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Paul Thagard

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of The Cognitive Science of Science (MIT Press, 2012) and many other books.

Titles by This Author

Explanation, Discovery, and Conceptual Change

Many disciplines, including philosophy, history, and sociology, have attempted to make sense of how science works. In this book, Paul Thagard examines scientific development from the interdisciplinary perspective of cognitive science. Cognitive science combines insights from researchers in many fields: philosophers analyze historical cases, psychologists carry out behavioral experiments, neuroscientists perform brain scans, and computer modelers write programs that simulate thought processes.

Mechanisms and Applications of Emotional Cognition

Contrary to standard assumptions, reasoning is often an emotional process. Emotions can have good effects, as when a scientist gets excited about a line of research and pursues it successfully despite criticism. But emotions can also distort reasoning, as when a juror ignores evidence of guilt just because the accused seems like a nice guy.

Introduction to Cognitive Science

Cognitive science approaches the study of mind and intelligence from an interdisciplinary perspective, working at the intersection of philosophy, psychology, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. With Mind, Paul Thagard offers an introduction to this interdisciplinary field for readers who come to the subject with very different backgrounds. It is suitable for classroom use by students with interests ranging from computer science and engineering to psychology and philosophy.

This book is an essay on how people make sense of each other and the world they live in. Making sense is the activity of fitting something puzzling into a coherent pattern of mental representations that include concepts, beliefs, goals, and actions. Paul Thagard proposes a general theory of coherence as the satisfaction of multiple interacting constraints, and discusses the theory's numerous psychological and philosophical applications.

Analogy in Creative Thought

Analogy—recalling familiar past situations to deal with novel ones—is a mental tool that everyone uses. Analogy can provide invaluable creative insights, but it can also lead to dangerous errors. In Mental Leaps two leading cognitive scientists show how analogy works and how it can be used most effectively. Keith Holyoak and Paul Thagard provide a unified, comprehensive account of the diverse operations and applications of analogy, including problem solving, decision making, explanation, and communication.

By applying research in artificial intelligence to problems in the philosophy of science, Paul Thagard develops an exciting new approach to the study of scientific reasoning. This approach uses computational ideas to shed light on how scientific theories are discovered, evaluated, and used in explanations.

Processes Of Inference

Two psychologists, a computer scientist, and a philosopher have collaborated to present a framework for understanding processes of inductive reasoning and learning in organisms and machines. Theirs is the first major effort to bring the ideas of several disciplines to bear on a subject that has been a topic of investigation since the time of Socrates. The result is an integrated account that treats problem solving and induction in terms of rule­based mental models.

Titles by This Editor

Introductory Selections on Cognitive Science
Edited by Paul Thagard

Mind Readings is a collection of accessible readings on some of the most important topics in cognitive science. Although anyone interested in the interdisciplinary study of mind will find the selections well worth reading, they work particularly well with Paul Thagard's textbook Mind: An Introduction Cognitive Science, and provide further discussion on the major topics discussed in that book.