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Francesco Maurelli (Self and Infinity)

Reconstructing the naïve theory of the self

by Francesco Maurelli (Constructor University)

The concept of the self refers to the idea that humans possess something that underlies the continuity of the individual and the perception of both the individual him- or herself and the individual’s social environment. Scientific analyses commonly presuppose that something like “a self” exists and that its internal workings, its neural correlates, and its interactions with other psychological processes require investigation. We are investigating the characteristics which elicit attribution of aspects of selfhood. In particular we have four major research questions: (a) what are the behavioral core characteristics that an artificial agent needs to show in order to be attributed a self by a human observer?; (b) Can an autonomous artificial agent that shows all the relevant behavioral core characteristics be reliably distinguished from an agent controlled by a human in terms of selfhood?; (c) to which degree the core characteristics contribute to selfhood-related judgments? and (d) what are the social and behavioral consequences of attributing particular core characteristics to artificial agents? The talk will present preliminary results focusing on causality and speed.