John Sutton

Emeritus Professor John Sutton

  • Post Nominals: FAHA
  • Fellow Type: Fellow
  • Elected to the Academy: 2015
  • Section(s): Philosophy And History Of Ideas


Sutton is an internationally renowned philosopher and cognitive scientist, and a leading expert on human memory, particularly collective memory. His work has built new and important connections between cognitive science, philosophy, psychology, sports science and the social sciences, and he has uniquely integrated these different disciplinary approaches to his ground-breaking studies of collective memory.
John Sutton is Professor and Deputy Head of the Department of Cognitive Science at Macquarie University, after many years in the Department of Philosophy. Born in Scotland, he has lived in Sydney since 1988. He has had visiting fellowships at UCLA, Warwick, Edinburgh, UCSD, and (for 2016) King’s College London. After a first degree in Classics, his PhD in Philosophy sought to integrate historical, cognitive, and philosophical approaches to memory, with a particular focus on seventeenth-century natural philosophy. Developing a framework for studying mind and cognition as distributed across brains, bodies, and the social and material world, much of his recent research addresses social and collaborative remembering, and the microprocesses of talking about the past in couples and small groups. This work extends to empirical studies in cognitive and developmental psychology, drawing on social and cognitive scientific methods as well as philosophy. His other main current work addresses embodied skill, particularly among expert performers in sport and music. He also studies dreaming; perspective in autobiographical memory; and a range of approaches to cognitive history.

Acknowledgement of Country

The Australian Academy of the Humanities recognises Australia’s First Nations Peoples as the traditional owners and custodians of this land, and their continuous connection to country, community and culture.