Epigenetic and enactive robotics have been proposed as test-beds for psycho-biological models of the mind. These approaches shortened the distance between the artificial and the natural mind by stressing the importance of the unity between the brain, the body and the environment. At the same time, nowadays robotic researchers openly acknowledge the importance of experience which has been not sufficiently considered in the recent past. The process went so far that the field of machine consciousness is now part of the scientific landscape.
The externalist approach identifies experience with relations, processes or acts between an agent and its environment. Externalism is the view according to which the brain and its neural activity is necessary but not sufficient to produce the conscious mind. The externalist approach locates the subject and experience processes in a context wider than brain-oriented approaches. Because of this fact, the externalist standpoints allows to start from methodological and ontological premises suitable for the study of experience and of other subjective contents inside an experimental framework.
The talk will review the externalist-oriented approaches and it will present the main ideas at the basis of the emerging field of externalist robotics. The aims of this research is to experiment, in a circumscribed number of cases, whether it is possible to apply such an architecture in the fields of robotics, of psychology and of philosophy of mind.
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