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Hardcover | Out of Print | 328 pp. | 5 x 7.75 in | October 2000 | ISBN: 9780262201315
Paperback | $28.00 X | £22.95 | 328 pp. | 5 x 7.75 in | July 2002 | ISBN: 9780262700924
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Essential Info

Coherence in Thought and Action


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. Much of human cognition can be understood in terms of coherence as constraint satisfaction, and many of the central problems of philosophy can be given coherence-based solutions. Thagard shows how coherence can help to unify psychology and philosophy, particularly when addressing questions of epistemology, metaphysics, ethics, politics, and aesthetics. He also shows how coherence can integrate cognition and emotion.

About the Author

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.


Coherence in Thought and Action is certainly a competing, and capable, candidate.”—Metapsychology


“An excellent integrative treatment of the role of coherence in cognitive proceses. Coherence in Thought and Action is by far the most comprehensive book to appear on the subject. Because it is well-written, the book will prove accessible to a wide audience.”
Keith Holyoak, Professor of Psychology, UCLA
“This book is based on significant and important research Paul Thagard has done in recent years. Cohenrence in Thought and Action should be and will be read by philosophers interested in alomost any aspect of the subject, by psychologists concerned with thinking, and more generally by anyoone interested in cognitive science.”
Gilbert Harman, Professor of Philosophy, Princeton University