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"Simulation, Computation, and Consciousness"

Dr. Gualtiero Piccinini

Department of Philosophy

University of Missouri-St. Louis

This online lecture, co-sponsored by the Department of Philosophy and the Institute for Artificial Intelligence, is part of the Scott and Heather Kleiner Lecture Series in Philosophy.


Date and Time

November 19th, 2020 at 4:00pm


Understanding the place of computation in the physical universe requires understanding the relation between computation and the mind. Does the nervous system perform computations? Does cognition involve computation? Does consciousness have a computational nature? These are difficult and controversial topics. I will build on recent work in this area to push the debate forward. I will argue that the nervous system performs computations and cognition involves computation. However, consciousness is unlikely to have a wholly computational nature.


Dr. Piccinini is a Professor in the Philosophy Department of the University of Missouri – St. Louis. His research focuses on the philosophy of mind, with an eye to psychology, neuroscience, and computer science. His current interests include computational theories of mind, the relation between psychology and neuroscience, consciousness, and intentionality.

His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Institute for Advanced Studies at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Charles Babbage Institute, the Andrew Mellon Foundation, the University of Missouri Research Board, the University of Missouri – St. Louis, and the Regione Sardegna. His articles have been published in journals such as Cognitive Science, Philosophers' Imprint, Philosophy and Phenomenological Research, Philosophy of Science, British Journal for Philosophy of Science, Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Philosophical Studies, Journal of Biological Physics, Neural Networks, Synthese, and Canadian Journal of Philosophy.

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