Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg

Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg

“Don’t play the music, let the music play you.”
Sonny Rollins (b. 1930), jazz saxophonist

At JPIC 2017, Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg, Research Associate with The New Centre for Research and Practice, spoke on “Between Between Memory and Creativity: The Neuroscience of Time Cognition in Jazz Improvisation”

For JPIC 2019 Dr. Rosenberg investigates the question “Is It Possible To Be Both Embodied and Distributed at the Same Time?: Critiquing the Extended Mind Thesis through the Neuroscience of Jazz Improvisation.”

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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.  

Martin E. Rosenberg's education



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 The New Centre for Research and Practice joining 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 was co-organiser of AG3-Online, and specializes in the cultural implications of science and technology. He has focused mainly on the history of “emergence” in science, philosophy and the arts: Poincare, Bergson and Duchamp; Pound, and the epistemological foundations of fascism in reversible models of time; the novels of Thomas Pynchon, the Nobel work of Ilya Prigogine in chemistry and physics, as well as the cognitive science of Humberto Maturana, Francisco Varela and Edwin Hutchins, and the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze. He has authored numerous articles on Deleuze.


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).  

His current research involves the relationship between theories of emergence in cognitive science, and the possible link between embodied and distributed cognition, through research on parallel processing with computers, jazz improvisation, cinema and the architecture of Arakawa and Gins. He has had a sideline in theories of hypermedia design, especially the role of metaphors in the design and implementation of information systems. He has written on physics and hypertext, on the role of complexity theory in the design of icon-driven interfaces, and on the modeling of the problematics of transdisciplinary inquiry in hypermedia. He is the co-creator of The RHIZOME Project_1989-92 (with Thomas I. Ellis); and author of the hypermedia exploratory database _Chess RHIZOME_1998-9; and the Multi-object Oriented, Multi-User Domain classroom space MER’s Fungal Palace at the Media Lab at MIT (1996-98). He was originally trained in classical composition and jazz arranging and performance, and has authored over thirty jazz compositions.

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).


Earth continents in 3d gold cutout bullet Visit Dr. Rosenberg’s website here where you can find many of his writings.

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.

Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg in audience at AG3 conference 2010


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 Madeline 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:

Martin E. Rosenberg at lectern

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “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.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “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.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “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.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “From Projective Apprehension to Proprio-Sentience: Embodied AND Distributed Cognition During Jazz Improvisation,” University of Utrecht, Society for European Philosophy, September 4, 2014.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “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.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “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.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath    “Cognition, Complexity and Non-Linear Time during Jazz Improvisation” delivered at Extreme Music: Hearing and Nothingness, December 1-2, 2016 at the University of Southern Denmark 🇩🇰.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “Jazz As Narrative/Narrating Cognitive Processes Involved in Improvisation” will appear in the volume _Narrative Complexity: Experiential, Cognitive and Interpretive Interfaces_. Eds. Marina Grishakova, and Maria Poulaki. University of Nebraska Press, (In Press), Spring 2019.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   “The Gift of Silence: Towards an Anthropology of Jazz Improvisation as Neuro-Resistance,” published on his website https://thenewcentre.academia.edu/MartinERosenberg, is being translated into Hungarian by László Lenkes, for a special issue on complexity theory and culture for the journal Ex Symposion (http://exsymposion.hu/), guest edited by Mark Losoncz, Spring 2019.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   A shorter version of “The Gift of Silence” was given as a talk for the Cultural Studies Association Conference June 2, 2018, at Carnegie Mellon University.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   Expected to announce one or two conferences this coming Spring and Summer 2019 in Europe.

Floating shiny red sphere with shadow underneath   Dr. Rosenberg has begun collaborating on a volume that will serve as both memoir and a discussion of philosophy, cognition, and jazz improvisation, with jazz artist and educator Hal Galper.

Martin E. Rosenberg (left side) playing guitar with guitarist
(Dr. Martin E. Rosenberg on left)


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.  

Dr. Rosenberg has recently played in the Pittsburgh area, with a harmonica, guitar and string bass trio, and currently with a saxophone/flute, guitar and string bass trio, and a quintet with drummer Vince Taglieri, and Tuba master Roger Day.

After pilot performances with Pittsburgh guitarists Eric Susoeff and Ken Karsh, Dr. Rosenberg will begin with an initial five monthly guitar duets with many of the best guitarists in Pittsburgh, including Mark Strickland, Mark Lucas, Ben Sherman, Gavin Horning, and others, with hopes of establishing a permanent venue.

Dr. Martin E.Rosenberg arm playing guitar
(playing at the Third Street Gallery, in Carnegie, PA)

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