Syllabus for Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive and Information Science COGS Q540 Valid HTML 4.01! — version 2006-11-25
COGS Q540 — Philosophical Foundations of Cognitive and Information Science
Meeting time: MW 9:30-10:45; Location: PY 113 (Psychology Building)
Instructor: Colin Allen, PhD <>
Office / Telephone: [Eigenmann 804 / 856-3868] and [Goodbody 113 / 855-8916]
Office hours: [Mon 11-12 in EG 804] [Wed 11-12 PY 128] and [Thu/Fri by appointment in GB 113]

Course Description

The cognitive sciences began with great enthusiasm for the prospects of a successful multi-disciplinary attack on the mind. This enthusiasm was fueled by the faith that computational ideas could put flesh on abstract notions of mental representation, providing the means to make good physical sense of questions about the nature of mental information processing. The challenges of understanding how minds work have turned out to be much greater than many of the early enthusiasts predicted — in fact they have turned out to be so great that many (especially here at IU) have argued that we need new paradigms to replace the standard computationalist-representationalist assumptions of traditional cognitive science. This course aims to provide an understanding of the philosophical issues underlying this discussion and to apply this understanding to a specific cutting edge topic. For Fall 2006 that issue will be the nature of emotions and their role in cognition.


  1. Required: Jesse Prinz Gut Reactions OUP.
  2. Optional/recommended:Andy Clark Mindware 2nd Edition, OUP.
  3. Additional readings provided electronically; schedule tba

Course Objectives

By the end of this course you should have broad knowledge of the history, philosophy and major concepts and trends in cognitive science, along with an appreciation for the philosophical issues that motivated the emergence of cognitive science and underlie the controversies within it. By the end of the course you should have the ability to read works written for professional academic cognitive scientists and philosophers of cognitive science, and to summarize them accurately both orally and in writing using your own words. You should also be able to relate foundational issues in cognitive science to your own research interests.

Grading Basis

Grades will be based on performance in the following four categories:

  1. Weekly journal due each Monday* (15%)
  2. Paper/research proposal due Oct 18 [2 pages] (10%)
  3. Draft of paper due before Thanksgiving [approx 10 pages] (20%)
  4. Final paper due Dec 11 [approx 15 pages] (40%)
  5. Oral presentations and participation** (15%)

* Minimally: What you read from the reading schedule, any other articles you read, talks you went to, or other things you heard about about that related to course topics, and a list of any outstanding questions, problems, or interesting ideas arising from class or these other sources.

** Oral participation may also be gauged by an oral exam to be scheduled at the instructor's discretion during finals week.

Schedule of Readings and Presentations

This schedule may be altered in response to events in class.

Mondays Wednesdays
Aug 28
Organization and Overview Aug 30
Cog Sci Prehistory
Descartes Meditations I & II
Hume Enquiry section 2 and section 3
Tolman (1948) html pdf
Sep 04
Beyond Behaviorism
Chomsky (1959/1967) html pdf
Shepard & Metzler (1971) jstor pdf
Sep 06
Turing Machines
Wikipedia and Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
[Clark 1]
Sep 11
Classical A.I.
Newell & Simon (1975) pdf 2.5MB!
Schank & Abelson (1977) pdf 6.9MB!!
[Clark 2] Noon Colloquium
Sep 13
Turing Test
Turing (1950) html pdf
Searle (1980) html
Sep 18
Marr (1981) pdf 2.8 MB!)
Block (1996) pdf
Fodor (1974) pdf
[Clark 3] 12:10 COGS Colloquium
Sep 20
Beliefs and Believers
Wimmer & Perner (1983) pdf 2.2MB!)
Dennett (1981) pdf 3.6MB!
Tversky & Kahneman (1974) jstor pdf 2.1MB!!
Gordon (2004) html [SEP entry]
Sep 25
Pollack (1989) pdf
Ramsey et al. (1991) jstor pdf 2.6MB!!
[Clark 4]
Sep 27
Brooks (1991) pdf
Clark (1998) pdf
[Clark 5]
Oct 02
Dynamical Systems
Beer (2000) pdf
Harvey et al. (2005) pdf
[Clark 6 & 7]
Oct 04
Infants & Animals
Hauser & Carey (1998) pdf of text and figures [pdf 3.7MB!]
Allen (2006) pdf
Oct 09
Emotions & Reason
Damasio (1994) ch 1 (pdf 2.7MB!) and ch 7 (pdf 5.7MB!!)
Muramatsu & Hanoch (2005) pdf COGS Colloquium
Oct 11
Piecing Passions Apart
Prinz 1
Oct 16
Feeling without Thinking
Prinz 2
Oct 18
Embodied Appraisals
Prinz 3
Oct 23 No Class COGS Colloquium Oct 25 No Class
Oct 30
[De Ros]
Basic Emotions and Natural Kinds
Prinz 4COGS Colloquium
Nov 01
Emotions and Nature
Prinz 5
Nov 06
Emotions and Nurture
Prinz 6
Nov 08
Prinz 7
Nov 13
A Typology of Affective States
Prinz 8
Nov 15
Emotional Consciousness
Prinz 9
Nov 20
Is Getting Mad Like Seeing Red?
Prinz 10
Nov 22 No Class - Thanksgiving Break
Nov 27 Bill Ramsey book preface pdfCOGS Colloquium: Bill Ramsey* Nov 29 Papers on Representational issues: Baldwin, Herring, Kapatinski, Michaud, Soylu, Warren, Zednik
Dec 04 Papers on Foundational Issues: Cox, Nichols, Schmelzer, Son, Uchino, Williams, York COGS Colloquium Dec 06 Papers on Emotion and Motivation: Chen, Christensen, De Ros, Goodrich, Kuwabara, Theurer

COGS Colloquia are at 4 p.m. unless otherwise noted.

* Author of Sep 20 reading.

Statement for Students with Disabilities
The Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) is a federal anti-discrimination statute that provides comprehensive civil rights protection for persons with disabilities. Among other things, this legislation requires that all students with disabilities be guaranteed a learning environment that provides for reasonable accommodation of their disabilities. If you believe you have a disability requiring an accommodation, please contact IU Disability Services for Students.

Statement about Academic Misconduct
University rules concerning academic misconduct will be rigorously enforced in this class. See IU Code of Ethics, Part II for details.