Hi, What are the best ways to get informed about the current research areas/topics in philosophy (especially in philosophy of mind and philosophy of cognitive science)? Thank you.

If by "current", you really mean "very latest", then one way is to keepup to date with the major journals in those topics. For a (partial)list, take a look at one of the webpages for my Intro to CognitiveScience course, " Sources of Information on Cognitive Science ". Depending on what kind ofaccess you have to a university library and its electronic journalofferings, you can also often subscribe to online table-of-contentsalerts for many journals. If by "current", you meant something more like "classic problemsthat are currently being discussed", then an anthology of recent orclassic readings is another way to go. Again, for a list, see the webpage cited above.

If a person were to be a created, a virtual reality person (such as a character in a Sims game, that "reacts" and "grows"), and this person was "downloaded" into an actual body, is that person considered "real?" Were they real before the download, or is a physical body part of the conception of real? Would you even be considered a legitimate person, since all of your "memories" could be considered "fake"?

Downloading such an avatar, assuming it were possible, would probably not result in a "real" person because such an avatar would doubtless be less "complete" than a real person. There are two other discussions besides Velleman's that you might find interesting: Pollock, John L. (2008), "What Am I? Virtual machines and the mind/body problem", Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 76(2):237-309, online at http://oscarhome.soc-sci.arizona.edu/ftp/PAPERS/Virtual-machines.pdf and a terrific science-fiction novel by a philosopher: Leiber, Justin (1980), Beyond Rejection (Del Rey Books); out of print, but available on amazon.com