Call: “In what sense can AI have a mind?” – 4th Meta-Science and Technology Project International Workshop

Call for Participation

4th Meta-Science and Technology Project International Workshop:
In what sense can AI have a mind?
Online via Zoom
March 16th, 2021

Register to participate at

Workshop Description:

This workshop aims to foster an interdisciplinary discussion over the question of whether machines like AIs and robots can have a mind. In particular, it proposes to approach this question by asking what types of AI can have what kinds of mind.

On the one hand, there exist many different kinds of AIs and robots. If we classify them in terms of their functions, for example, we can find AIs for language processing, visual recognition, game playing. Some even aspire to design an AI with general intelligence comparable to human beings. Similarly, there are robots designed to assist human activities, move like humans and animals, engage in social interactions with people. One may try to design a robot that is behaviorally indistinguishable from human beings. There are many other ways to classify AIs and robots, for instance, in terms of their internal hardware structures, computational principles, or ways of interacting surrounding environments.

On the other hand, there are many ways to characterize the mind. One may focus on its subjective aspect, stating that consciousness is a definitional feature of the mind. Others may focus on its intentional aspect, stating that world-directed cognitive faculties are the hallmark of mindedness. Some may focus on its agentive aspect, stating that autonomy is the distinctive feature of the mind. There may be other perspectives to capture characteristics of the mind. Given that it seems (at least conceptually) possible that one aspect of the mind is realized independently of other aspects, we can think of each aspect of the mind as a different kind of mind.

Given this twofold multiplicity, we can reformulate the fundamental question of whether AI and robots can have the mind as follows: what types of AI and robots can have what kinds of mind? This workshop addresses this question by facilitating an interdisciplinary discussion drawing on philosophy of mind, phenomenology, history of science, and AI /robotics.

Speakers (Affiliation): “Presentation Title”:

Tim Crane (Central European University): “AI Fantasies and the AI Reality: Sceptical Reflections”

Tadahiro Taniguchi (Ritsumeikan University): “Symbol Emergence in Robotics: Towards Emergence of Mind through Physical and Semiotic Interaction”

Mai Sugimoto (Kansai University): “Metaphor Guides the Direction of Research: How Computers Have Been Analogized to Brains”

Katsunori Miyahara (Hokkaido University): “Intentionality, Consciousness and Embodiment”

Takuya Niikawa (Kobe University): “Conscious AI and Cognitive Phenomenology”

Workshop Format:

This workshop is held online using zoom on March 16th, 2021. Please fill out the registration form to participate at

Each speaker records a video presentation (around 20 minutes) in advance, which will be shared by all the participants so that they can watch them before the workshop. The workshop is mainly dedicated to discussions. The links to each presentation file and the online meeting room will be sent to the registered email addresses until one week before the workshop date.


The workshop has two parts. The first part will start at 14:00 JTC (5:00 UTC) and is conducted in Japanese (Professor Tim Crane does not attend the first part). The second part will start at 16:00 JTC (7:00 UTC) and is conducted in English (every speaker attends the second part). The whole workshop will end around 18:00 or 19:00 JTC (9:00 or 10:00 UTC).

Workshop Organizers:

Takuya Niikawa (Kobe University):
Tsuyoshi Matsuda (Kobe University):



Please direct any inquiries (Japanese or English) to (Takuya Niikawa).

This workshop is supported by Meta-science and Technology Project: Methodology, Ethics and Policy from a Comprehensive Viewpoint at Kobe University.

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