Should Empathic Social Robots Have Interiority?

  • Luisa Damiano
  • Paul Dumouchel
  • Hagen Lehmann
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 7621)


In this article we discuss whether robots need "interiority" in order to competently participate in emotional and empathic dynamics with human partners. We draw on original research on emotions, mind, neurophysiological mechanisms of social interaction and HRI to contest the common sense thesis according to which robots without "interiority" can only simulate emotions and empathy, to the extent that the affective (emotional and empathic) relationships between them and humans would not be authentic. The main thesis of our article is that empathic social robots do not need “interiority”, but the ability of dynamical coordination with their social partners and the surrounding environment(s), since this ability (and not “interiority”) is at the basis of human cognitive and affective (emotional and empathic) activity.


artificial social agents artificial empathy autonomy emotions embodied mind extended mind radical embodiment 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Luisa Damiano
    • 1
  • Paul Dumouchel
    • 2
  • Hagen Lehmann
    • 3
  1. 1.Epistemology of the Sciences of the Artificial Research Group, Department of Human and Social SciencesUniversity of BergamoBergamoItaly
  2. 2.Graduate School of Core Ethics and Frontier SciencesRitsumeikan UniversityKita-kuJapan
  3. 3.Adaptive Systems Research Group, School of Computer Science and STCAUniversity of HertfordshireHatfieldUnited Kingdom

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