in a new account of embodied
intelligence. For a taster listen to 'The
Philosophy of Cricket' on ABC Radio's The Philosopher's Zone.
For some of my work on this try
Habit, and Memory: the embodied mind and the nature of skill',
Sport in Society 10 (5), 2007.
We are also working with the ACA (Australian Cricketers' Association)
and Cricket Australia in a
project studying emotional resilience in professional cricketers.
5. 'Distributed cognition and ecologies of skill in early modern England', history
work with Lyn Tribble
from English at Otago, and in a new 5-year project Early Modern Conversions: religions,
cultures, cognitive ecologies
with Paul Yachnin (McGill)
and a wonderful international and interdisciplinary team.
I used to work in more mainstream history of philosophy,
science, and ideas. My book Philosophy
and Memory Traces: Descartes to connectionism (1998),
permeated by the old fleeting animal spirits, is
out in paperback:
see here for
more details and access; essays on Descartes'
Natural Philosophy which I edited with Stephen Gaukroger
and John Schuster was published in 2000. Now with Lyn Tribble I try to study
the history of
cognitive practices and activities as well as the history
of ideas about the mind. For the cognitive theory behind this work see Tribble
& Sutton, 'Cognitive
Ecology as a Framework for Shakespearean Studies',
Shakespeare Studies 39 (2011), 94-103; for a more
literary treatment see Tribble & Sutton, 'Minds
in and out of time: memory, embodied skill, anachronism, and performance',
Textual Practice 26 (4), 2012, 587-607.
I am always interested
in hearing from potential PhD or Masters students wanting to work on any
of these topics. At present I am primary supervisor for 5
PhD students in Cognitive Science, and active associate supervisor
for 3 PhD students in Cognitive Science, and for PhD students
in Philosophy (2), Psychology (2), & Ancient History,
most working roughly on topics relating to memory or movement. I've been primary
10 completed PhDs & 6 completed research
Masters. Here's info on all my current
and past graduate students and details
of the topics I've supervised. I also supervise Honours theses in both
Philosophy and Psychology.
Here is * ASCS09:
Proceedings of the 9th Conference
the Australasian Society for Cognitive
Some favourite blogs: Greg & team on Neuroanthropology
(now on PLoS blogs, and better than ever!!); Rob & What Sorts of People
Should There Be?; Art Politics Philosophy
Science at New Apps Blog;
Ken at the Bounds of Cognition;
the Cognition & Culture
Institute at the IJN; Mark Rowlands; Lucas Bietti's
Collective Memory Project;
Eric at The Splintered Mind;
of Brains; Philosophy
of Sport; Mixing Memory;
Samir at samirchopra.com/; Lisa and
team at the Epistemic Innocence
I'm on the editorial board of Palgrave's New Directions in Philosophy
and Cognitive Science, and the journals Philosophical
Scan: journal of media
arts culture; Fibreculture Journal.
Ghost in the Machine,
a show about minds, bodies, machines, and memory, was on Eastside Radio 89.7FM in Sydney, until
our last show on Thursday 27 January 2005.
Instead listen to All in the Mind
and The Philosopher's Zone
on ABC Radio National.
Here is the mighty Macquarie University Cricket Club. Also check out Samir Chopra's regular blog
for Cricinfo, The
MACCS (Macquarie Centre
for Cognitive Science), (room C5C 423)
Tel. (61) 2 9850 4132
Or just email me.
Last updated 28 November 2013.