Call: International Association for Computing and Philosophy conference (IACAP 2011)

IACAP 2011

International Association for Computing and Philosophy (IACAP)
First International Conference of IACAP:

Celebrating 25 years of Computing and Philosophy (CAP) conferences
Aarhus University (Denmark) – July 4-6, 2011

Conference Theme, “The Computational Turn: Past, Presents, Futures?”

In the West, philosophical attention to computation and computational devices is at least as old as Leibniz. But since the early 1940s, electronic computers have evolved from a few machines filling several rooms to widely diffused – indeed, ubiquitous – devices, ranging from networked desktops, laptops, smartphones and “the internet of things.” Along the way, initial philosophical attention – in particular, to the ethical and social implications of these devices (so Norbert Wiener, 1950) – became sufficiently broad and influential as to justify the phrase “the computational turn” by the 1980s. In part, the computational turn referred to the multiple ways in which the increasing availability and usability of computers allowed philosophers to explore a range of traditional philosophical interests – e.g., in logic, artificial intelligence, philosophical mathematics, ethics, political philosophy, epistemology, ontology, to name a few – in new ways, often shedding significant new light on traditional issues and arguments. Simultaneously, computer scientists, mathematicians, and others whose work focused on computation and computational devices often found their work to evoke (if not force) reflection and debate precisely on the philosophical assumptions and potential implications of their research. These two large streams of development – especially as calling for necessary interdisciplinary dialogues that crossed what were otherwise often hard disciplinary boundaries – inspired what became the first of the Computing and Philosophy (CAP) conferences in 1986 (devoted to Computer- Assisted Instruction in philosophy).

Since 1986, CAP conferences have grown in scope and range, to include a bewildering array of intersections between computation and philosophy as explored across a global range of cultures and traditions. In keeping with what has now become a significant tradition, IACAP’11 will accept presentations across this array and range. At the same time, in order to recognize and celebrate the 25th anniversary of the CAP conferences, we specifically encourage submissions that include attention to the past, present(s), and possible future(s) of their foci as expressions of this computational turn.

TRACK: Autonomous Robots and AI
Chair: Matthias Scheutz (Tufts University:
Chair: Mark Bishop (University of London:

Capabilities such as perception, reasoning, learning, and planning allow “artificial cognitive systems” to perform increasingly complex tasks that have often been performed by humans. As a result, interesting philosophical questions arise about the nature of embodied and disembodied artificial cognitive systems, ranging from questions about the extent to which such systems “know what they are doing”, to questions about whether such cognitive systems can have human-like mental states and experiences, to questions about agency and responsibility (e.g., in the case of autonomous robots that interact with humans in social settings).

In line with the general IACAP conference theme – computing and philosophy – this track is open to contributions from all disciplines, but has a particular focus on all aspects of artificial cognitive systems and the philosophical questions that arise from their instantiations and embodiments:

Possible topics include (but are by no means limited to):

  • Capabilities and limits of artificial cognitive systems
  • The role of autonomous robots in theories of embodiment and situatedness
  • Epistemology of autonomous cognitive systems
  • Ethical implications of artificial cognitive systems
  • Human mental concepts and artificial cognitive systems
  • Human interactions with artificial cognitive systems
  • Applications of artificial cognitive systems
  • Comparison of artificial and natural cognitive systems

Authors should submit an electronic version of an extended abstract (total word count approximately 1000 words). The file should also contain a 350 word abstract that will be used for the conference web site/booklet. Each abstract should indicate a first choice for the track to which it is submitted, as well as a second choice for track.


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