Philosophy 256 / Psychology 256

Introduction to Cognitive Science, Fall, 2004

Professor: Paul Thagard

Office hours (HH368): Monday 1-2; Friday, 1:30-2:30; and by appointment.

Email: Phone: 888-4567, extension 3594.

Web page:

Time: T, TH, 9:30-10:50, MC 2054.

Textbooks: P. Thagard, Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science. P. Thagard, ed., Mind Readings: Introductory Selections on Cognitive Science. (All royalties from sale of these books for this course will be donated to UW student scholarships.)

Assignments: Marks will be based on:

  • 3 exams: Oct. 7, Nov. 4, and Dec 2. Each is worth 23% of the total mark for the course. Students are responsible for material in the textbooks and on the Web site.
  • Essay, due Nov. 18, worth 23% of the final mark. See essay topics 2004.
  • One-minute essays. These will be written at the end of each class and will be worth a total of 8% of the total mark.

Description: Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, operating at the intersection of psychology, philosophy, computer science, linguistics, anthropology, and neuroscience. This course will describe the different methodologies and theoretical contributions of these disciplines to questions such as mental representation, the nature of expertise, and consciousness. It will focus on a fundamental question in cognitive science research: What kinds of representations must be postulated to explain human intelligence or to develop computer intelligence? Is a scientific understanding of mind possible? This course is truly interdisciplinary and students are advised that it is not like conventional philosophy or psychology courses. No prerequisite.

Readings: Note that readings for weeks 9 and 10 include on-line chapters from the second edition of Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science, to be published in February, 2005.

Week Dates Topic Mind, ch. Mind Readings
1 Sept. 14-16 Representation and computation 1 1
2 Sept. 21-23 Logic 2 2
3 Sept. 28-30 Rules 3 3-4
4 Oct. 5-7 Concepts, EXAM 1 4 5
5 Oct. 12-14 Analogies 5 6
6 Oct. 19-21 Images 6 7
7 Oct. 26-28 Connections 7 8
8 Nov. 2-4 Connections, EXAM 2 8  
9 Nov. 9-11 Brains, Emotions  new brains chapter, new emotions chapter 9
10 Nov. 16-18 Consciousness, Physical environments ESSAY 10, new consciousness chapter 10-11
11 Nov. 23-25 Social environments Dynamic systems 11 12-13
12 Nov. 30- Dec. 2 Future of cognitive science, EXAM 3 12  

Exam review questions: Exam 3, 2004

Cognitive Science Glossary

Cognitive Science Resources

Talk to a computer, Alice

Lecture notes

Note: These will be revised as the course goes on with the addition of more information and links.Updated pages for each week will usually be available by Monday evening. Updated notes are indicated by "2004". If you want to print out notes with smaller letters, you can Edit the Preferences in your Web browser to change the font size.

Week 1: Representation and computation. 2004

Week 2: Logic. 2004

Week 3: Rules. 2004

Week 4: Concepts. 2004

Week 5: Analogies. 2004

Week 6: Images. 2004

Weeks 7-8: Connections (neural networks). 2004

Week 9: Brains and emotions. 2004

Week 10: Consciousness and world challenges. 2004

Week 11: Dynamic systems and the social challenge. 2004

Week 12: Future of cognitive science. 2004

From the Faculty of Arts:

All students registered in the courses of the Faculty of Arts are expected to know what constitutes an academic offense, to avoid committing academic offenses, and to take responsibility for their academic actions.  When the commission of an offense is established, disciplinary penalties will be imposed in accord with Policy #71 (Student Academic Discipline).  For information on categories of offenses and types of penalties, students are directed to consult the summary of Policy #71 (Student Academic Discipline) which is supplied in the Undergraduate Calendar (p.1:11).  If you need help in learning how to avoid offenses such as plagiarism, cheating, and double submission, or if you need clarification of aspects of the discipline policy, ask your course instructor for guidance.  Other resources regarding the discipline policy are your academic advisor and the Undergraduate Associate Dean.

Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Nov. 29, 2004