Colin Allen

Colin Allen
University of Pittsburgh | Pitt · Department of History and Philosophy of Science

Ph.D.

About

173
Publications
53,887
Reads
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4,632
Citations
Additional affiliations
August 2004 - present
Indiana University Bloomington
August 1994 - July 1995
University of Colorado at Boulder
January 1991 - December 2007
Texas A&M University
Education
September 1982 - June 1989
September 1979 - June 1982
University College London
Field of study
  • Philosophy

Publications

Publications (173)
Article
Making inferences from behaviour to cognition is problematic due to a many-to-one mapping problem, in which any one behaviour can be generated by multiple possible cognitive processes. Attempts to cross this inferential gap when comparing human intelligence to that of animals or machines can generate great debate. Here, we discuss the challenges of...
Article
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Temporal binding is the phenomenon in which events related as cause and effect are perceived by humans to be closer in time than they actually are (Haggard et al. in Nat Neurosci 5(4):382–385, 2002, https://doi.org/10.1038/nn827). Despite the fact that temporal binding experiments with humans have relied on verbal instructions, we argue that they a...
Article
Brügger et al. (Science Advances, 7, eabc8790, 2021) recently introduced the use of remote thermography to investigate how monkeys process socially significant vocalizations. This is a welcome addition to the arsenal of comparative psychologists. Interpretative issues abound, but the ability to non-invasively measure physiological responses that do...
Preprint
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Temporal binding is the phenomenon in which events related as cause and effect are perceived by humans to be closer in time than they actually are (Haggard et al. 2002). Despite the fact that temporal binding experiments with humans have relied on verbal instructions, we argue that they are adaptable to nonhuman animals, and that a finding of tempo...
Article
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Dynamical models of cognition have played a central role in recent cognitive science. In this paper, we consider a common strategy by which dynamical models describe their target systems neither as purely static or purely dynamic, but rather using a hybrid approach. This hybridity reveals why dynamical models should not be understood as providing u...
Chapter
As artificial intelligence moves ever closer to the goal of producing fully autonomous agents, the question of how to design and implement an artificial moral agent (AMA) becomes increasingly pressing. Robots possessing autonomous capacities to do things that are useful to humans will also have the capacity to do things that are harmful to humans a...
Article
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In this paper we discuss the application of LDA topic modeling to questions that interest historians & philosophers of science, which we illustrate primarily through our own work on modeling Charles Darwin's reading and writing behavior. We discuss the need to go beyond simplistic presentations of topic models that tend to give scholars the idea th...
Article
[Open Access Article: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1002/rcs.2020] Background For autonomous robot‐delivered surgeries to ever become a feasible option, we recommend the combination of human‐centered artificial intelligence (AI) and transparent machine learning (ML), with integrated Gross anatomy models. This can be supplemented wit...
Article
Background This paper aims to move the debate forward regarding the potential of AI and autonomous robotic surgery with a particular focus on ethical and legal aspects. Methods We conducted a literature search on current and emerging surgical robot technologies, relevant standards and legal systems worldwide. We provide a discussion of unique chal...
Chapter
Traditionally, it is considered that there is no sensitive information in the management frames and only the data frames need encryption protection in the initial 802.11 standard protocol, so no corresponding security mechanism is required in the management frames. But with the popularity of WLAN, the researchers realize that the lack of the manage...
Article
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Exploration and play are considered to be crucial behaviors during mammalian development. Even though the relationship between glucocorticoids and exploratory behavior, stress, and anxiety is well described in the literature, very little is known about their role in play behavior in non-rodents. Likewise, the functional role of the “social hormone”...
Article
We built upon previous work by Fujita et al. (2012, Animal Cognition, 15(6), 1055–1063) to create an experiment that investigated the presence of incidental memory for the spatial location of uneaten food in the domestic dog. Here, we dissociated potentially incidental spatial memory from the incidental memory for the characteristics of objects, in...
Article
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From 1837, when he returned to England aboard the $\textit{HMS Beagle}$, to 1860, just after publication of $\textit{The Origin of Species}$, Charles Darwin kept detailed notes of each book he read or wanted to read. His notes and manuscripts provide information about decades of individual scientific practice. Previously, we trained topic models on...
Article
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Should cognitive scientists be any more embarrassed about their lack of a discipline-fixing definition of cognition than biologists are about their inability to define “life”? My answer is “no”. Philosophers seeking a unique “mark of the cognitive” or less onerous but nevertheless categorical characterizations of cognition are working at a level of...
Article
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There is a small but growing literature on large-scale statistical modeling of Chinese language texts. Ouyang analyzed a corpus of over 40,000 ancient documents downloaded from multiple sources. This was used to plot the temporal distributions of word frequencies and geographic distributions of authors. Huang and Yu modeled the SongCi poetry corpus...
Chapter
This article surveys philosophical and scientific issues arising from questions about animal consciousness. These questions include: which animals have consciousness and what (if anything) that consciousness might be like. Just what sort(s) of science can bear on these questions is a live issue, but investigations of the behavior and neurophysiolog...
Article
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We show how faceted search using a combination of traditional classification systems and mixed-membership models can move beyond keyword search to inform resource discovery, hypothesis formulation, and argument extraction for interdisciplinary research. Our test domain is the history and philosophy of scientific work on animal mind and cognition. W...
Article
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Ancient Chinese texts present an area of enormous challenge and opportunity for humanities scholars interested in exploiting computational methods to assist in the development of new insights and interpretations of culturally significant materials. In this paper we describe a collaborative effort between Indiana University and Xi'an Jiaotong Univer...
Article
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In this preliminary study, we examine whether random samples from within given Library of Congress Classification Outline areas yield significantly different topic models. We find that models of subsamples can equal the topic similarity of models over the whole corpus. As the sample size increases, topic distance decreases and topic overlap increas...
Article
Search in an environment with an uncertain distribution of resources involves a trade-off between local exploitation and distant exploration. This extends to the problem of information foraging, where a knowledge-seeker shifts between reading in depth and studying new domains. To study this, we examine the reading choices made by one of the most ce...
Article
Topic models remain a black box both for modelers and for end users in many respects. From the modelers' perspective, many decisions must be made which lack clear rationales and whose interactions are unclear — for example, how many topics the algorithms should find (K), which words to ignore (aka the "stop list"), and whether it is adequate to run...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
Topic models remain a black box both for modelers and for end users in many respects. From the modelers' perspective , many decisions must be made which lack clear rationales and whose interactions are unclear – for example, how many topics the algorithms should find (K), which words to ignore (aka the " stop list "), and whether it is adequate to...
Article
In this paper, I describe grounds for dissatisfaction with certain aspects of the sciences of animal cognition and argue that a turn toward mathematical modeling of animal cognition is warranted. I consider some objections to this call and argue that the implications of such a turn are not as drastic for ordinary, commonsense understanding of anima...
Conference Paper
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Numerous classification systems have been devised to manage different types of information. From the Dewey Decimal System and Library of Congress Classification Numbers to International Patent Classification to more modern ontologies, each is crafted by different groups to cover different entities with different goals. This creates substantial chal...
Article
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Numerous digital humanities projects maintain their data collections in the form of text, images, and metadata. While data may be stored in many formats, from plain text to XML to relational databases, the use of the resource description framework (RDF) as a standardized representation has gained considerable traction during the last five years. Al...
Article
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People can be taught to manipulate symbols according to formal mathematical and logical rules. Cognitive scientists have traditionally viewed this capacity-the capacity for symbolic reasoning-as grounded in the ability to internally represent numbers, logical relationships, and mathematical rules in an abstract, amodal fashion. We present an altern...
Article
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The common history of Homo sapiens and Canis lupus familiaris dates back to between 11,000 and 32,000 years ago, when some wolves (Canis lupus) started living closely with humans. Although we cannot reach back into the past to measure the relative roles of wolves and humans in the ensuing domestication process, it was perhaps the first involving hu...
Article
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It is a truism among ethologists that one must not forget that animals perceive and represent the world differently from humans. Sometimes this caution is phrased in terms of von Uexkull's Umwelt concept. Yet it seems possible (perhaps even unavoidable) to adopt a common ontological framework when comparing different species of mind. For some purpo...
Conference Paper
In this paper we look at the manual analysis of arguments and how this compares to the current state of automatic argument analysis. These considerations are used to develop a new approach combining a machine learning algorithm to extract propositions from text, with a topic model to determine argument structure. The results of this method are comp...
Chapter
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Symbols are generatively entrenched elements in human culture that scaffold the individual and cultural development of language, mathematics, science, poetry, music, and so forth. The exact means by which they do so remains unclear, however. This chapter describes experiments suggesting that fundamental aspects of perception and learning are operat...
Article
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The presumption that navigation requires a cognitive map leads to its conception as an abstract computational problem. Instead of loading the question in favor of an inquiry into the metric structure and evolutionary origin of cognitive maps, the task should first be to establish that a map-like representation actually is operative in real animals...
Article
Digital access to large amounts of scholarly text presents both challenges and opportunities for researchers in the humanities. Meeting these challenges depends on having high-quality representations of the contents of digital resources suitable for both machines and humans to use. Different ways of categorizing these contents are appropriate for d...
Conference Paper
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This poster presents what we believe to be the first attempt to empirically measure and visualize the cross-pollination of science and philosophy through citation patterns. Using the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy as a proxy for the philosophical literature, we plot SEP citations onto the UCSD Map of Science to highlight areas of science which...
Article
The rate of pecking at seeds by Steller's jays (Cyanocitta stelleri) is affected by the type of seed that is available and the presence and activity of nearby conspecifics. Jays at an artificial feeding platform peck at a lower rate when another jay is nearby, except when the other jay is feeding at a different platform. The decreased feeding rate...
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The development of autonomous, robotic weaponry is progressing rapidly. Many observers agree that banning the initiation of lethal activity by autonomous weapons is a worthy goal. Some disagree with this goal, on the grounds that robots may equal and exceed the ethical conduct of human soldiers on the battlefield. Those who seek arms-control agreem...
Conference Paper
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Ontology evaluation poses a number of difficult challenges re-quiring different evaluation methodologies, particularly for a "dynamic ontology" generated by a combination of automatic and semi-automatic methods. We review evaluation methods that focus solely on syntactic (formal) correctness, on the preservation of semantic structure, or on pragmat...
Article
Fish farming is one of the fastest growing sectors of agriculture, attracting considerable attention to the question of whether existing farming regulations and animal welfare laws are adequate to deal with the expanding role of fish in feeding humans. The role of fish as model organisms in scientific research is also expanding -- a majority of res...
Article
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Individual recognition is thought to be a crucial ability facilitating the evolution of animal societies. Given its central importance, much research has addressed the extent of this capacity across the animal kingdom. Recognition of individuals vocally has received particular attention due, in part, to the insights it provides regarding the cognit...
Article
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Research on approaches for implementing moral decision-making capabilities within AI systems is contributing to a more comprehensive understanding of moral acumen. In addition to being able to reason, consciousness and understanding, a theory of mind, social skills, cooperating with other agents, the ability to solve frame problems, being embodied,...
Chapter
Humans externalise cognition in myriad ways. Our tools, marks, trails, speech, writing and dwellings pepper the landscape. The cognitive droppings of our ancestors go back over a million years. More recent cognitive achievements of our species are ‘scaffolded’ (to repeat the term used by McGonigle and Chalmers in the quotation above) upon those ear...
Article
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In the last decade it has become en vogue for cognitive comparative psychologists to study animal behavior in an ‘integrated’ fashion to account for both the ‘innate’ and the ‘acquired’. We will argue that these studies, instead of really integrating the concepts of ‘nature’ and ‘nurture’, rather cement this old dichotomy. They combine empty nativi...
Article
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Purpose – In spite of highly publicized competitions where computers have prevailed over humans, the intelligence of computer systems still remains quite limited in comparison to that of humans. Present day computers provide plenty of information but lack wisdom. The purpose of this paper is to investigate whether reliance on computers with limited...
Article
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The application of digital humanities techniques to philosophy is changing the way scholars approach the discipline. This paper seeks to open a discussion about the difficulties, methods, opportunities, and dangers of creating and utilizing a formal representation of the discipline of philosophy. We review our current project, the Indiana Philosoph...
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What roles or functions does consciousness fulfill in the making of moral decisions? Willartificial agents capable of making appropriate decisions in morally charged situations requiremachine consciousness? Should the capacity to make moral decisions be considered an attributeessential for being designated a fully conscious agent? Research on the pro...
Article
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We dispute Carey's assumption that distinct core cognitive processes employ domain-specific input analyzers to construct proprietary representations. We give reasons to believe that conceptual systems co-opt core components for new domains. Domain boundaries, as well as boundaries between perceptual-motor and conceptual cognitive resources may be u...
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We critically examine Denis Walsh’s latest attack on the causalist view of fitness. Relying on Judea Pearl’s Sure-Thing Principle and geneticist John Gillespie’s model for fitness, Walsh has argued that the causal interpretation of fitness results in a reductio. We show that his conclusion only follows from misuse of the models, that is, (1) the di...
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Questions about fish consciousness and cognition are receiving increasing attention. In this paper, I explain why one must be careful to avoid drawing conclusions too hastily about this hugely diverse set of species.
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Introduction The papers published in 1980 by Robert Seyfarth, Dorothy Cheney and Peter Marler on the alarm calls of vervet monkeys were instant classics. In a short paper in Science (Seyfarth et al., 1980a) and the more detailed companion piece in Animal Behaviour (Seyfarth et al., 1980b), they described experiments that Seyfarth and Cheney had con...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
ontology evaluation, ontology evolution. Ontology evaluation poses a number of difficult challenges requiring different evaluation methodologies, particularly for a “dynamic ontology ” representing a complex set of concepts and generated by a combination of automatic and semi-automatic methods. We review evaluation methods that focus solely on synt...
Article
In this paper, we approach the idea of group cognition from the perspective of the “extended mind” thesis, as a special case of the more general claim that systems larger than the individual human, but containing that human, are capable of cognition (Clark , 2008; Clark & Chalmers, 1998). Instead of deliberating about “the mark of the cognitive” (A...
Article
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Recently, there has been a resurgence of interest in general, comprehensive models of human cognition. Such models aim to explain higher-order cognitive faculties, such as deliberation and planning. Given a computational representation, the validity of these models can be tested in computer simulations such as software agents or embodied robots. Th...
Article
Primatologists generally agree that monkeys lack higher-order intentional capacities related to theory of mind. Yet the discovery of the so-called “mirror neurons” in monkeys suggests to many neuroscientists that they have the rudiments of intentional understanding. Given a standard philosophical view about intentional understanding, which requires...
Article
In most species in which social play has been observed, play-soliciting signals have evolved. These social signals appear to be important in communicating play intention. Here, using the work of Ruth Millikan as a working guide and canid play bows as an example, we argue that (i) some play signals may be simple “intentional icons” and (ii) senders...
Conference Paper
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The "wisdom of crowds" is accomplishing tasks that are cumbersome for individuals yet cannot be fully automated by means of specialized computer algorithms. One such task is the construction of thesauri and other types of concept hierarchies. Human expert feedback on the relatedness and relative generality of terms, however, can be aggregated to dy...
Article
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Carruthers argues that an integrated faculty of metarepresentation evolved for mindreading and was later exapted for metacognition. A more consistent application of his approach would regard metarepresentation in mindreading with the same skeptical rigor, concluding that the "faculty" may have been entirely exapted. Given this result, the usefulnes...
Chapter
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This article examines the role of the spinal cords in cognition. It reviews animal science research that challenges the view that behavioral responses to sensory stimuli that do not involve brain mediation are fixed, automatic, and non-cognitive in nature. This research has shown the spinal cord to be a flexible and interesting learning system in i...