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Philosophy of Mind: of Mice, Men, and Machines

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Event date: Monday, 02 March 2020 10:00 am - Friday, 06 March 2020 04:00 pm
Place: Université du Luxembourg, Belval campus
Learning Centre, room 2.02

The University of Luxembourg organises a doctoral workshop about philosophy of mind.


Philosophy of mind studies the nature of the mind, its properties, capacities, and relations to physical entities such as brains and computers. Accordingly, it is concerned with questions such as: What are thoughts, perceptions, feelings, (free?) choices and other mental phenomena? Which physical systems possess them, cause them or correlate with them? It would be hard to doubt that humans – or human brains – exhibit a broad range of mental phenomena. However, it is curious that no matter how deeply we look into the brain, we cannot directly detect any thoughts, feelings or choices in it – just neurons firing. Regardless, we know from our first-person perspective and awareness that thoughts, feelings and choices certainly exist. But what can we know about animal brains and minds? And what about machines, computers in particular? Can machines think and feel too, at least in principle? Can they make deliberate choices and perform actions, such that we may attribute moral responsibility and legal accountability to them? Might they – like animals and humans – deserve protections and rights? Or would it be a fundamental error on our part to attribute mental and moral properties to machines, present or future? Last but not least, how can we align autonomous machines with ethical values and rules, both in case they understand them and in case they do not? 


  • Antonio Bikic, LMU Munich
  • Adriano Mannino, free journalist and philosopher


Link: https://acc.uni.lu/philosophy-of-mind