LINGUIST List 7.1485

Tue Oct 22 1996

Disc: Cognitive science intro book

Editor for this issue: Ann Dizdar <>


  1. "William J. Rapaport", Re: 7.1433, Sum: Cognitive science intro book

Message 1: Re: 7.1433, Sum: Cognitive science intro book

Date: Mon, 21 Oct 1996 14:21:51 EDT
From: "William J. Rapaport" <rapaportcs.Buffalo.EDU>
Subject: Re: 7.1433, Sum: Cognitive science intro book
>From the looks of Barbara Zurer Pearson's summary of intro cog sci
books, I don't think she got the kind of help she needed. Let me cut
to the chase, then expand on my reasons for my dissatisfaction with
the info she got:

1. The best intro CogSci text for "naive" undergrads is clearly the
 new book by Paul Thagard that she cited:

	Thagard, Paul. 1996. Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science.
	Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 It's brand new, so many people will not have seen it yet. It's
short, clear, and should do the job nicely.

2. I recall that in her original posting, she was looking for a text
 that might be suitable for English students. It never occurred to
 me at the time to suggest my own research group's book, primarily
 because it isn't a text, but given Pearson's audience, it might

	Duchan, Judith F.; Bruder, Gail A.; & Hewitt, Lynne (eds.)
	(1995), _Deixis in Narrative: A Cognitive Science Perspective_
	(Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates).

 This summarizes a decade's research of an interdisciplinary
cognitive science research group of AI researchers, philosophers,
psychologists, linguists, geographers, English-lit scholars, etc.,
etc., on understanding how a reader of narrative can keep track of
"deictic" (indexical) information in a narrative: where and when in
the "story world" the events are taking place and "who" the focal
characters are at any given time. I can send anyone who's interested
a table of contents as well as a (positive) review by Arthur Graesser
and Cheryl Bowers that appeared in _Minds & Machines_

Now, I'd like to comment on Pearson's summary. First, to establish my
credentials: I have been involved in teaching cognitive science
courses since the early 1980s, I have published papers in _Cognitive
Science_, I have been a referee for the Cognitive Science Society
conferences for several years, and I direct the SUNY Buffalo Center
for Cognitive Science. Now for the comments:

| Gerald Edelman's _Bright Air, Brilliant Fire. On the
| Matter of the Mind_, Basic Books, 1992.

A good book, but highly slanted *anti* "standard" cognitive science; I
wouldn't recommend this as an intro text.

| Garfield, J. (ed.). 1990 Foundations of cognitive
| science: the essential readings. NY: Paragon House.

Another good book, but primarily a collection of philosophical essays
on the foundations of cognitive science; at best a supplement to a
good text.

| Osherson and Lasnik 1990. _Language_ volume of the MIT
| Press "An Invitation to Cognitive Science" series.

Part of an excellent intro collection, BUT: If Pearson thinks that the
Stillings book is too hard, I think her students will find this one
impenetrable. By the way, there is a new, 1995, edition.

I might add at this point that several of the books appear to be texts
of cognitive *psychology*, which is *not* the same as cognitive
science (it's part of it, but only a part).

| Gardner, Howard, 1987. _The mind's new science: A
| history of the cognitive revolution (with new epilogue
| "Cognitive science after 1984") (our library has 1985). NY:
| Basic Books.

I continue to think that this is the best intro for a general
audience, primarily because it takes a historical approach. I
currently use it as the *main* text for my course.

| WEB resources

Two sources that were not cited, but should have been, are:

``Cognitive and Psychological Sciences on the Internet''


``The World-Wide Web Virtual Library: Cognitive Science''

I hope this further information helps.
- -----------------------------------------------------------------------
William J. Rapaport
Associate Professor of Computer Science
Adjunct Professor of Philosophy
Acting Director, Center for Cognitive Science

226 Bell Hall | phone: (716) 645-3180 x 112
Department of Computer Science | fax: (716) 645-3464 
SUNY Buffalo | email:
Buffalo, NY 14260 | web:
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