Thursday Links

The U.S. Office of Naval Research is funding a $7.5 million grant to build robots with morals. Philosophy gets a mention in the opening line, but after that, it seems to be seen as an engineering problem. Also, we are talking here about the U.S. military, so color me pessimistic. [Update: Though please see the comment below from project director Paul Bello!]

Can mental exercise be a way of treating ADD? (h/t Paul Strait on Facebook)

Scientists may have found a gene responsible for a form of abnormal brain growth associated with autism spectrum disorder. (h/t Tad Zawidzki and Robert Barnard on Facebook)

The editors of The Point make the case for “neurohumanities”. (h/t James Dow on Facebook)

The great philosopher David Malet Armstrong died earlier this week; here is an interview conducted with him in 2002.

UCSD’s Jonathan Cohen will be live-chatting with Philosophy Talk listeners at noon PST on Friday (5/16).

Michael Specter in the New Yorker (gated, unfortunately) on whether neuroscience can help us to revise traumatic memories. (h/t Richard Brown on Facebook)

The latest Brown and Mandik podcast is on “Transhumanism and Existentialism”.

And Brian Leiter asks: What are the “hot topics” in philosophy of mind?


  1. Paul Bello

    Hi John,
    Re: Moral robots and the military — I am the program manager for this particular effort, and one of the truly novel aspects of the grant is that every member of the team has either a Ph.D. or a deep background in philosophy. Much of what’s being done on the engineering side is being informed by philosophically relevant work in experimental ethics and experimental epistemology. Other aspects of the computational work is grounded in philosophical logic. The team was selected for precisely this reason — too often, AI research doesn’t draw nearly enough from relevant ideas in the philosophy of psychology — I’m hoping that this grant will serve as a striking counterpoint to the status quo. Fingers crossed.

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