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Colin Allen

  • Distinguished Professor • Co-Director Graduate Admissions • Webmaster
  • Adjunct in the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Allen's main areas of research concern the philosophical foundations of cognitive science and neuroscience. He is particularly interested in the scientific study of cognition in nonhuman animals and computers, and he has published widely on topics in the philosophy of mind, philosophy of biology, and artificial intelligence. He also has several projects in the area of humanities computing. He is a faculty affiliate of Pitt's Digital Studies & Methods program and of the CMU/PItt Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition

Selected Courses Taught

  • Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive Science
  • History & Philosophy of Comparative Cognition
  • Introduction to Cognitive Science
  • Functions and Mechanisms in the Life Sciences

Professional Membership/Offices

  • American Philosophical Association
  • Philosophy of Science Association
  • International Society for History, Philosophy, and Social Study of Biology
  • Society for Philosophy & Psychology (former president)
  • Cognitive Science Society

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. University of California at Los Angeles 1989
  • B.A. University of London (University College) 1982

Representative Publications

2017: On (Not) Defining ‘Cognition’, Synthese, in press.

2017: Exploration and Exploitation of Victorian Science in Darwin's Reading Notebooks, Cognition. 159: 117-126. With with Jaimie Murdock and Simon DeDeo.

2014: A perceptual account of symbolic reasoning, Frontiers in Psychology, 5: article 275. With David Landy and Carlos Zednik.

2013: The geometry of partial understanding. American Philosophical Quarterly 50: 249-262.

2013: Information and Uncertainty in Meerkats and Monkeys. In U. Stegmann (Ed.) Animal Communication Theory: Information and Influence. Cambridge University Press, pp. 319-335.

2010: Recognizing group cognition, Cognitive Systems Research 11 (4), 378-395. With Georg Theiner and Robert L Goldstone.

2008: Moral machines: Teaching robots right from wrong, Oxford University Press. With Wendell Wallach.