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Indiana University Bloomington
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Colin Allen

Director, Cognitive Science
Provost Professor, Department of History and Philosophy of Science
Office: Goodbody 113
Phone: (812) 855-8916

See also: Professor Allen's homepage


  • Ph.D., University of California, Los Angeles, 1989

Professional Experience

  • Professor of Philosophy, Texas A&M University, 1989-2004
  • Research Associate, Dept of Environmental Population and Organismic Biology, University of Colorado, Boulder 1994-1995
  • Associate Editor, Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (

Research Interests

Philosophy of biology, psychology, and cognitive science, especially animal cognition and evolution (cognitive ethology), and artificial moral agents

I am a philosopher who is interested in evolutionary approaches to animal behavior and cognition (cognitive ethology). I work closely with biologists and psychologists who are dealing with questions about what can legitimately be inferred about the nature of animal cognition from field and laboratory data. I have also published on other topics in the philosophy of mind and philosophy of biology, artificial intelligence and neural networks.

Current projects include a series of papers on animal pain that may lead to a book, a paper on scientific/evolutionary concepts of culture, a book on artificial moral agents, and the capture and analysis of data from web-based logic instructional software to provide context-sensitive feedback to students and to test hypotheses about strategies for teaching and learning logic.

Since 1998 I have been consulting and programming for The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, and I am currently its Associate Editor.

Dissertation Committee Service

Bold student names indicate a cognitive science standalone student.

Author Dissertation Title Committee
Harris, StevenArtifacts and Human Cognitive Agency (March 2012)Schmitt, F. (Chair), Rogers, Y., Allen, C., O’Connor, T.
Wang, HuaToward an Empirically Grounded Theory of Virtues for Consequentialism (September 2011)Baron, M. (Co-Chair), Allen, C. (Co-Chair), Abramson, K., Weinberg, J.
Zednik, CarlosMechanistic Explanation and Dynamical Cognitive Science (August 2011) Allen, C (Chair)., Beer, R., Weinberg, J., Chemero, A.
Vigo, RonaldoMathematical Principles of Boolean Concept Learning (May 2008)Allen, C. (Co-Chair), Kruschke, J. (Co-Chair), Goldstone, R., Nosofsky, R., Townsend, J.
Demir, HilmiError Comes with Imagination: A Probabilistic Theory of Mental Content (August 2006) Schmitt, F. (Co-Chair), Allen, C. (Co-Chair), O'Connor, T., Weinberg, J.