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Paul Thagard

Professor Emeritus

Paul Thagard portrait
Blog:  Mind and Society

2013 Killam Prize recipient for the Humanities
and other honours.


PhD, University of Toronto
MS, University of Michigan
MA, University of Toronto, University of Cambridge
BA, University of Saskatchewan, University of Cambridge

Areas of Interest

Philosophy of Science and Medicine, Cognitive Science, Philosophy of Mind

Current Research

I am currently working on projects concerning emotions, consciousness, creativity, and explanation. 

Academic Biography

My research areas are philosophy of science and medicine, cognitive science, and philosophy of mind. Specific topics include analogy, coherence, decision making, conceptual change, explanatory reasoning, theoretical neuroscience, discovery and innovation, emotions and consciousness, moral psychology, and theories and explanations in biomedicine.

Honours include election as a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and of the Cognitive Science Society, and the 2007 Canada Council Molson Prize for Social Sciences and Humanities. I mostly teach courses relevant to Waterloo's undergraduate and graduate programs in cognitive science.

Selected Publications

  • Schröder, T., & Thagard, P. (2013). The affective meanings of automatic social behaviors:  Three mechanisms that explain priming. Psychological Review, 120, 255-280.
  • Thagard, P. (2012). Mapping minds across cultures. In R. Sun (Ed.), Grounding social sciences in cognitive sciences (pp. 35-62). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

  • Thagard, P. (2012). Creative combination  of representations:  Scientific discovery and technological invention. In R. Proctor & E. J. Capaldi (Eds.), Psychology of science:  Implicit and explicit processes (pp. 389-405). Oxford: Oxford University Press.

  • Thagard, P. (2012). Coherence:  The price is right. Southern Journal of Philosophy, 50, 42-49.

  • Thagard, P. (2012). The cognitive science of science:  Explanation, discovery, and conceptual change. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Thagard, P., & Stewart, T. C. (2010). The Aha! experience: Creativity through emergent binding in neural networks. Cognitive Science.
  • Thagard, P. (2010). The brain and the meaning of life. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  • Thagard, P. (2009). Why cognitive science needs philosophy and vice versa. Topics in Cognitive Science, 1, 237-254.
  • Thagard, P. (2008). Conceptual change in the history of science: Life, mind, and disease. In S. Vosniadou (Ed.), International handbook of research on conceptual change (pp. 374-387). London: Routledge.
  • Thagard, P. (2006). Hot thought: Mechanisms and applications of emotional cognition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press. Paperback edition, 2008.
  • Thagard, P. (2005). Mind: Introduction to cognitive science, second edition. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

More publications

Grants, Fellowships, Awards

  • 2010-2015: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada. Title: Cognitive and Neural Mechanisms for Goal Revision and Emotional Change.

Recent Graduate Supervision and Teaching

PhD Theses:

  • A Multidimensional Model of Biological Sex
  • Philosophy of Bioinformatics: Extended Cognition, Analogies, and Mechanisms
  • The Conative Mind: Volition and Action

MA Theses:

  • Do Birds Have a Theory of Mind?

  • Conceptual Change: Gods, Elements, and Water
  • The Social Dimension of the Self: Self-formation as Revealed by Depersonalization
University of Waterloo

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