Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg

Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg

“Don’t play the music, let the music play you.”

Sonny Rollins, jazz saxophonist, (1930 – )

Saturday morning, Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg, Research Associate with The New Centre for Research and Practice, speaks on “Between Memory and Creativity: The Neuroscience of Time Cognition During Jazz Improvisation.”  


In 1990 Dr. Rosenberg earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of Michigan with his dissertation “Being and Becoming: Physics, Hegemony, Art and the Nomad in the Works of Ezra Pound, Marcel Duchamp, Samuel Beckett, John Cage and Thomas Pynchon.”  This was a first look at the cultural work of the distinction between time-reversible and time-irreversible models from the philosophy of science in aesthetics and political philosophy, and across the arts.  


Dr. Rosenberg has taught as a graduate assistant at the University of Michigan, a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University, visiting Assistant Professorships at the University of Kentucky and Texas A&M University, before taking tenure-track jobs, first at Eastern Kentucky University, and then at Kettering University.  

Since 2002, he has been an independent scholar in Pittsburgh, where his wife Elizabeth Mazur has tenure at Penn State University–Greater Allegheny.  He remains active, recently holding a fellowship in Art and Cognition through The Center For Transformative Media, Parsons–The New School of Design (2013-14); serving as Graduate Faculty at the Global Center for Advanced Studies, 2014-15, where he team-taught a colloquia on philosophy, politics and the future of democracy with Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri, among others; and joining The New Centre For Research and Practice in 2015, where he gave a seminar on the aesthetic and political implications of the processes of cognition during jazz improvisation, and plans to offer in the future courses on philosophy and aesthetics, as well as on theories of metaphor.


Dr. Rosenberg researches Science, Technology and Culture, focusing mainly on the cultural history of the scientific concept of “emergence” or “self-organization.”  Early on, he addressed the Nobel work of Ilya Prigogine in chemistry and physics, interviewing him on several occasions; as well as on the neurobiology, cybernetics and cognitive science  of Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, as well as the anthropology and cognitive science of Edwin Hutchins.  

He has used this research to focus especially on  concepts from physics and cognitive science applied to the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and on the role that the concept of “emergence” has played in the polemics and work of artists since the turn of the 20th Century: Poincaré, Bergson, Duchamp and the Emergence of Emergence; Ezra Pound, the aesthetics of Fascism and the scapegoat; the relationships among Duchamp, Beckett and Cage with respect to chess, and “chance”; the novels of Thomas Pynchon; a groundbreaking essay on contending tropes of thermodynamics in Freud and in Deleuze and Guattari (1993); as well as the first academic article on the cultural implications of the new paradigm of embodied cognition, for the modernist avant-garde artist Duchamp, and the postmodern novelist Pynchon “Portals in Duchamp and Pynchon” (1994).  

Current research interests involve comparing theories of emergence in cognitive science in terms of natural and artificial intelligence, as well as examining the possible relationship between embodied and distributed cognition through research on parallel processing computers, jazz improvisation, cinema and the architecture of Arakawa and Gins.

As a theorist interested in the problem of rigor in trans-disciplinary inquiry, he has also written several articles on the relationship of metaphors (tropes generally) and epistemology, and on the cultural work or agency of metaphors, in science, technology and philosophy.  Several of his publications have been translated into other languages (Spanish and Portuguese).


In addition to publishing over two dozen articles, some of Dr. Rosenberg’s research on jazz and emergence was published in the journal Inflexions, Vol. 4, November, 2010, as “Jazz and Emergence–Part One: From Calculus to Cage, and from Charlie Parker to Ornette Coleman: Complexity and the Aesthetics and Politics of Emergent Form in Jazz.”  This 94 page essay explores the history of jazz from Be-Bop composing practices of the 1940’s to the development of Free Jazz in the 1960’s in terms of the concepts of “complexity” and “emergence” in physics and cognitive science.  His current research on jazz addresses both embodied and distributed cognition more directly and will result in a book-length study entitled Jazz and Emergence

Dr. Rosenberg has given a number of invited lectures and conference plenaries internationally, including:

  • Universidade de Sao Paolo (1999 and 2000)
  • University of Bergen, Norway (1998)
  • Trent University Ontario CA, (2005)
  • University of Cologne, Germany (2009)
  • University of Warwick, GB (1994)
  • Free University of Brussels–Flemish (2000)
  • The Sense Lab, Concordia University, Montreal (2010)
  • Harvard University (1999)
  • Art Institute of Chicago: E. Kac’s Biology and Art Seminar (1999)
  • Texas Tech University (1998 and 2001)
  • Center for Nano-Technology and Society and the NSF, ASU (2006)
  • Arlington Arts Center DC (2010)
  • The Slought Foundation, U. Pennsylvania (2008)
  • In March 2010, Rosenberg served as Conference Co-Director for AG3Online: The Third International Arakawa and Gins Architecture and Philosophy Conference, with concluding celebrations on March 12-26, 2010 at Barnard College/Columbia U., (April 30th), which he was master of ceremonies, and the Solomon Guggenheim Museum (May 1), where he gave the inaugural keynote. This was the first completely digital global academic conference, with over 450 participants on six continents. Dr. Rosenberg also contributed three papers, one on embodied cognition; one on metaphor; and one comparing Marcel Duchamp and Arakawa and Gins, in terms of how their works and writings reflect paradigm shifts within physics, and within cognitive science.

    He has also offered a number of talks and lectures recently on his current research on jazz and cognition:

    • “Jazz Improvisation and the Architectural Theories of Arakawa and Gins: Towards a Theory of Projective Apprehension.”  Third International Conference on Gilles Deleuze, Amsterdam, July 12-14, 2010.
    • “Jazz Improvisation and Collective Intelligence: From Embodied to Distributed Cognition.”  SEP-PEP (Society for European Philosophy) Conference, Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, UK, Sept 4-7, 2012.
    • “What Does Ergonomics Have to Do With Guitar Design: Fretboard Cognition between Embodiment and Collective Intelligence.”  Invited Lecture: The Center For Transformative Media, Parsons-The New School of Design, Dec. 2, 2013.
    • “From Projective Apprehension to Proprio-Sentience: Embodied AND Distributed Cognition During Jazz Improvisation.”  University of Utrecht, Society for European Philosophy, September 4, 2014.
    • “A Workshop On Top-Down and Bottom-Up Processes of Cognition During Jazz Improvisation in Light of Recent Work on Cognitive Capitalism.”  The New Centre For Research and Practice, April 4, 2015: online video lecture.
    • “From Projective Apprehension to Proprio-Sentience: Top-Down and Bottom-Up Embodied Cognitive Processes Involved in Jazz Improvisation.”  University of Chicago, The Second Biennial Performance Philosophy Conference, April 10, 2015.


    Originally trained in classical composition and jazz arranging and performance at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Dr. Rosenberg has authored over thirty jazz compositions, and, despite having quit for thirty years, once again performs several times a week in Pittsburgh.  He is currently recording his first album since returning to music, an album of guitar duets of classic standards with Pittsburgh great Eric Susoeff, including Susoeff’s arrangement of “Joy Spring,” Bill Evans and Toots Thieleman’s arrangement of “Days of Wine and Roses,” and original arrangements of “Alone Together,” “Dolphin Dance,” a BeBop version 0f “My Funny Valentine,” Horace Silver’s “Nica’s Dream,” and ECM gems “Falling Grace” and “Memories of Tomorrow,” with others yet to be recorded.

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