The Power of Passion

Human Reason and its Emotional Foundations

Part of the AISB Annual Convention 2017
University of Bath, UK
19-21 April 2017 The convention is organized by the Society for the Study of Artificial Intelligence and Simulation of Behaviour (AISB).

Programme - Wednesday 19 April

- all talks will be 20 minutes + 10 minutes questions/changeover -

  • Bryony Pierce / The regress-stopping role of affective valence
  • Jonathan Mitchell / On the non-conceptual content of affective-evaluative experience
  • Rachel Gunn / Emotions as evidence in the delusional experience
  • Joel Parthemore / Understanding empathy: Metaphysical starting assumptions in the modelingof empathy and emotions
  • Mauricio Iza / Computing emotions on discourse
  • Marios Belk, Antonis Kakas, and George Samaras / Reconciling hot and cold cognition in persuasive technologies
  • Michael Szollosy / Irrational machines: Robots, humans and the monsters of reason
  • Xijing Wang and Eva Krumhuber / Described robot functionality impacts emotionexperience attributions
  • Claudios Gros / Transhuman intelligences will be hyperemotional

The Cognitive Modeling of Emotion symposium will continue on Thursday-Friday.


Emotions hold powerful sway over most people -- on some accounts, even (or perhaps especially) psychopaths. Otherwise "reasonable" people quit jobs, change careers, seek out affairs with much older or much younger persons, leave seemingly contented and successful relationships, have mid-life crises, take serious or even life-threatening risks, leap into the unknown, forswear their stable certainties: all on the basis of their feelings. People are dependent on powerful emotions for their mental well being, and yet powerful emotions are intimately bound up with -- and one of the driving forces behind -- most if not all mental health disorders. Emotions provide the reasons for people to get out of bed each morning, and likewise the reasons why some people take their own lives. Given the power they wield, it is little wonder that emotions sit so uncomfortably with people's view of themselves as "reasonable" creatures. A long-standing tradition in philosophical rationalism holds that emotions and reason are quite different things, if not in fact diametrically opposed. Such a view informs the attempt some would make to distinguish emotions from motivations and to claim for example that AI systems need to take account only of the latter, not the former. The empiricist tradition has long challenged the rationalist view, however, while recent work in the enactive tradition has pushed the idea that, just as agent is ultimately inseparable from (or continuous with) environment, so, too, are emotions inseparable from reason. Indeed, many would claim that evolutionarily ancient emotions provide the necessary foundations for modern reason and that reason without emotions is not just unmotivated but no reason at all. Such a view has important consequences for how one builds robots and other AI systems and whether one judges them to be reasoning or not. It has implications for how cognitive science builds models of mind. And it suggests the outline of a path from low-level neuroscience to high-level intellectual activity. This symposium seeks both to encourage theoretical discussions about the consequences of giving emotions and affect a more central role in the sciences of the mind and to report the available empirical work to date, with equal weight to each. It seeks to address both the big questions of why people do the "crazy" things they do and the small questions of what makes one model better than another. Suitable topics include:
  • The relationship between emotions and "high-level" cognition.
  • The relationship between emotions and mental health.
  • The role of emotions and affect in mental disorders.
  • Does motivation require emotion?
  • The evolutionary origins of emotions and affect.
  • The use (and potential abuse) of robots and other AI systems to trigger "automatic" emotional responses.
  • Is it possible for an intelligent, self-conscious agent not to have emotions? What would this mean?
  • What is the relationship between "artificial" and "actual" emotions?
  • What impact does the increasing presence of robots -- including "carer" robots -- in society have on people's emotional health and children's emotional development?
The symposium welcomes submissions of both full papers and abstracts addressing these and related questions.
Our companion symposium on computation and modelling of emotion, can be found at The symposia will run sequentially.
Sidansvarig: itht.luse | 2017-03-13