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Keywords:

  • autonomous robots;
  • LEGO®;
  • MINDSTORMS™;
  • philosophy of mind;
  • teaching critical thinking;
  • teaching logic

In this essay I discuss how I built a cognitive-robotics lab using inexpensive LEGO® MINDSTORMS™ robot kits. The lab has provided pedagogical and research opportunities for a number of philosophy courses, and I briefly describe the results of those efforts. I also describe how one might build a similar lab. Philosophers need to be more directly involved in the field of robotics. There is much work to do in tidying up the philosophical debris left by the last wave of robotics research, which the researchers have been unwilling or unable to do themselves. The major barriers to participation have been hardware costs and a lack of technical expertise among most philosophers. In recent years, though, these barriers have become less of a problem. At the end, I present some ideas about the kinds of experiments that such kits make possible and how to expand beyond the limitations of the basic LEGO® hardware.