University of Otago emblem    Department of Philosophy

JAMES MACLAURIN

photo of Maclaurin
PROFESSOR
CO-DIRECTOR Centre for AI and Public Policy
  • PhD ANU (1998)
  • MA Victoria (1994)
  • BA (Hons) Victoria (1992)

RESEARCH
TEACHING

James is a philosopher of science with particular interest in computing and information science (particularly artificial intelligence and it’s impact on humanity) and in the life sciences (especially ecology and evolutionary biology). He is a graduate of Victoria University of Wellington and his PhD is from the Australian National University (RSSS). He has taught at the Australian National University, the University of Melbourne and Victoria University of Wellington where he was a Marsden Post Doctoral Fellow. He is a co-director of the Centre for Artificial Intelligence and Public Policy. He was appointed University Public Orator in 2019.

He is an organiser (with Colin Gavighan and Ali Knott) of the University of Otago’s Artificial Intelligence and Society Group as well as a PI with Colin and Ali on the “Artificial Intelligence and Law in New Zealand” project funded by the New Zealand Law Foundation. His other research centres on Philosophy of Biology (where he has written on innateness, fitness, theoretical morphology, and biological diversity) and on the application of evolutionary principles in other domains such as philosophy of time, computer science and economics. He has also written on metaphilosophy. He is co-author with Kim Sterelny of What is Biodiversity? (University of Chicago Press); co-author of the forthcoming Citizen's Guide to Artificial Intelligence (MIT Press); editor of Rationis Defensor: Essays in Honour of Colin Cheyne (2012, Springer); and co-editor of A New Science of Religion (2012, Routledge) with Greg Dawes.

For examples of his popular writing and speaking, see Applied Philosophy: Wait. What?, How to have an argument with someone you just don’t get and Eight job myths about Artificial Intelligence.