R&R 2020

Representation and Reality In Humans, Other Living Organisms and Machines.

New Directions

April 6-9, 2020

St Mary's University, London


Our symposium is the continuation of a series of events starting with the symposium “Computing Nature” organized at the AISB/IACAP World Congress 2012 and “Representation of Reality: Humans, Animals and Machines” in the AISB50 Convention at Goldsmith 2014. We would like to offer an occasion to discuss new directions in the development of understanding of representation as a means of sense-making and communication. It is closely related to the question what capacities can be plausibly computed and what are the most promising approaches that try to solve the problem.

Call For Papers

We would like to invite researchers with different perspectives and deep insights into the various faces of the relationship between reality and representation in humans, other animals and machines. How can we find a common link between reality-constructing agents like us humans with language ability and social structure that define our agency, other living organisms from bacteria to plants and animals communicating and processing information in a variety of ways, with machines, physical and virtual?

We aim to discuss the topic from different perspectives (cognitive, computational, philosophical, logical and machine-centered) to stimulate a lively discussion among experts.

We suggest three main foci for the symposium, with the related topics:

(1) The discussion of the current developments of the classical debate between representationalism and anti-representationalism with the question of in what sense it can be argued that cognition relies on representations mirroring reality, with its assumptions and constraints and in what way is it an adaptive form of dynamics based on the interaction of an agent with the environment – again under which conditions and on what levels of description. We aim at presenting diverse current perspectives and multidisciplinary explication of the topic.

(2) A fruitful strategy to analyze the problem of representation from a philosophical and cognitive science perspective implies the comparison between human and machine capacities and skills. Searle presented an interesting theory of representation based on the mind’s capacities to represent objects and to the linguistic capacities to extend the representation to social entities. We invite new developments in this field. For the topic of machine representation, current results in AI, AL, and cognitive and developmental robotics are of high interest.

(3) Evolutionary aspects of the development of increasingly complex capacities in (embodied, embedded) living organisms to process information in the interaction with the environment and as a consequence development of new morphological structures – processes of morphogenesis and meta-morphogenesis which we want to elucidate from the multiple disciplinary and interdisciplinary perspectives, from philosophy to neuroscience and computational approaches and cognitive science.

Paper Submission Instructions

All submissions must be original and not simultaneously submitted to another journal or conference.

Extended abstracts for this symposium will be sent to EasyChair.

Important Dates

Extended abstract submission deadline: January 10, 2020

Notification of acceptance: February 10, 2018

Camera ready: March 2

Proceedings: March 16

Symposium: April 6-9, 2020

Conference website



Submission link


Invited Speakers

Gordana Dodig-Crnkovic (Chalmers and University of Gothenburg)

Lorenzo Magnani (University of Pavia)

Dean Petters (University of Birmingham)

Michael D. Barber (St Louis University)

Susan Stepney (University of York)

Giuseppe Vitello (University of Salerno)

Hector Zenil (Oxford University)

Zoran Konkoli (Chalmers)

Program Committee

Marcin Miłkowski (Institute of Philosophy and Sociology of the Polish Academy of Sciences)

Marcin Schroeder (University of Tohoku, Japan)

Beatrice Fazi (University of Sussex)

Claudia Stancati (University of Calabria)

Giusy Gallo (university of Calabria)

Robert Lowe (University of Gothenburg)

Flavia Marcacci (Lateran University)

Gianfranco Basti (Lateran University)

Raffaela Giovagnoli (Lateran University).

Symposium Organizers

Raffaela Giovagnoli, Pontifical Lateran University, giovagnoli@pul.it

Robert Lowe, University of Gothenburg, robert.lowe@ait.gu.se

Gianfranco Basti, Pontifical Lateran University, IRAFS, basti@pul.