Department of Philosophy

Richard Heersmink

BSc Saxion Hogeschool, MA Twente, PhD MacquarieRichard Heersmink

After graduating in both Biotechnology and Biochemistry, Richard completed a Master's degree in Philosophy of Science, Technology, and Society. He then worked as a junior researcher in computer and information ethics. In July 2014, Richard obtained his PhD in which he tried to better understand the variety of situated cognitive systems consisting of embodied human agents and cognitive artifacts. He developed a taxonomy of cognitive artifacts based on classification systems in biology and archaeology, (2) a multidimensional framework to conceptualize cognitive integration between humans and artifacts based on complementarity-based extended mind theory, and (3) applied the taxonomy and multidimensional framework to specific cases of agent-artifact interaction in biological practice. Currently, he is a lecturer in philosophy, teaching courses in philosophy of mind, philosophy of cognitive science, and metaphysics.

Research interests

Richard works at the intersection of philosophy of cognitive science, philosophy of technology, and philosophy of science. His current research interests include:

  • Extended/distributed cognition and technology
  • Memory, self and technology
  • Neuroethics and the cognitive enhancement debate
  • Moral aspects of cognitive artifacts


Reviewed journal papers
  • Heersmink, R. (In press). The Narrative Self, Distributed Memory, and Evocative Objects. Philosophical Studies. DOI: 10.1007/s11098-017-0935-0.
  • Heersmink, R. & Carter, J.A. (In press). The Philosophy of Memory Technologies: Metaphysics, Knowledge, and Values. Memory Studies. DOI: 10.1177/1750698017703810
  • Heersmink, R. (In press). Distributed Selves: Personal Identity and Extended Memory Systems. Synthese. DOI: 10.1007/s11229-016-1102-4.
  • Heersmink, R. (2017). Extended Mind and Cognitive Enhancement: Moral Aspects of Cognitive Artifacts. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 16(1), 17-32.
  • Heersmink, R. (2017). Distributed Cognition and Distributed Morality: Agency, Artifacts and Systems. Science and Engineering Ethics, 23(2), 431-448.
  • Heersmink, R. (2016). The Internet, Cognitive Enhancement, and the Values of Cognition. Minds and Machines, 26(4), 389-407.
  • Heersmink, R. (2016). The Cognitive Integration of Scientific Instruments: Information, Situated Cognition and Scientific Practice. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 15(4), 517-537.
  • Heersmink, R. (2016). The Metaphysics of Cognitive Artifacts. Philosophical Explorations, 19(1), 78-93.
  • Heersmink, R. (2014). Dimensions of Integration in Embedded and Extended Cognitive Systems. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences, 14(3), 577-598.
  • Heersmink, R. (2013). A Taxonomy of Cognitive Artifacts: Function, Information, and Categories. Review of Philosophy and Psychology, 4(3), 465-481.
  • Heersmink, R. (2013). Embodied Tools, Cognitive Tools and Brain-Computer Interfaces. Neuroethics, 6(1), 207-219.
  • Heersmink, R. (2012). Defending Extension Theory: A Response to Kiran and Verbeek. Philosophy and Technology, 25(1), 121-128.
  • Heersmink, R., van den Hoven, J., van Eck, N. J. & van den Berg, J. (2011). Bibliometric Mapping of Computer and Information Ethics. Ethics and Information Technology, 13(3), 241-249.
  • Stahl, B.C., Heersmink, R., Goujon, P., Flick, C., van den Hoven, J., Wakunuma, K.J., Ikonen, V. & Rader, M. (2010). Identifying the Ethics of Emerging Information and Communication Technologies: An Essay on Issues, Concepts and Method. International Journal of Technoethics, (1)4, 20-38.
  • Stahl, B.C., Heersmink, R., Goujon, P., Flick, C., van den Hoven, J., Wakunuma, K.J., Ikonen, V. & Rader, M. (2010). Issues, Concepts and Methods Relating to the Identification of the Ethics of Emerging ICTs. Communications of the IIMA, 10(1), 33-43.
Book Chapters
  • Smart, P., Heersmink, R. & Clowes, R. (In press). The Cognitive Ecology of the Internet. In S. Cowley & F. Vallée-Tourangeau (eds.), Cognition Beyond the Brain: Computation, Interactivity and Human Artifice (2nd ed.)Dordrecht: Springer.
Reviewed conference proceedings
  • Heersmink, R. (2012). Mind and Artifact: A Multidimensional Matrix for Exploring Cognition-Artifact Relations. In J.M. Bishop & Y.J. Erden (eds.), Proceedings of the 5th AISB Symposium on Computing and Philosophy (pp. 54-61). Birmingham: UK.


Richard teaches, or has taught, in the following units:

  • PHL 131 Mind and World
  • PHL 137 Critical Thinking
  • PHL 232 Philosophy of Science
  • PHL 249 Biology, Mind, and Culture
  • PHL 262 Body and Mind
  • PHL 358 Metaphysics
  • PHL 363 Philosophy and Cognitive Science
  • PHIL707 Research Topics in Philosophy and Cognitive Science

Current Postgraduate Supervision

  • Associate supervisor of Alex Gillett (Richard Menary is main supervisor)
  • Associate supervisor of Dinyar Mistry (Neil Levy is main supervisor)

Contact details

Location: Building W6A Room 729
Phone: (61 2) 9850 8758
Fax: (61 2) 9850 8892