Past Meetup

Philosophy & Cognitive Science

This Meetup is past

11 people went

The Democracy Center

45 Mount Auburn Street · Cambridge, MA

How to find us

We are located in the library - the first door on the left.

Location image of event venue


Part 1: “What is Cognitive Science?”
November 16, 2018

Part 2: “The Part of Cognitive Science is Philosophy”
December 12, 2018

In this two-part Philosophy of Mind MeetUp, we will organize our discussion around one question: Is cognitive science a threat to our everyday psychology (folk psychology)?

In philosophy, this question is usually approached by exploring the definition of folk psychology (references 1 and 2). In our two meetings, we will approach the question from the other direction. We will explore the definition of cognitive science.

In part 1 (November), we will examine the goal of cognitive science to provide a physical explanation for thinking by reading Professor Zenon Pylyshyn’s essay.

In part 2 (December), we will examine the threat posed by cognitive science in more detail by reading Professor Daniel Dennett’s essay.

According to the MIT Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, cognitive science is the scientific study of the human mind. It is an interdisciplinary field, combining ideas and methods from psychology, computer science, linguistics, philosophy, and neuroscience. The goal of cognitive science is to characterize the nature of human knowledge. The department makes a point of claiming that a line cannot be drawn between understanding the mind and understanding the brain. “[They] are ultimately inseparable” (reference 3).

In the first meeting, we will examine the question of what is cognitive science as presented in an essay by Zenon Pylyshyn (reference 4). Dr. Pylyshyn is a Professor of Cognitive Science at Rutgers University. In his essay, “What is Cognitive Science?”, Pylyshyn claims that the human mind can be understood in physical terms. You should try to read at least the first third of Pylyshyn essay (reference 4). You may also want to read my comments on Pylyshyn’s essay (reference 5).

In our second meeting, we will explore the threat posed by cognitive science by reading Daniel Dennet’s essay on the topic (reference 6). His essay is entitled “The Part of Cognitive Science is Philosophy” You should try to read all 5 pages of Dennett’s essay. You may also want to read my comments on Dennett’s essay (reference 7).

>>> Donations

To help support the Democracy Center, a voluntary donation will be requested at the meeting.


>>> References

Reference 1:
“Folk Psychology”
Lynne Baker
The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences
Robert A. Wilson and Frank C. Keil, editors
MIT (1999)

Reference 2:
“Folk Psychology”
Stephen Stich & Shaun Nichols
Stephen Stich & Ted A. Warfield, eds.,
The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Mind (2003)

Reference 3:
Definition of cognitive science according to MIT-BCS

Reference 4:
“What is Cognitive Science?”
Zenon Pylyshyn

Reference 5:
My Comments on ‘What is Cognitive Science?’

Reference 6:
‘The Part of Cognitive Science That Is Philosophy'
Daniel Dennett
Topics in Cognitive Science (2009)

Reference 7:
My Comments on ‘The Part of Cognitive Science That Is Philosophy’
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