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Agent Tracking and Its Disorders

A Multidisciplinary Workshop on the Identification and Tracking of Human Individuals

17-18, 20-21 June 2011, Macquarie University



Numerous studies in cognitive science, philosophy, and social sciences appeal to concepts derived from the notion of tracking individual things or natural kinds. The term ‘tracking’ and its cognates (such as ‘identification’, ‘keeping track’, ‘monitoring’, or ‘surveillance’) are often used to describe aspects of our ability to individuate, identify and locate individual things in the world, and respond to their changes over time. Recent research has investigated (i) the perceptual and attentional tracking of animates or inanimates, (ii) the tracking of referents of terms such as indexicals or demonstratives, (iii) the ontogeny of conceptual identification, (iv) the modularity and evolutionary history of folk psychology and agent tracking, (v) the pathologies of human beliefs about personal identity, and (vi) the characteristics of scientific reasoning akin to tracking or truth-tracking. Drawing on the insights provided by these studies, this workshop is aimed at addressing two fundamental problems. First, how do such variegated kinds of tracking support our ability to interact with others and understand their actions or mental states? Second, how do errors or dysfunctions in agent tracking relate to cognitive or social disorders? This workshop will bring together experts in cognitive science, philosophy, and the social sciences in order to investigate how and why our abilities and disabilities in discovering truths about people through the tracking of their faces, bodies, effects, locations, or minds relate to fundamental epistemological, psychological, and societal issues.

Keynote address

  • Professor Peter Carruthers (Philosophy, University of Maryland, USA)

Confirmed presenters - 17, 18 and 20 June 2011, Agent Tracking and Its Disorders (alphabetic order)

Professor Peter Carruthers (Philosophy, University of Maryland), Professor Max Coltheart (MACCS, Macquarie University), Professor Stephen Crain (CLaS and MACCS, Macquarie University), Professor Katherine Demuth (MACCS and Language Sciences, Macquarie University), Professor Gary Edmond (Law, University of New South Wales), Reader Philip Gerrans (Philosophy, University of Adelaide), Professor Paul E. Griffiths (Philosophy, University of Sydney), Dr. Jakob Hohwy (Philosophy, Monash University), Dr. Todd S. Horowitz (Visual Attention Laboratory, Harvard Medical School), Professor Jeanette Kennett (MACCS and Philosophy, Macquarie University), Associate Professor Drew Khlentzos (Language and Cognition Research Centre, University of New England), Associate Professor Robyn Langdon (MACCS, Macquarie University), Dr. Glenn Porter (Forensic Science, University of Western Sydney), ARC Fellow Dr. Anina Rich (MACCS, Macquarie University), Professor Virginia Slaughter (Psychology, University of Queensland), Associate Professor George Terzis (Philosophy, Saint Louis University, USA), Dr. Nicole Vincent (Philosophy, Macquarie University), Associate Professor Colin Wastell (Psychology, Macquarie University), Associate Professor Mark Williams (MACCS, Macquarie University).

Please click on this link for further information.

Confirmed presenters, 21 June 2011, Human Nature, Tracking, and Cognitive Architecture

Responses to Peter Carruthers’ Philosophy of Cognition and Science. Assistant Professor Vincent Bergeron (Philosophy, University of Ottawa, Canada), Dr. Patrick McGivern (Philosophy, University of Wollongong), Dr. Richard Menary (Philosophy, University of Wollongong), Dr. Dominic Murphy (Philosophy, University of Sydney), ARC Fellow Dr. Karola Stotz (Philosophy, University of Sydney). Conference ending: Professor Peter Carruthers (Philosophy, University of Maryland).

Agent Tracking Graduate Conference, 18 June 2011: Call for papers and posters.


Dates and venue

17-18 and 20-21 June 2011, at Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Organizer and contact for further information

Dr Nicolas Bullot (MACCS, Macquarie University)


Further Information

Contact Details

Telephone: +61 2 9850 4127
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