Advisory Board

Professor Colin Allen

Colin Allen, Ph.D. is director of the NEH funded Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project, Associate Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, Associate Editor of Noesis: Philosophical Research Online, Academic Editor of PLoS One (Public Library of Science), and is on the Editorial Board of Behavior and Philosophy. He is also coauthor of a logic textbook, Logic Primer, and co-developer of two logic instructional sites on the world wide web at and
His appointment at IU is split between HPS and the Cognitive Science Program. He is also a member of IU’s Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior and adjunct professor in the Philosophy Department at IU.
Colin is coauthor of Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong, Species of Mind: The Philosophy and Biology of Cognitive Ethology and coeditor of The Evolution of Mind, Nature’s Purposes, The Cognitive Animal: Empirical and Theoretical Perspectives on Animal Cognition, and Philosophy Across the Life Sciences (MIT Press, in press). He is also co-editor of a special issue of the journal Biology and Philosophy (Dec. 2004) on animal cognition, in which he has a paper titled Is Anyone a Cognitive Ethologist? and a forthcoming special issue of the journal Synthese on “Representing Philosophy” covering the applications of digital technologies to philosophy. Read the full list of his publications!
His papers include Intentional Communication and Social Play: How and Why Animals Negotiate and Agree to Play, Prolegomena to any future artificial moral agent, Why Machine Ethics?, Animal Pain, Animal Consciousness, Teleological Notions in Biology, Android Ethics: Bottom-up and Top-down Approaches for Modeling Human Moral Faculties, A Dynamic Ontology for a Dynamic Reference Work. A Skeptic’s Progress, Transitive inference in animals: Reasoning or conditioned associations?, and How to Reason without Words: Inference as Categorization.
Colin earned his B.A. in philosophy from University College London in 1982 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA in 1989. He has broad research interests in the general area of philosophy of biology and cognitive science, and is best known for his work on animal behavior and cognition. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and the National Endowment for the Humanities.
Watch Robot morality and moral machines: Colin Allen. Read Pentagon hires British scientist to help build robot soldiers that “won’t commit war crimes” and Six ways to build robots that do humans no harm.