Robots and recognition – what it would mean and could there be any?


Heikki Ikäheimo (UNSW Sydney)


In my presentation I want to clarify some of the basic philosophical issues concerning the question whether robots or ‘artificial agents’ could be subjects or objects of recognition. I will discuss what recognition actually is, or what its forms are, and how they are related to sociality and mindedness. On the view that I defend, recognition in a particular ‘purely intersubjective’ sense is fundamental both to sociality as we know and expect it, and to having a mind in the sense that we know and expect it. This does not preclude that robots or artificial agents could be appropriate objects of ‘recognition’ in other senses of the term (some less some more trivial), independently of their capacity to sociality, mindedness and intersubjective recognition.


heikki ikaheimo

Heikki Ikäheimo is senior lecturer at UNSW Sydney. His research areas include the theory of recognition, personhood, social ontology, and critical social philosophy. Including his publications are the monograph Anerkennung (De Gruyter 2014), and the co-edited volumes Recognition and Social Ontology (Brill 2011), Ambivalences of Recognition (Columbia UP, forthcoming), and Handbuch Anerkennung (Springer, forthcoming).

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