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AISB event Bulletin Item

CALL FOR PARTICIPATION: Animal minds and robot minds, 5 Oct 2011, LONDON


St Marys University College, Philosophy Department Royal Institute of Philosophy Public Lecture, Twickenham

Prof. Murray Shanahan (Imperial College, London), Professor of Cognitive Robotics

Wednesday, 5th October 2011
5.15pm - 6.45pm, followed by a drinks reception
Senior Common Room, St Marys University College, Twickenham

Do non-human animals think like us? Are they conscious the way we are? Can robots think like we do? Could we ever build a conscious robot? These philosophical questions are important because they influence what we decide to do. To the extent that an animal can experience suffering, we have a duty to treat it well. If we can build a robot that is conscious, would it also be able to experience suffering? And if so, should we build such a thing in the first place?

About the Speaker:
Murrays primary interests are in cognitive architecture, both as it is found in Nature and as it 
might be realised artificially. Because he is committed to the view that cognition and embodiment 
are intimately related, he also has a strong interest in robotics. On this account, Robots are seen
as a vehicle for testing theories of cognition. The claim is that if we have a good theory of 
cognition - one that passes the test of implementability on a robot - then it will help us build 
better, more intelligent robots. Murray also has an interest in consciousness, and sees 
consciousness and cognition as closely related. He is of the belief that to understand these themes
 properly entails a certain degree of engagement with philosophy, particularly philosophy of mind.


All lectures are free and open to the public without registration. Lectures start at 5:15 and last 
for 50 minutes, with 40 minutes for questions. This is then followed by a wine reception.
Senior Common Room, St Marys University College, Waldegrave Road, Strawberry Hill, Twickenham, 
TW1 4SX, UK.
Directions to the university: http://www.smuc.ac.uk/contact/directions.htm 

For further information, please contact Dr Yasemin J. Erden: erdenyj@smuc.ac.uk 

Posters and further details can be downloaded here: 

Lecture Series
Knowledge, Wisdom and the University
Series abstract
Universities in Britain - as well as in other Western countries - are facing an uncertain future. 
In response to significant cuts in public funding, drastic changes are being proposed and already 
a number of (philosophy) departments are being threatened with closure. It is, so the argument 
goes, no longer possible to afford studies which are seen as luxuries. In such discussions the 
idea of a university is rarely mentioned, let alone the place of philosophy in universities.

Our series invites speakers from a range of disciplines to address this oversight. Specifically, 
we ask them to reflect on concepts of knowledge and wisdom, and their place in modern universities.
All talks are appropriate for a non-specialised audience.


21st September
Mr Peter Worley (The Philosophy Shop)
What can university philosophy learn from primary philosophy?

5th October
Prof Murray Shanahan (Imperial College, London)
Animal minds and robot minds

30th November
Dr Phil Hutchinson (Manchester Metropolitan University)

What has philosophy ever done for us?

***Winter break***

1st February
Prof Luciano Floridi (University of Hertfordshire / University of Oxford) 
What is a philosophical question?

29th February
Prof Beverley Clack (Oxford Brookes University)
Loss and the struggle for meaning

28th March
Dr Cecile Hatier (University of Wolverhampton)
The morality of university decision-makers

18th April: TBC
A poster advertising the full series of lectures can be downloaded here: