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Philosophy of Technology


Javier Gomez-Lavin

"My work tackles the (in)adequacy of concepts in cognitive science, with an emphasis on those at the core of “central” cognition: reasoning, reflection, and imagination. I’ve argued that the psychological realizers of these processes—with an emphasis on working memory—can’t explain many of their desired features, and that less individualistically-oriented concepts will be required to make progress in cognitive science. Namely, new concepts rooted in our social, moral, and aesthetic worlds. This, in turn, requires that we better understand how we perceive and make sense of the social and normative bonds that innervate our lives. It’s that problem that motivates my longstanding collaborative and interdisciplinary research, the continuation of which lies at the heart of the Purdue Normativity and Cognitions (PuNCs) lab. 

This lab continues a strain of work that I've developed in experimental philosophy (which many practitioners affectionately shorten to "x-phi"), that uses the tools of empirical social psychology to test philosophically rich theories about the role that moral values play in personal identity (Gomez-Lavin & Prinz 2019), our experiences of art and its role in informing identity (Fingerhut, Gomez-Lavin, Winklemayer & Prinz 2021), our perceptions of togetherness (Gomez-Lavin & Rachar 2019, 2022, 2023), and our judgements about the role of social norms—like those tied to gender—in developing future AI systems (Read, Gomez-Lavin, Beltrama & Miracchi 2022).  Presently in the PuNCs Lab we're empirically cataloguing the norms that arise from different cases of working together with others and how this “normative fingerprint” might help us map various social relationships, with a specific focus on the norms that inform relationships of Solidarity. With the with the Virtual Reality and Artificial Intelligence (VRAI) lab, we are beginning work to uncover how these bonds might deform or extend as we enter into unprecedented collaborative and competitive relationships with artificial intelligence in both augmented and virtual reality. All in all, to make progress in cognitive science my bet is that we’ll need to move beyond our inherited cache of individualistically oriented concepts and make room for those that privilege our nature as socially embedded creatures." 

Lynn Parrish   

Daniel Smith