Robin Zebrowski

Professor and Chair of Cognitive Science

 Pronouns: she/her/hers or they/them/theirs  Email:  Phone: 608-363-2227  Office: Room 232, Sanger Center for the Sciences

Recent/Upcoming talks (where you can find me):

“Emotion-as-value: Enactive challenges for machine consciousness.” Cognitive Futures in the Humanities, June 3-5 in Catania, Italy. 

“Generative AI, the next battlefield in the AI Wars” (with John Sullins). IACAP 2024: The annual meeting of the International Association for Computing and Philosophy, July 8-10 in Eugene, OR

Workshop panel: “Getting comfortable with robots: Artificial phronesis, inner speech, and sociomorphing” (with Shannon Vallor, John Sullins, Antonio Chella, and Eli McGraw). Robophilosophy 2024, August 20-24 in Aarhus, Denmark.

“Spatial metaphors and the moral nature of the future” (with Richard Sandford). Anticipation, September 11-14 in Lancaster, UK.

About me:

I run the Cognitive Science program here at Beloit, which includes teaching some of my favorite classes, like Cyborg Brains and Hybrid Minds and Artificial Intelligence in Fact and Fiction (COGS 205). I also teach for the Philosophy and Psychology departments, including classes like Minds, Brains, and Bodies (PHIL/COGS 241) and Memory and Cognition (PSYC/COGS 240).

Lately I’ve been teaching my Intro to Philosophy using the short fiction of Ted Chiang, and before that I taught The Good Place and Philosophy several times. I see every class as a journey - the syllabus is a roadmap but it’s the students who create the story.

My research focuses on 4E cognition (embodied, embedded, extended, and enactive), mostly in relation to artificial intelligence and cyborg technologies. This ranges from the implications of conceptual metaphor and gesture on the possibilities of machine minds, through questions about extended human cognition through presence technologies or physical and social prosthetics.

Some recent publications:

Carving Up Participation: Sense-Making and Sociomorphing for Artificial Minds (2022) (with Beloit 2020 graduate Eli McGraw)

Mutual Incorporation, Intercorporeality, and the Problem of Mediating Systems (2022)

Artificial Instinct: Lem’s Robots as a Model Case for AI (2021)

Our co-authored book, “Great Philosophical Objections to Artificial Intelligence” (Bloomsbury Academic, 2021) was named a winner of 2022 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Titles Award from the American Library Association, and will have an updated edition coming soon.

Some recent press/public outreach:

 You, Me, Spot, and Zoom: Puzzles in Presence and Intercorporeality (ENSO Seminar, November 2, 2023)

Embracing the Mad Science of Machine Consciousness (post on the APA blog of Current Issues in Public Philosophy, January 2024)

Report on the conference “The Science of Consciousness” in Taormina, Sicily (article in German, August 2023)

September 25, 2023 appearance on WPR’s Central Time to discuss author lawsuit against OpenAI

September 21, 2023 moderating a book launch at A Room of One’s Own in Madison, WI, celebrating Against Technoableism by Ashley Shew

January 24, 2023 appearance on WORT radio’s A Public Affair to discuss the possibility of ethical AI

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