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Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University

David Danks is a professor of philosophy & psychology and Head of the Department of Philosophy at Carnegie Mellon University, where he is also a member of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition. His research lies at the intersection of philosophy, cognitive science, and machine learning, using ideas and frameworks from each to inform the others. A major focus of his research has been the development of a computational cognitive architecture that encompasses multiple cognitive processes and domains. This work is detailed in his book Unifying the mind (MIT Press, 2014), and was supported by a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award. Danks has also worked to develop methods, partly inspired by human learning abilities, to learn about the causal structure of the world from complex data, and has applied those methods in a wide range of scientific domains. Most recently, he has been examining ethical, psychological, and policy issues that arise around the introduction of autonomous technologies (such as self-driving cars), with the aim of ensuring that our practices remain human-centric, rather than technology-centric. Danks is a member of the McDonnell Foundation Advisory Board for Understanding Human Cognition, on the editorial board for two journals, and has served on numerous review committees. He received a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of California, San Diego, and an A.B. in Philosophy from Princeton University.


  • –present
    Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, Carnegie Mellon University


  • 2001 
    University of California, San Diego, PhD