Carnegie Mellon University

David Danks

David Danks

L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology
Department Head, Philosophy


Dr. David Danks is L.L. Thurstone Professor of Philosophy and Psychology, and Head of the Department of Philosophy, at Carnegie Mellon University. He is also an associate/adjunct member of: the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition (CMU); the Center for Advanced Study of Language (Univ. of Maryland); and both the Department of History & Philosophy of Science and Center for Philosophy of Science (Univ. of Pittsburgh). He has received a James S. McDonnell Foundation Scholar Award, as well as funding from the NSF and NIH. Before arriving at CMU, he received an A.B. in Philosophy from Princeton University, an M.A. and Ph.D. in Philosophy from University of California, San Diego, and was a Research Scientist at the Florida Institute for Human & Machine Cognition.

His interests largely fall at the intersection of philosophy, cognitive science, and machine learning, using ideas and frameworks from each to inform the others. His primary research is in computational cognitive science: developing fully-specified computational models to describe, predict, and most importantly, explain human behavior. The fullest expression of that work can be found in his book, Unifying the Mind: Cognitive Representations as Graphical Models (2014; The MIT Press). More recently, his research has turned towards the role of humans in cyber-systems, with a particular emphasis on ethical challenges and opportunities during cyber-conflicts. He has published widely in philosophy, psychology, and computer science.