Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Appoints David Danks Head of its Philosophy Department-Carnegie Mellon News - Carnegie Mellon University

Friday, April 11, 2014

Press Release: Carnegie Mellon Appoints David Danks Head of its Philosophy Department

Contact: Shilo Rea / 412-268-6094 / shilo@cmu.edu

David DanksPITTSBURGH—David Danks has been selected to head Carnegie Mellon University's Department of Philosophy, effective July 1, 2014. Danks, associate professor of philosophy and psychology, succeeds Richard Scheines, who is stepping down to become dean of the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

"David Danks is an outstanding researcher and instructor, whose work at the intersection of philosophy and psychology is unrivaled and novel," said John Lehoczky, dean of the Dietrich College. "Carnegie Mellon's Department of Philosophy is unlike any program of its kind in the U.S. because of its emphasis on research that directly impacts the real world in areas such as computer science, math, statistics, psychology, bioethics and human rights. The department further established its unique focus and strengthened its international reputation under Richard Scheines' tenure, and I am certain that David will work to ensure that philosophy will be a premier department for many years to come."

Danks has been on the CMU faculty since 2003. The majority of his research involves computational cognitive science and focuses on the nature of cognitive representations and the role that goals and challenges play in learning and reasoning.

In 2008, Danks received a coveted James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award to pursue his work on integrated casual cognition, concepts and decision-making. He began by working to develop a framework for understanding exactly what happens in these types of cognition. His findings will be released in a forthcoming book, "Unifying the Mind: Cognitive Representations as Graphical Models," that MIT Press will publish later this year.

Another area of Danks' research centers on learning causal structure from time series data, such as the data gathered in neuroimaging research. Last fall, he received a three-year NSF grant to expand the study with Sergey Plis from the Mind Research Network at the University of New Mexico.

"The Department of Philosophy is filled with great people who share a vision about what philosophy is, can be and should be," said Danks, who will also become a full professor on July 1. "The department is growing and changing, and I am looking forward to having a leadership role in making it even better. There is tremendous potential within CMU's Department of Philosophy that is under-recognized outside of the university, and I would like to help have the department appreciated for what a special, unique group it is."

For more information on Danks, visit http://www.hss.cmu.edu/philosophy/faculty-danks.php.

Related Article:
Richard Scheines Named New Dean of Carnegie Mellon's Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences

###

David Danks, pictured above, has been on the CMU faculty since 2003. The majority of his research involves computational cognitive science and focuses on the nature of cognitive representations and the role that goals and challenges play in learning and reasoning.