Cognitive Ecologies, Values, and Disruptive Technologies
Call for abstracts

8–9 November 2023
NOVA University Lisbon, Portugal

Confirmed speakers to include:

  • David Spurrett (University of Kwazulu-Natal)
  • Gloria Andrada (NOVA University Lisbon)
  • Jesus Vega-Encabo (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
  • John Sutton (University of Stirling & Macquarie University)
  • Lucy Osler (Cardiff University)
  • Robert W Clowes (NOVA University Lisbon)

The Lisbon Mind, Cognition and Knowledge Group, in collaboration with the GENAI Project, is excited to announce the workshop on Cognitive Ecologies, Values, and Disruptive Technologies. This intellectually stimulating event will take place on the 8th and 9th of November 2023 at NOVA University Lisbon.

Workshop Focus

The concept of cognitive ecology has found diverse applications, offering valuable insights into the interplay between human cognition, affect and agency and its relationship and dependence on technology, and the environment (Tribble and Sutton 2011, Hutchins 2010). In the last thirty years, we have lived through a period of accumulation of rapid technologies such as the mobile internet, GPS, smart phones, social networks and now Generative AI. Such technologies have already reshaped human cognition as we have come to rely on them in a variety of ways (Smart, Heersmink, and Clowes 2017, Smart, Clowes, and Heersmink 2017, Clowes 2019, Krueger and Osler 2019). Many can be classed as disruptive technologies, not just because they change the way we do things, but, from a 4E cognition perspective, they can also change the way we think, remember, act and feel. Especially in the context of recent discussion of “hostile scaffolding” (Timms and Spurrett 2023), how should we think of the qualitative and ethical implications of our cognitive dependence and a new order of ‘smart’ technologies?

The rapidly adoption of a new kind of cognitive technology, namely Generative AI, makes the understanding of the cognitive implications of (disruptive) technological change more essential than ever. This workshop aims to provide a platform for multidisciplinary discussions bridging technology, cognition, and values within various ecological contexts.

Themes for Submission

We invite extended abstract submissions of up to 500 words that explore the intricate relationships between cognitive ecologies, disruptive technologies, and human values. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to:

  • The relationship between human agency and cognitive ecology. Scaffolding theory and its application to understanding the effects of technology on cognition. The theoretical relationships between cognitive ecology, niche construction and related concepts. What granularity of analysis of cognitive ecology do we need? In which different contexts?
  • The relationship between cognitive ecologies and values. Do cognitive ecologies carry values, and if so in what ways? Can we say which values they carry?
  • The role of technology in shaping individual and collective decision-making and value systems.
  • Societal, cultural, and philosophical perspectives on cognitive ecologies and technology.
  • Ethical considerations in the development and deployment of technologies such as wearable devices, smart phones and watches, tracking apps etc. What lessons we may take from the history of such devices to Generative AI.
  • Cognitive and social implications of AI systems in different ecological contexts.
  • Should Generative AI be considered as a new sort of cognitive ecology? What influence can we expect on human cognition, affect and behaviour? What scope do human beings have to shape this influence? Can we ensure human beings and human minds can flourish against the background of technologies like Generative AI?

Submission Guidelines

Please submit extended abstracts (up to 500 words excluding references) that contribute to the understanding of cognitive ecologies and disruptive technologies. Submissions should be sent to no later than September 23rd. Please follow the APA citation style in your submissions.

Important Dates:

  • Submission Deadline: 23 September 2023
  • Notification of Acceptance: 29 September
  • Workshop Dates: 8–9 November 2023

Contact Information: For inquiries and additional information, and also to submit abstracts please contact:

Join us in exploring the dynamic intersection of cognitive ecologies, values, and disruptive technologies. We look forward to receiving your contributions to this workshop.

Organized by the Lisbon Mind, Cognition and Knowledge Group, hosted by NOVA University of Lisbon, in the context of the GENAI Project.


Clowes, Robert W. 2019. “Screen reading and the creation of new cognitive ecologies.” AI & SOCIETY (34):705–720. doi:

Hutchins, Edwin. 2010. “Cognitive ecology.” Topics in Cognitive Science 2 (4):705-715.

Krueger, Joel, and Lucy Osler. 2019. “Engineering affect: Emotion Regulation, the Internet, and the Techno-Social Niche.” Philosophical Topics 47 (2):205-232.

Smart, Paul R, Robert W Clowes, and Richard Heersmink. 2017. “Minds Online: The Interface between Web Science, Cognitive Science and the Philosophy of Mind.” Foundations and Trends in Web Science 6 (1-2):1-232. doi:

Smart, Paul R, Richard Heersmink, and Robert W Clowes. 2017. “The Cognitive Ecology of the The Internet.” In Cognition Beyond the Brain, 2nd Edition, edited by S. J. Cowley and Frédéric  Vallée-Tourangeau, 251-282. Springer.

Timms, Ryan, and David Spurrett. 2023. “Hostile Scaffolding.” Philosophical Papers:1-30.
Tribble, Evelyn, and John Sutton. 2011. “Cognitive ecology as a framework for Shakespearean studies.” Shakespeare Studies 39.