Philosophy and Artificial Intelligence
Aaron Sloman

The slides used for my lecture on Philosophy and AI can be found here as promised:
They are available in several formats including a PDF file.
(The slides were written using Latex).
There are many more slides than I presented in the lecture, some of which may be of interest to students wishing to find out more about philosophy and how it can interact with AI.

My talks website has many other slide presentations that you are welcome to use.

The Birmingham Cognition and Affect website has many papers and PhD theses on it.

There is a robotics project called 'CoSy', funded by the Euorpean Community which involves 7 Universities in different places, and which I hope will address some of the philosophical issues mentioned in my talk. The Birmingham website for CoSy is Take a look at this partial specification of the tasks in designing the robot called 'PlayMate'.

The reactive/deliberative sheepdog demo shown at the beginning of the lecture was implemented using the SimAgent toolkit, described in:
This toolkit is written in Pop11 and makes use of several extensions to Pop11, including ObjectClass (which provides object-oriented programming using multiple-inheritance), RCLIB (which provides 2-D graphical interface tools, POPRULEBASE (which provides a sophicated package for multi-threaded rule-based programming), and the SimAgent library which puts all the pieces together. The toolkit has been used in many undergraduate projects. It is included as part of Poplog (on the school DVD) and is available on our linux PCs and Suns. There are some demo movies (non-interactive) here:

If you use the toolkit or Pop11 to develop something you would like to make available for future students to play with and learn from, let me know and we can try to arrange details.

Did anyone manage to work out the proof that there are infinitely many prime numbers. The clue I gave you in the lecture was to assume that there is a largest prime number P, say, and use that assumption to derive a contradiction by showing how to create a larger one. It will help if you know what the factorial of a number is.

It will also help if you remember that given any number N there is a mechanical procedure for finding the smallest number (bigger than 1) that divides N, and that number must be prime. (Why?)


Please remember: if you sit passively listening in lectures you will not remember anything later: you need to be active in some way, e.g. taking rough notes on the content of the lecture, and then later that day or the next day, take your notes and re-write them in a more coherent form. After that you can throw them away: the point is not to have the notes in the end, but to engage with the notes by doing something active. That's how you will learn -- and stretch your minds, which is presumably what you came to University to do.

If you think I should provide any more information on this web page, please let me know.

Aaron (

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Last updated: 27 Oct 2005