Cognitive Science emerged as an area of research only in the latter half of the 20th Century. Spanning a number of disciplines, it is a difficult area to define as the concepts and research approaches in the separate disciplines often diverge, and this loosely defined domain progresses in ways determined by independent developments in the different subject areas. How can a student, especially one with no prior training in the social sciences and humanities, begin to get a perspective of the field?
I aim in this course to place the field in its broad interdisciplinary framework, as Gardner (1985) 1 and many others after him have done. These accounts emphasise the roots of cognitive science in the Western intellectual tradition going back to ancient Greece. As one soon realises, the state of the field and the nature of the debates within it are understood best from the perspective provided by this tradition.
This, the first part of the course, traces the emergence of Cognitive Science as a confluence of six major disciplines namely, Philosophy, Artificial Intelligence, Psychology, Neuroscience, Linguistics and Anthropology. Part 2 of the course will survey some basic areas of study in Cognitive Science like, Perception, Memory, Imagery, Concepts and categories, Reasoning, Learning, Problem-solving, Creativity and Emotions. This latter part of the course will carry a component of lab work.
The major references for the course are listed at the beginning of each section. These are generally textbooks, reviews and other secondary sources available in the HBCSE library or on the internet. Some minor references are interspersed through the notes. Original sources are sometimes mentioned in context but not cited in detail; interested readers should be able to locate the full references in one of the listed secondary sources.