Maud van Lier
Portrait: Maud van Lier (Foto: Ilka Reiter)

Maud van Lier

Akademische Mitarbeiterin

Since 2021, I have been an academic staff member and PhD candidate at the Department of Philosophy. My research is embedded in the interdisciplinary project on “The future of creativity in basic research: Can artificial agents be authors of scientific discoveries?”, which is supervised by Prof. Thomas Müller, University of Konstanz, Germany, and Prof. Hans Briegel, University of Innsbruck, Austria. The project aims at laying the conceptual foundations for AI-driven science by connecting methods and techniques from philosophy, quantum physics, and AI.

In the attempt to conceptually clarify the foundations of truly autonomous AI-driven research, my research will center around the question whether one could attribute some form of agency to these automated systems and what this would entail. If such automated systems can truly count as the ‘drivers’ of such research, could this driving then not be seen as an act of which the automated system is the agent? 

Within action theory, the focus has mainly been on human agents. However, new approaches in animal studies and in ethics show an interest in broadening this notion of agency to include animals and maybe even automated systems. During my research I will take part in this relatively new development by thinking about whether and in what way the notion of agency could be expanded to include artificial agency. However, where most accounts of agency focus on the moral consequences of attributing such agency, I want to develop an account of artificial agency that is morally neutral and fairly generally applicable.

My background in the fields of Philosophy of (techno-)Science, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy of Risk and Responsible Innovation, all provide me with a diverse and broad background for my current interests in the philosophical implications of technological innovations.

I also have a bachelor in English Literature and Culture, and, as a side-project, I am currently looking at the way in which writers can construct a narrative that allows us to think about the possible consequences of current technological innovations.


Entangling embodiment and collaboration: a new approach to artificial agency
Creating Agency and Cognition in Automated Systems: What can we learn from the Octopus? - International Hybrid Workshop, University of Konstanz
17 May 2022, 17:10 - 18:00 p.m.
University of Konstanz (hybrid)

Introducing a four-fold way to conceptualize artificial agency
OZSW 2021 Conference, Tilburg
03 December 2021, 4:30 - 5:00 p.m.
Tilburg, the Netherlands

Trust in Computational Technologies
OZSW Graduate Conference in Theoretical Philosophy 2021
22 April 2021, 10:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Delft University of Technology and Eindhoven University of Technology (online)

Understanding Technological Innovation through Imagination
SPT Conference 2021 - Technological Imaginaries
29 June 2021, 5:00 -7:00 p.m.
University of Lille (online)