Winter, 2009

Graduate Seminar in Cognitive Science

Description: Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence. This seminar will discuss controversial topics concerning the nature of human and computer intelligence.

Organizer: Paul Thagard

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

Email: Phone: extension 33594.

Web page:

This is the core course for the Graduate Diploma in Cognitive Science.

Time: Wednesday, 1-3, in various rooms. NOTE ROOM CHANGES BELOW .

Readings: Readings for each week are available electronically: see links below.

Assignments: Each student will write a research essay of approximately 20 pages. Essay proposals should be submitted in class by February 25 . The proposal should be maximum one page, and indicate the question you hope to answer and how more than one of the disciplines of cognitive science is relevant to answering it. Students will present their work in class April 1. The final essay is due April 8. The essays can be on any topic related to the investigation of mind and intelligence, but must be interdisciplinary: they should draw on at least two of psychology, philosophy, neuroscience, artificial intelligence, linguistics, and anthropology. Any reference style is acceptable, but be sure to indicate your sources. In addition, 10% of the grade will be based on 1-page essays to be handed in each week concerning the week's readings. Discussion questions to guide your reading will be available 1 week before the relevant class.


 Week  Date  Instructor Reading




Jan. 7

 Paul Thagard, Philosophy

Thagard, 2003

  What is cognitive science?



Jan. 14

David Spafford, Biology

Albright et al.

A molecular mechanics toolkit for addressing the brain's compexity



Jan. 21

Randy Harris, English



The structure of mind and the structure of discourse



Jan. 28

Kate Larson, Computer Science

Rahwan & Larson1

Rahwan & Larson 2

Modelling strategic argumentation in multiagent systems



Feb. 4

Scott Jeffrey, Management Sciences

Astebro, Jeffrey & Adomdza

Inventor perseverance after being told to quit: The role of cognitive biases




Feb. 11

Paul Thagard

Thagard, 2008

Explaining mental illness



Feb. 25

Britt Anderson, Psychology

HH 373 or 357

Kording & Wolpert

Kersten & Yuille

Attention as a Bayesian decision process


Mar. 4

Chris Eliasmith, Philosophy and Systems Design Engineering HH 373 or 357


Modelling the mind



Mar. 11

Chrysanne DiMarco, Computer Science DC 1304

He & DiMarco

DiMarco et al.

Where computer science, linguistics, and biology meet: Using lexical chaining to analyze biomedical text




Mar. 18

Amer Obeidi, Management Sciences HH 357


Common grounds in conflict - an analytical approach



Mar. 25

Paul Thagard HH 373


Creativity and innovation



Apr. 1

Student presentations

HH 373




Note: Students who want audit credit must complete the weekly 1-page essays.

Discussion questions for weeks 2-11.

Previous COGSCI 600 seminars

COGSCI 600: 2001

COGSCI 600: 2002

COGSCI 600: 2003

COGSCI 600: 2005

COGSCI 600: 2006

COGSCI 600: 2007

COGSCI 600: 2008


Computational Epistemology Laboratory.

Paul Thagard

This page updated Mar. 20, 2009