Informations and abstract
Keywords: social robotics, embodiment, epistemology of the sciences of the artificial, mind-technology relation, robo-ethics.
The present article concentrates on one of the most relevant, and yet largely neglected, non-technical aspects of the introduction of social robots – its epistemological dimension. The focus is on two hypotheses, concerning the cognitive mind, that are recognized as highly influential on design, use and evaluation of social robots: the extended mind and the enactive mind hypotheses. Drawing on the related thematizations of the mind-technology relation, the article intends to illustrate how these hypotheses generate divergent theoretical and ethical approaches to human-robot social interactions, which can produce significantly different impacts on the arising mixed social ecologies. On this basis, the article emphasizes on the importance of supporting current research related to the “social sustainabilityµ of these new robots with a systematic, critical inquiry on the underlying epistemological assumptions, and promotes the establishment of a research line in epistemology dedicated to this task.