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CLEA seminar. On Minimal Autonomous Agency: Natural and Artificial - by Alvaro Moreno

Location: VUB Etterbeek campus - room D.1.07
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This seminar will be given by Alvaro Moreno.

In his talk, Alvaro Moreno will first briefly explain the concept of autonomous agency. Second, he will develop how this idea can materialize in the simplest way. The idea of minimal agency (MA) may be understood in two senses: as the simplest agent as-we-know-it, and as the simplest agent that could exist, either synthetically or in a hypothetical process of biogenesis, that is, the simplest agent as-it-should-be. The second view is more radical, since it focuses on the simplest organizational and material conditions required for generating agential capacities, not on how they are in fact minimally instantiated. It searches for the simplest material building blocks that, either naturally or artificially, could achieve the simplest form of organization necessary to display agency. Yet, although synthetic methodologies may seem a more adequate strategy to generate minimal forms of agency, Moreno argues that the study of how the biological domain has generated agents is ultimately necessary to understand paradoxical cases of minimal agents and shows us fundamental lessons for their artificial fabrication.

The Speaker

Alvaro Moreno is Emeritus Professor at the University of the Basque Country, in Spain. Prof. Moreno is a specialist in the areas of Philosophy of Science & Philosophy of Biology, Artificial Life, Complex Systems and Philosophy of Cognitive Science, and has been the principal investigator in many funded projects (funding institutions include: the Spanish Ministry of Education and Science, Basque Government, University of the Basque Country), and participated in several others, including European research networks. He has organized many international conferences and workshops on the relationship between Artificial Life and AI, philosophy of biology, cognitive science, and complex systems at large. He is also co-founder of the Spanish Network of Cognitive Sciences and has been actively involved in the dissemination of science, like in the project for the creation of the Museum of Science in San Sebastian (Spain). He has developed, together with numerous collaborators, a distinctive interdisciplinary research line on Biological Autonomy, which bridges philosophy and science, which has obtained significant international projection. This achievement is reflected in the creation of the IAS–Research Centre for Life, Mind & Society, which has become a reference in Europe in its domain. Currently, he is an associated researcher of the Donostia International Physical Center (DIPC), where he is leading a three-year RP on “Integration and Individuation in the Origin and Evolution of Agency”, funded by the John Templeton Foundation (More info here).  


The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the VUB campus in Etterbeek, Brussels, and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!

When. Friday May 27, 2022 from 14:00 until 16:00h

Where (live). VUB campus Etterbeek, room D.1.07

Online. You can follow online via Zoom: 



Seminar Alvar Moreno