Meet the members of our research team.
Associate Professor & AIMS Director
Susan Schneider writes about the fundamental nature of the self and mind, especially from the vantage point of issues in philosophy of mind, AI, astrobiology, metaphysics and cognitive science. She is the Distinguished Scholar at the Library of Congress, a faculty member in YHouse, and is a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Studies in Princeton. The topics she has written about most recently include the mind-body problem, superintelligent AI, the nature of life, the mathematical nature of physics, whether the mind is a program, and the nature of the person.
Heather Battaly specializes in epistemology, ethics, and virtue theory, is one of the leading researchers in the world on the concept of intellectual humility, and is a pioneer on the topic of epistemic vice. Her work influences research in philosophy, psychology and education on intellectual humility and the teaching of intellectual character traits. She has been co-Investigator for a Templeton grant and Principal Investigator for a Spencer grant, has received various awards from Cal State Fullerton for research and teaching, and is editor in chief of the Journal of Philosophical Research as well as an Associate Editor for the Journal of the American Philosophical Association.
Tom Bontly’s research centers on several interrelated issues: the nature of mind, the basis of meaning, and the multifarious relations between both of these and the physical. My working assumption is that mental phenomena should be understood in terms of their representational properties, and that these in turn are best explained within a causal-teleological theory of content. His research interests also include various topics in metaphysics (especially the nature of causation), epistemology, metaphilosophy, the philosophy of biology, and environmental ethics.
Professor of Philosophy & Director of the Humanities Institute
Michael Patrick Lynch is a writer and professor of philosophy at the University of Connecticut, where he directs the Humanities Institute. His work concerns truth, democracy, public discourse and the ethics of technology.
Graduate Student Members
Mary Gregg is working on her PhD at UCONN. Her research focuses on tests for consciousness in borderline cases of consciousness and the implications these tests have on our interactions with artificial intelligence. She also has interests in the interaction between metaphor and perception, the role of music as a signpost for consciousness in non-traditional cases, and how and whether language shapes our conception of time, space, and identity.
Hanna Gunn is a fifth year PhD student at the University of Connecticut and a research assistant for the Humility and Conviction in Public Life project. Her research falls broadly within the area of “social philosophy” (social epistemology, philosophy of language, and feminist philosophy). She is also working on topics in the areas of Internet epistemology and Internet ethics. Other recent projects have included work on illocutionary silencing and oppression in language, supervised by Mitch Green.
Yuhan Liang’s research interests are in Chinese Philosophy, Comparative Philosophy, and Moral Problems. Her current project is about the issue of value conflicts, or more specifically, how to deal with moral dilemmas. Though the issue of moral dilemmas has been existing throughout history, AI technology raises new potential for its applicability. She is interested in the ethical problems for AI such as how should we design AI in the face of moral dilemmas. She is also interested in the more general issue of whether (and how) AI can assist humans in the project of making human society more virtuous. She aims to employ classic moral paradigms and theories in order to provide some resources in her treatment of the above problems.
Jenelle Salisbury is interested in cognitive science and its intersections with a variety of topics within philosophy of mind, language, and epistemology. She especially likes to think about the unity of consciousness (or lack thereof), self-consciousness, and the nature of semantic content. Her current project explores the concept of conscious unity and its biological bases by analyzing test cases: the split-brain case and the craniopagus case. In the former, information integration is disrupted, whereas in the latter it is enhanced. So, an analysis of these cases will aid in clarifying the relationship between information integration and conscious unity.
Cody Turner is a first year graduate student at UCONN working on the hard problem of consciousness and the question of how consciousness is related to intentionality. Three topics within this domain that he is especially captured by include Russellian monism/panpsychism, higher-order/same-order theories of consciousness, and cognitive phenomenology. He is also interested in ethical questions surrounding artificial intelligence (AI) and our treatment of animals.