Colin Allen received his B.A. in philosophy from University College London in 1982 and his Ph.D. in philosophy from UCLA in 1989. He has broad research interests in the general area of philosophy of biology and cognitive science, with particular interests in animal behavior and cognition. He has received funding from the National Science Foundation and several grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities for his work in digital humanities. His work on the prospects of moral capabilities in machines is also influential.
Colin Allen's appointment at IU is split between HPSC and the Cognitive Science Program. He is also a member of IU's Center for the Integrative Study of Animal Behavior, a member of the IU Program in Neuroscience, and adjunct professor in the Philosophy Department at IU. Allen directs the NEH-funded Indiana Philosophy Ontology (InPhO) project and is Associate Editor of the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Allen has over 100 book chapters, journal articles, and conference proceedings papers. His coauthored books include Moral Machines: Teaching Robots Right from Wrong (OUP 2009) and Species of Mind (MIT Press, 1997). He coedited The Evolution of Mind (Oxford University Press, 1998), Nature's Purposes (MIT Press, 1998), and The Cognitive Animal (MIT Press, 2002). He is also coauthor of a logic textbook, Logic Primer, published by MIT Press, and co-developer of two logic instructional sites on the world wide web at logic.tamu.edu and poweroflogic.com. For a current list of publications see Allen's CV.
In 2008, Colin Allen was recognized as Faculty Mentor of the Year by Indiana University's Graduate and Professional Student Organization. In 2010 he received a Humboldt Research Award, granted in recognition of a researcher's entire achievements to date, from Germany's Alexander von Humboldt Foundation.