CFP: The boundaries of mind and cognition. Humans, machines, and other animals

As machines become capable of carrying out increasingly complex tasks, researchers are increasingly convinced they provide an ideal starting point for better understanding the nature of the human mind. The mind as software analogy is foundational in classical cognitive science. It has inspired much of the research carried out in the field of cognitive psychology and continues to directly or indirectly inspire a number of theories on how cognitive processes are implemented in the brain.

The widespread use of notions such as “encoding of information” and “computations on representations” illustrates the way in which this analogy has permeated our ways of conceiving of thought and its operations. In spite of – or maybe precisely by virtue of – the wide diffusion of this analogy, the classical cognitivist mind-software analogy has always been the subject of great controversy and has spurred alternative lines of research such as concessionism, cognitive neuroscience, and neuroinformatics, on the one hand, and embodied, embedded, and extended cognition, on the other.

Criticisms directed at both the mind/software analogy and alternative perspectives are essential for future research on thought and cognition and they constitute a pivotal point for the epistemological and philosophical debate on the nature of the mind and subjectivity as well as their borders and distinctive features.

The Rivista internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia and Società italiana di Neuroetica e Filosofia delle Neuroscienze aim to promote discussion on these topics and encourage all interested scholars to submit original papers devoted primarily, if not exclusively, to the following issues.

Computers, neural networks, and hybrid systems as models for the simulation of human cognition: whether cognitive models based on artificial intelligence and artificial life are adequate for understanding and simulating human knowledge; the efficacy of notions such as “computation”, “encoding of information” and “vector coding” for describing the cognitive processes of human and non-human animals; the hypotheses of Embodied Cognition and Embedded Cognition as alternative perspectives to classic cognitivism for understanding the bases of animal knowledge; types and taxonomies of cognitive processes in living beings and computational machines; descriptive and normative aspects of cognitive processes; the social and ethical implications of the various approaches to cognition, with special reference to the ethical status of non-human animals and intelligent machines.

Extended mind: the nature and borders of the notions of “mind” and “mental content”; the criteria for identifying the processes and contents that constitute knowledge: the extended emotion hypothesis and its implications for our understanding of psychopathologies and clinical practice; new conceptual hypotheses inspired by recent scientific and technological developments and the pragmatic consequences of pushing the boundaries of cognition from brains to machines and/or the environment.

Human and animal intelligence: the adequacy of cognitive models based on artificial intelligence for understanding and simulating knowledge acquisition in human and non-human animals; elements of continuity/discontinuity between the cognition of humans and other animals; the alleged uniqueness of human cognition; creativity and teleology as distinctive features of higher cognition.

Manuscript preparation and submission

Manuscripts should not exceed 9,000 words (including footnotes) and must be submitted through the online submission procedure available on the journal internet site by November 15th, 2020.

Manuscripts written in Italian or English will be considered for publication. An English abstract of max. 150 words and 5 English key-words must be provided. Please, insert the code “Moral2019” in the box “Communications to the Editor” in the online submission form (Step 1). Two separate documents should be submitted. The first document must be anonymous and contain only the manuscript and abstract without any identifying information about the author(s). A second document (called the “supplementary file”) must be submitted separately (Step 3) and include pictures, tabs, title, abstract, the whole manuscript as well as the author(s)’ names, affiliations, e-mails, and postal addresses.

After a preliminary assessment by the Editorial Board, submissions undergo a doubleblind peer review process. For instructions on how to prepare the manuscript, click on the link “How to ensure a blind review” available on the internet site. The decision will be communicated to the authors within 6 weeks after submission. After manuscript acceptance, an authors’ guideline will be provided for copyediting the final version of the manuscript.

For further information, please email Sandro Nannini (, Luigi Pastore ( or Andrea Lavazza (