Joshua August (Gus) Skorburg | College of Arts

Joshua August (Gus) Skorburg

Associate Professor
Phone number: 
(519) 824–4120 ×56464
MCK 336


My full name is Joshua August Skorburg, but I go by “Gus”.

I'm currently Associate Professor of Philosophy and Co-Academic Director of the Centre for Advancing Responsible and Ethical Artificial Intelligence (CARE-AI). I am also a Faculty Affiliate at the One Health Institute.

I moved to the University of Guelph in January 2020. I came from Duke University, where I taught ethics in the Interdisciplinary Data Science program and the Quantitative Management program in the Fuqua School of Business. I received my PhD in Philosophy from the University of Oregon in 2017. Before my graduate study in philosophy, I worked briefly in television news. 


In general, I work on a wide range of topics in applied ethics (AI ethics, bioethics, neuroethics, business ethics) and moral psychology (virtue theory, philosophy of cognitive science, experimental philosophy). Much of my published work has explored the philosophical implications of our interdependence with other agents and with technology.

At present, I’m working on several projects involving the ethical, legal, and social implications of generative artificial intelligence, especially in the healthcare domain.

I also maintain active interests and collaborations in more “traditional” philosophical areas like virtue ethics, virtue epistemology, American pragmatism, and the philosophy of mind/cognitive science.

I am accepting new graduate students who are interested to work in any of the aforementioned areas.


  • PhD Philosophy, University of Oregon (2013-2017)
  • MA Philosophy, University of Toledo (2010-2012)
  • BS Journalism, Southern Illinois University Carbondale (2006-2009)

Previous Positions

  • Duke University Postdoctoral Associate, Department of Philosophy, Kenan Institute for Ethics, Social Science Research Institute (2018-2019)
  • Duke University Adjunct Professor, Fuqua School of Business (2018-2023)

Recent Grants

  • 2024: “From paperwork to patient care: Can Large Language Models reduce the documentation burden on clinicians?” MITACS Accelerate, $60,000. Role: PI
  • 2023-2025: “Personalized ultra-fast detection and treatment of resistant microbial infections” New Frontiers in Research Fund – Exploration, $250,000. Role: Collaborator
  • 2022-2025: “Using AI to predict moral judgments” OpenAI, $1,000,000. Role: Co-Investigator


(Where available, I have linked to the PhilPapers Index below. But if you are unable to access any of my papers, just e-mail me and I will happily send you a .pdf)

Journal Articles (* denotes advisee)

  • Skorburg, J.A., O’Doherty, K., & Friesen, P. (2024). Persons or datapoints?: Ethics, artificial intelligence, and the participatory turn in mental health research. American Psychologist 79(1), 137–149. [link]
  • Skorburg, J. A., Kupferschmidt,* K. L., & Taylor, G. W. (2023). “Large Language Models” Do Much More than Just Language: Some Bioethical Implications of Multi-Modal AI. The American Journal of Bioethics, 23(10), 110-113. [link]
  • White, D. J.*, & Skorburg, J. A. (2023). Why Canada’s Artificial Intelligence and Data Act needs “mental data”. AJOB: Neuroscience 14(2), 101-103. [link]
  • Mejia, S. & Skorburg, J.A. (2022). Malleable character: Organizational behavior meets situationism. Philosophical Studies 179(12), 3535-3563 [link]
  • Yam, J.V.* & Skorburg, J.A. (2021). From human resources to human rights: Impact assessments for hiring algorithms. Ethics and Information Technology 23(4), 611-623 [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. & Yam, J.V.* (2021) Is there an app for that?: Ethical issues in the digital mental health response to COVID-19. Target article in AJOB: Neuroscience [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. & Friesen, P. (2021). Mind the gaps: Ethical and epistemic issues in the digital mental health response to COVID-19. Hastings Center Report 51(6) 23-26 [link]
  • Sinnott-Armstrong, W. & Skorburg, J.A. (2021). How AI can AID bioethics. Journal of Practical Ethics 9(1) 1-22 [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2020). What counts as 'clinical data' in machine learning healthcare applications? American Journal of Bioethics, 20(11), 27-30. [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A., Sinnott-Armstrong, W., Conitzer, V. (2020). AI methods in bioethics. American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics, 11(1), 37-39. [link]
  • Everett, J.A.C., Skorburg, J.A., & Savulescu, J. (2020). The moral self and moral duties. Philosophical Psychology, 33(7), 924-945. [link]
  • Morar, N. & Skorburg, J.A. (2020). Why we never eat alone: The overlooked role of microbes and partners in obesity debates in bioethics. Journal of Bioethical Inquiry, 17(1), 435–448 [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2019). Where are virtues? Philosophical Studies, 176(9), 2331-2349. [link]
  • Earp, B., Skorburg, J.A., Everett, J.A.C., Savulescu, J. (2019). Addiction, identity, morality. American Journal of Bioethics: Empirical Bioethics, 10(2), 136-153. [link]
  • Morar, N. & Skorburg, J.A. (2018). Bioethics and the hypothesis of extended health. Kennedy Institute of Ethics Journal, 28(3), 341-376. [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2017). Jane Addams as experimental philosopher. British Journal for the History of Philosophy, 26(5), 918-938[link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2017). Lessons and new directions for extended cognition from social and personality psychology. Philosophical Psychology, 30(4), 458-480. [link]
  • Morar, N. & Skorburg, J.A. (2017). Relational agency: Yes - but how far? American Journal of Bioethics: Neuroscience8(2), 83-85[link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2017). Review of Chris Abel, “The extended self: Architecture, memes, and minds”. Environmental Philosophy, 14(1), 151-53. [link]
  • Morar, N. & Skorburg, J.A. (2016). Toward an ecological bioethics. American Journal of Bioethics, 16(5), 35-37[link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2013). Beyond embodiment: John Dewey and the integrated mind. The Pluralist, 8(3), 66-78. [link]

Book Chapters

  • Earp, B., Skorburg, J.A., Hannikainen, I., & Everett, J.A.C. (forthcoming). Experimental philosophical bioethics and personal identity. In K. Tobia (Ed.) Advances in experimental identity and the self. Bloomsbury.
  • Everett, J.A.C., Skorburg, J.A., Livingston, J.L., Chituc, V., Crockett, M.J. (forthcoming). For whom do moral changes matter?: The influence of change type, direction, and target on judgments of identity persistence. In K. Tobia (Ed.) Advances in experimental identity and the self. Bloomsbury.
  • Everett, J.A.C., Skorburg, J.A. & Livingston, J.L. (2022). Me, my (moral) self, and I. In In F. DeBrigard & W. Sinnott-Armstrong (Eds.) Neuroscience and Philosophy, 111-138. MIT Press [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. & Friesen, P. (2022). Ethical issues in text mining for mental health. In M. Dehghani & R. Boyd (Eds.) The Atlas of Language Analysis in Psychology, 531-550. Guilford Press. [link]
  • Nadelhoffer, T., Graves, R., Skorburg, J.A., Leary, M., & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2020). Partisanship, Humility, and Polarization. In M.P. Lynch & A. Tanesini (Eds.) Polarisation, Arrogance, and Dogmatism: Philosophical Perspectives, 175-192. Routledge. [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. & Sinnott-Armstrong, W. (2020). Some ethics of deep brain stimulation. In D. Stein & I. Singh (Eds.) Global Mental Health and Neuroethics, 117-132. London: Elsevier. [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. & Alfano, M. (2018). Implications for virtue epistemology from psychological science: Intelligence as an interactionist virtue. In H. Battaly (Ed.), Handbook of Virtue Epistemology433-445. New York: Routledge[link]
  • Alfano, M. & Skorburg, J.A. (2017). Extended knowledge, the recognition heuristic, and epistemic injustice. In D. Pritchard et al. (Eds.), Extended Epistemology, 239-256. Oxford University Press. [link]
  • Skorburg, J.A. (2016). Pragmatism, embodiment, extension. In R. Madzia & M. Jung (Eds.), Pragmatism and Embodied Cognitive Science: From Bodily Intersubjectivity to Symbolic Articulation, 33-54. Berlin: De Gruyter. [link]
  • Alfano, M. & Skorburg, J.A. (2016). The embedded and extended character hypotheses. In J. Kiverstein (Ed.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy of the Social Mind, 465-478. New York: Routledge. [link]


Virtual Office Hours: By appointment

Upcoming courses (Fall 2024)

  • Philosophy of Medicine
  • Philosophy in Action

Previously taught undergraduate courses

  • PHIL 2120: Ethics
  • PHIL 3290: Advanced Ethical Theory
  • PHIL 3370: AI Ethics
  • PHIL 2600: Business Ethics

Previously taught graduate courses

  • PHIL 6760: Science & Ethics
  • PHIL 6400: Ethics of Data Science

Upcoming Talks

  • March 28, 2024: Panel on the Moral Status of AI - University of Toronto, Centre for Ethics

Recent Talks

  • “Idealized Observers and the Alignment Problem” MP2 Workshop, NeurIPS 2023, New Orleans
  • “Ethics PROBES: Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning, & Quantum Computing” Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics
  • “Persons or datapoints?: Ethics, artificial intelligence, and the participatory turn in mental health research.” FedEx Institute of Technology, Univeristy of Memphis
  • ChatGPT: The Dangers and Opportunities for Teaching, Research, and Professional Life” Society for Business Ethics, Boston