COGSCI 600, Seminar in Cognitive Science

Spring 2008, Wednesdays, 9:30-11:20, in HH 227

Course epitome
Cognitive science is the deeply interdisciplinary study of mind, intelligence, and perception. Growing out of a rich amalgam of cybernetics, linguistics, philosophy, and psychology in the 1950s, it has defined artificial intelligence and knowledge engineering, and now embraces or influences almost every academic pursuit in the modern academy, including fields as diverse as anthropology, literary theory, health studies, rhetoric, graphic design, communication studies and a wide range of engineering disciplines.This seminar is organized around an eclectic group of lectures from leading scholars in different disciplines at UW, often taking up controversial topics and featuring the latest research. Students are expected to be familiar with the weekly readings and to come prepared to discuss them with each other and the scholar du semaine. There will also be brief weekly written assignments (based on the readings), an essay, and a presentation to the class

The lecturers will be Paul Thagard (Philosophy, Psychology, and Computer Science; Director of the Cognitive Science Program), introducing and overviewing cognitive science; Ori Friedman (Psychology), on the cognitive dimensions of possession; Amer Obeidi (Management Science), on Emotion and Perception in Decision Making; James Danckert (Canada Research Chair in Psychology), on neglect; Chris Eliasmith (Philosophy and Systems Design, Canada Research Chair in Theoretical Neuroscience, and Director of the Centre of Theoretical Neuroscience), introducing and overviewing theoretical neuroscience; Jonathan Fugelsang (Psychology), on causality; Daniela O'Neill (Psychology), on the emergence of mental models in narrative; Randy Harris (English), on the cognitive aspects of rhetoric; Dan Smilek, (Psychology), on synaesthesia; Marcel O'Gorman (English), on flow and cognition; and Chrysanne DiMarco (Computer Science), on biomedical natural language processing, where computer science, linguistics, and biology meet.

Course coordinator
Randy Harris
HH 247
Office hours: Tuesday 9:30-11:30
The course schedule has the weekly readings. These form the basis of the lectures, the discussion, and your weekly posts. Read them. We have chosen them with an interdisciplinary, non-specialist audience in mind, but there will no doubt be things, now and again, that you don't follow, or don't see the point of; don't worry. You can use your puzzlement or partial understanding to interrogate the readings in your posts, and/or the lecturers (who will read the posts before their sessions). On the weeks in which there are no readings, you can riff on the topic in any responsible way you see fit; that is, link it to the themes of the course and the other talks.
Essay (c 3000 words) 50%
Proposal (18 June; 10%)
Paper (30 July; 40%)
Course participation
Discussion (20%)
Presentation (30 July; 15%)
Reading responses (weekly, posted online; 15%)