Susan Schneider

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Susan Schneider is an American philosopher and cognitive scientist. She is a Distinguished Scholar at the U.S. Library of Congress, a professor at The University of Connecticut, a faculty member in the Ethics and Technology Group at the Yale Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics, and a visiting member of the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton. She is also a recipient of the National Endowment for the Humanities Public Scholar Award.

Schneider contends that the most intelligent alien beings we encounter will be "postbiological in nature", being forms of artificial intelligence, that they would be superintelligent, and that we can predict what the shape of some of these superintelligences would be like.[1][2] Her reason for the claim that the most intelligent aliens will be "postbiological" is called the "short window observation." The short-window supposition holds that by the time any society learns to transmit radio signals, they're likely just a few hundred years from upgrading their own biology.[1]

Schneider defends a view of the nature of the mental symbols (where such are the basic vocabulary items in the language of thought). She then used this conception of symbols, together with certain work on the nature of meaning, to construct a theory of the nature of concepts.[3] The basic theory of concepts is intended to be ecumenical, having a version that applies in the case of connectionism, as well as versions that apply to both the prototype theory and definitions view of concepts.[4]

Schneider's work has come to the attention of numerous publications including The New York Times, Wired Magazine, Smithsonian, Big Think, 3 Quarks Daily, Discover Magazine, Science Magazine, Motherboard, Slate, and Popular Mechanics.[5][6][7][8][9]


  • The Language of Thought: a New Philosophical Direction, MIT Press, 2011.
  • The Blackwell Companion to Consciousness, (with Max Velmans), eds., Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2006.
  • Science Fiction and Philosophy, Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009.


  1. ^ a b Stone, Maddie. "The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots". Motherboard. Vice. Retrieved 26 June 2015.
  2. ^ "If we ever meet aliens, they'll probably be robots". Archived from the original on 2015-12-24. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  3. ^ Rupert, Robert D. (2008-03-01). "Frege's puzzle and Frege cases: Defending a quasi-syntactic solution". Cognitive Systems Research. Perspectives on Social Cognition. 9 (1–2): 76–91. doi:10.1016/j.cogsys.2007.07.003.
  4. ^ Figdor, Carrie. "Susan Schneider, "The Language of Thought: A New Philosophical Direction" (MIT Press, 2011)". Archived from the original on 2015-09-20. Retrieved 2015-10-26.
  5. ^ "Can Humanism Survive the Coming Transhumanist Revolution?". Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  6. ^ "Mind & Self in the Transhumanist Age". Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  7. ^ "I Compute, Therefore I Am - Science Not Fiction". Science Not Fiction. Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  8. ^ "La forme dominante de vie dans le cosmos est probablement celle de super robots". (in French). Retrieved 2015-10-17.
  9. ^ "The Dominant Life Form in the Cosmos Is Probably Superintelligent Robots". Motherboard. Retrieved 2015-10-17.

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