Introduction to Cognitive Science

By Paul Thagard

A Bradford Book





Cognitive science is the interdisciplinary study of mind and intelligence, embracing psychology, philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. Paul Thagard's accessible, concise, and integrated text presupposes no special preparation in any of these fields. Thagard systematically describes and evaluates the main computational theories of mental representation that have been advocated by cognitive scientists, including logic, rules, concepts, analogies, images, and connections (neural networks). He considers the major challenges to the computational-representational view of mind and discusses emotions, consciousness, physical and social environments, dynamical systems, and mathematical knowledge. Teaching cognitive science is difficult, Thagard observes, because students come to this multidisciplinary subject with widely different competencies, backgrounds, and interests. Mind solves this dilemma by making logic comprehensible to psychology students, computer algorithms comprehensible to English students, and philosophical controversies comprehensible to computer science students. Each chapter concludes with helpful summaries, discussion questions, and suggestions for further reading. Mind is ideal for introductory courses on Cognitive Science, and is also useful as a supplement to courses on cognitive psychology, educational psychology, philosophy of mind, and artificial intelligence. A Bradford Book


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262201063 213 pp. | 6 in x 9 in


  • Thagard has written an engaging introduction to cognitive science, which will appeal to students with a wide range of backgrounds. Mind highlights both the core ideas about mental representation that guide the field, and the intellectual challenges that fuel current debates.

    Keith J. Holyoak

    Professor of Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles

  • Paul Thagard sets out to introduce undergraduates to the complex field of cognitive science: to write a book which appeals to students of widely different backgrounds, competencies, and interests; and to focus on a central concern of cognitive science, namely, how to develop, refine, and detail an account of mental representation. He succeeds admiarably. This is a clearheaded, pedagogically sound, and well-written introduction. He deploys engaging examples. He amusingly offers bits of humor. And various charts and figures season the text, enhancing its pedagogical utility without washing out its conceptual content.

    George Graham

    Chair and Professor, Philosophy; Professor of Psychology, University of Alabama at Birmingham

  • Any introduction to cognitive sciences requires presenting a wide variety of topics approached from different perspectives. Paul Thagard's book accomplishes this in a very fair and balanced way. It will be a valuable contribution to the teaching of cognitive science. This book is perfectly adapted to beginning cognititve science students. Paul Thagard has succeeded in everything he has set out to do.

    Vilma L. Patel Ph.D.

    Professor, Department of Medicine; Director, Centre for Meidcal education; Director, McGill Cognitive Science Centre, McGill University

  • In general this book is one of the best I've seen for use in my 150-student undergraduate 'Introduction to Cognitive Science' course. I have already tried out a draft version of the text with a class; the experiment convinced me that no other book has prose that is quite as accessible, coherent, and consistent across topics.

    Michael A. Ranney Ph.D.

    Associate Professor of Education, Graduate School of Education; Department of Psychology; Cognitive Science Program; University of California, Berkeley