Margaret Boden

Margaret Ann Boden, OBE, ScD, FBA (born 26 November 1936)[1] is a Research Professor of Cognitive Science in the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex, where her work embraces the fields of artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive and computer science.


Margaret A. Boden

Born (1936-11-26) 26 November 1936
OccupationProfessor at the University of Sussex
Known forArtificial Intelligence research
Academic background
Alma mater
Academic work
DisciplineCognitive science

Early life and education

Boden was educated at the City of London School for Girls in the late 1940s and 1950s.[2] At Newnham College, Cambridge, she took first class honours in medical sciences, achieving the highest score across all Natural Sciences. In 1957 she studied the history of modern philosophy at the Cambridge Language Research Unit run by Margaret Masterman.[3]


Boden was appointed lecturer in philosophy at the University of Birmingham in 1959. She became a Harkness Fellow at Harvard University from 1962 to 1964,[4] then returned to Birmingham for a year before moving to a lectureship in philosophy and psychology at Sussex University in 1965, where she was later appointed as Reader then Professor in 1980.[5] She was awarded a PhD in social psychology (specialism: cognitive studies) by Harvard in 1968.[6]

She credits reading "Plans and the Structure of Behavior" by George A. Miller with giving her the realisation that computer programming approaches could be applied to the whole of psychology.[7]

Boden became Dean of the School of Social Sciences in 1985.[5] Two years later she became the founding Dean of the University of Sussex's School of Cognitive and Computing Sciences (COGS), precursor of the university's current Department of Informatics. Since 1997 she has been a Research Professor of Cognitive Science in the Department of Informatics, where her work encompasses the fields of artificial intelligence, psychology, philosophy, and cognitive and computer science.[8]

Boden became a Fellow of the British Academy in 1983 and served as its vice-president from 1989 to 1991.[9] Boden is a member of the editorial board for The Rutherford Journal.[10]

In 2001 Boden was awarded an OBE for her services in the field of cognitive science.[5] The same year she was also awarded an honorary Doctor of Science from the University of Sussex.[5] She also received an honorary degree from the University of Bristol.[11] A PhD Scholarship that is awarded annually by the Department of Informatics at the University of Sussex was named in her honor.[12]


In October 2014 and January 2015, Boden was interviewed by Jim Al-Khalili on the BBC Radio Four programme The Life Scientific.[7]

In February 2017, Boden, along with other researchers, participated in a debate organized by the British Academy on the readiness of humans to develop romantic relationships with robots.[13]


  • Purposive Explanation in Psychology (Harvard University Press, 1972);
  • Artificial Intelligence and Natural Man (1977/1987: 2nd edn., MIT Press), ISBN 978-0-262-52123-9
  • Piaget (Fontana Modern Masters 1979; 2nd edn. Harper Collins, 1984);
  • The Case for a Cognitive Biology. (In Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society, 54: 25–40, with Susan Khin Zaw, 1980);
  • Minds and Mechanisms (Cornell University Press, 1981);
  • Computer Models of Mind: Computational approaches in theoretical psychology (Cambridge University Press, 1988), ISBN 978-0-521-27033-5
  • Artificial Intelligence in Psychology: Interdisciplinary Essays (MIT Press, 1989), ISBN 978-0-262-02285-9
  • The Philosophy of Artificial Intelligence, ed. (Oxford Readings in Philosophy, Oxford University Press, 1989/90), ISBN 978-0-19-875155-7
  • The Creative Mind: Myths and Mechanisms (Weidenfeld/Abacus & Basic Books, 1990; 2nd edn. Routldge, 2004), ISBN 978-0-415-31453-4
  • Dimensions of Creativity, ed. (MIT Press, 1994);
  • The Philosophy of Artificial Life, ed. Oxford University Press, 1996).
  • Artificial Intelligence (Handbook of Perception and Cognition, 2nd Ed, Academic Press Inc., 1996), ISBN 978-0-12-161964-0
  • Mind As Machine: a History of Cognitive Science, (2 volumes, Oxford University Press, 2006), ISBN 978-0-19-929237-0 / ISBN 978-0-19-924144-6. This generated public disagreement with Noam Chomsky.[14]
  • AI: Its Nature and Future (2016), ISBN 978-0198777984


See also


  1. "Today in History - November 26 - Page 4". Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  2. "Notable Alumni". City of London School for Girls. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  3. "Cambridge Women Philosophers — Faculty of Philosophy". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  4. "Hove's Maggie Boden: A world authority on artificial intelligence". Sussex Life. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  5. "Professor Margaret Boden awarded OBE". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  6. "John Templeton Foundation: Participants". Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  7. "BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Margaret Boden". 2014-10-21. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  8. "Margaret A Boden | Home Page". Archived from the original on 2016-10-05. Retrieved 2016-10-20.
  9. "Professor Margaret Boden". The British Academy. Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  10. "Editorial board". The Rutherford Journal. Retrieved 19 December 2016.
  11. Bristol, University of. "2002: Honorary Degrees awarded | News | University of Bristol". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  12. Team, Web. "The Margaret Boden Informatics PhD Scholarship : University of Sussex". Retrieved 2019-03-18.
  13. "Are we ready for robot relationships?". Retrieved 2017-12-07.
  14. Noam Chomsky Symposium on Margaret Boden, Mind as Machine: A History of Cognitive Science, Oxford (2006) two volumes. Reviewed in Artificial Intelligence Volume 171, Issue 18, (December 2007) Pages 1094-1103
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