Research Unit for





Philosophical and Transdisciplinary Enquiries into Social Robotics


“Social robots” are robotic devices that are designed to engage humans in social interactions, by presenting themselves—in appearance or behavior—as intelligent social agents.  The goal of building robots that participate in the space of human social interaction raises technological, empirical, and normative questions. 

The Research Unit for Robophilosophy (RUR) has been established in 2012 in order to address research questions in social robotics that require expertise in various philosophical disciplines, including the new area of intercultural philosophy of technology. 

Robophilosophy, which we have defined as "philosophy of, for, and by social robotics," is a new area of interdisciplinary and partly experimental philosophy that participates in, and facilitates, the integration of  empirical and normative research in the Humanities and Human sciences (anthropology, psychology, cognitive science, linguistics, phenomenology, ontology, knowledge representation, ethics) into social robotics research and engineering.

Social robotics is not only among the socially most relevant research areas for scholars in the Humanities, it also marks a new relationship between technology and the Humanities--social robotics needs the Humanities to inform the development of technological design, but it also offers new insights on the conditions of human interaction.  The Research Unit for Robophilosophy undertakes targeted research projects (PENSOR, ISOR, ANOTHER) but also serves as a platform for research exchange--we coordinate the "Robophilosophy Conference Series" and the Research Network for Transdisciplinary Studies in Social Robotics (TRANSOR).

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Latest news

2016.02.01 | Research news

Book publication: Social Robots: Boundaries, Potential, Challenges

This edited volume contributes to the field of social robotics by exploring its boundaries, potential, and Challenges from a philosophically informed standpoint.

2015.01.19 | Research news

Conference Proceedings: Sociable Robots and the Future of Social Relations

The conference proceedings of Robo-Philosophy 2014 Conference has just been published by IOS Press in 'Frontiers in Artificial Intelligence and Applications'.

Hiroshi Ishiguro @AU 2012


  • ATR - Hiroshi Ishiguro Laboratory
  • Technucation
  • SOSU Nord - Future Lab