The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE/LIN/PHI/PSY 575 & APY 526:
Fall 2007


This is a living document; the latest version will always be available on the Web at:

Last Update: 27 August 2007

Note: NEW or UPDATED material is highlighted

Index: Other Relevant Links:
  • Course Description
  • 575 homepage
  • Prerequisites
  • Directory of Documents
  • Staff
  • Email Archive
  • Class Meetings
  • Texts
  • Important Dates & Tentative Schedule
  • Reading
  • Attendance, Homeworks, Assignments, Exams, Listserv
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity
  • Classroom Disruptions





    Lecture Rapaport
    CSE 575:082531(3 cr.)
    LIN 575:026680(3 cr.)
    PHI 575:368707(3 cr.)
    PSY 575:386390(3 cr.)
    APY 526:293810(3 cr.)
    TTh 2:00 p.m. — 3:20 p.m. Capen 10


    1. Cummins, Robert; & Cummins, Denise Dellarosa (eds.) (2000), Minds, Brains, and Computers: The Foundations of Cognitive Science, an Anthology (Malden, MA: Blackwell); ISBN 978-1557868770.

      • An excellent anthology of classic papers.

    2. Gardner, Howard (1987), The Mind's New Science, new edition (New York: Basic Books); ISBN 978-0465046355.

    3. Thagard, Paul (2005), Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science, 2nd edition (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press); ISBN 0-262-70109-X.

    4. Wilson, Robert A.; & Keil, Frank C. (eds.) (2001), The MIT Encyclopedia of the Cognitive Sciences (Cambridge, MA: MIT Press).



    1. As the semester progresses, I will adjust some of the dates below to reflect what we actually do in class, rather than on what I hope to do:-)

    2. There will be guest lectures by faculty members of the UB Center for Cognitive Science (CCS). As these are arranged, they will be added to the schedule below.

    3. You should make every effort to attend the colloquia sponsored by CCS. These are held on Wednesdays, 2:00-4:00 p.m., in Park 280. (If you need to leave for a 3:00 or 3:30 class, that's OK; the lectures usually end around 3:00 and the rest of the time is used for discussion.) The CCS colloquium schedule will be announced over the class Listserv and is posted online at: CCS Fall 2007 Colloquia.
    DAY MO DT TOPICS Thagard
    correlated w/topics)
    (readings not
    correlated w/topics)
    (readings related to topics)
    (readings related to topics)
    T Aug 28 Intro. to course.
    What is CogSci?
    Ch.1: Intro Preface;
    Intros to Part I-IV
    Rapaport 2000
    Boden 2006: 1-16
    Watson 1913
    Miller 1956
    Chomsky 1959
    Th   30 What is the mind? Ch.1:
    Representation & Computation
      Ch.2: Putnam, "Minds & Machines"
    Ch.33: Churchland, "Eliminative Materialism"
    MITECS: "Philosophy"
    Fodor 1981
    T Sep 4 Reasoning. Ch.2: Logic Ch.2:
    Foundation for CogSci
      to be announced
    Th   6 "Theory of mind".     (Ch.32: Fodor, "Modularity") to be announced
    T   11 Rules. Ch.3: Rules Ch.3:
    CogSci 1st Decades
    Ch. 3: Haugeland, "Semantic Engines"
    Ch. 4: Fodor, "LOT"
    Ch. 6: Newell/Simon, "GPS"
    Ch. 7: Winograd, "Lang. Understanding"
    Ch.16: Fodor.., "Connectionism"
    Ch.17: Smolensky, "Connectionism"
    Ch.18: Pinker.., "Rules"
    "Computational Intelligence"
    Th   13 No class:
    Rosh Hashana
    T   18 Connectionism. Ch.7: Connections Ch.4: Philosophy Ch.11: Rosenblatt, "Perceptron"
    Ch. 8: Anderson.., "Learning"
    Ch.14: Rumelhart.., "Past Tense"
    OR Ch.15: Sejnowski, "Pronouncing.."
    (Ch.12: Churchland, "ANN")
    Th   20 No class:
    WJR out of town
    (catch →
    (or work →
    up →
    on →
    on →
    term-project →
    T   25 Concepts & categories. Ch.4: Concepts Ch.5: Psychology   MITECS:
    Th   27 Concepts & categories
          to be announced
    T Oct 2 Chomsky.   Ch.6: AI Ch.28: Chomsky, "Innate Ideas"
    Ch.29: Putnam, "Innateness"
    Ch.30: Chomsky, "Linguistics & Philosophy"
    (Ch.31: Spelke, "Initial Knowledge"
    "Linguistics & Language"
    Th   4 Metaphors.       Lakoff & Johnson 1980
    T   9 Analogies. Ch.5: Analogies Ch.7: Linguistics    
    Th   11 Mental images.

    Term-project proposals due.

    Ch.6: Images      
    T   16 Vision.

    Guest lecture by:
    Susan Udin,
    Dept. of Physiology & Biophysics

    Ch.8: Review Ch.8: Anthropology Ch. 5: Marr, "Vision"
    Ch.24: Lettvin.., "Frog's Eye"
    (Ch.26: Sejnowski.., "Computational Neurosci")
    Th   18 Neuroscience. "Extensions to CogSci";
    Ch.9: Brains
      Ch.19: Hebb, "Organization of Behavior
    Ch.20: Lashley, "Engram"
    Ch.21: McCulloch/Pitts, "Logical Calculus"
    T   23 Emotions. Ch.10: Emotions Ch.9: Neuroscience    
    Th   25 Emotions
    T   30 Consciousness. Ch.11: Consciousness Ch.10: Perceiving Ch.22: Place, "Consciousness=Brain Process?"  
    Th Nov 1 Consciousness
    T   6 Embodied CogSci Ch.12: "Bodies.." Ch.11: Imagery    
    Th   8 Embodied CogSci
    T   13 Societies. Ch.13: Societies Ch.12: Categories   MITECS:
    Th   15 Societies
    T   20 Interdisciplinary CogSci:
    Deictic-Center Project
    Future of CogSci
    Ch.13: Reasoning   Rapaport et al. 1989
    Th   22 No class: Thanksgiving (catch →
    (or finish →
    up →
    term- →
    on →
    project →
    T   27 Interdisciplinary CogSci:
    CVA Project
      Ch.14: Conclusion   Rapaport & Kibby (in press)
    Th   29 Turing's test of cognition     Ch.10: Turing, "Computing Machinery" MITECS: "Turing";
    Rapaport 2000d
    T Dec 4 Chinese Room Argument     Ch.9: Searle, "Minds, Brains, Programs" MITECS: "CRA"
    Th   6 Last class:
    M   10 Term projects due.        


    "Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself." — Chinese Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink." — American Proverb

    "You can lead a horse to water, but you must convince him it is water before there is any chance he will drink." — Albert Goldfain

    "Education is not filling a bucket, but lighting a fire" — William Butler Yeats

    1. There are a lot of topics to cover, and not nearly as many lectures as there are topics. Consequently, in lectures, I will only be able to skim the surface of the issues. But I will assign a lot of reading, which I will expect you all to do. (Which is different from expecting you to do all of it :-)

      No matter how far we stray from the tentative schedule, if you do the readings at the assigned times, you will be able to finish everything by the end of the semester. (I recognize, however, that you may not have time to do anything else :-)

    2. Reading Journal:

      To help you keep track of your reading and the ideas you have while reading, it will be useful for you to keep a "Reading Journal": For each item you read, copy interesting quotes (or at least full references to them) and—most importantly—include your comments on them and on the issues raised in each item you read. (For suggestions on how to do this, see the
      "Keep a Notebook" section of my "How to Study" guide on the Web.) An alternative is to write a 1-paragraph commentary on each reading: some insight or idea that struck you from the reading, an extension or application of the ideas, a question that the reading inspired (perhaps informed by some further reading on your part), or any other commentary inspired by the reading. The commentaries should not be summaries of the reading.(*)

      I reserve the right to collect these Journals at any time during, or at the end of, the semester and to include them in the grade calculation.

    3. How much do you really have to read?

      Thagard is a textbook. Gardner is a history. Cummins is an anthology of classic papers. "Other" are other classic or useful papers. So, do you prefer to read a textbook? Or do you prefer history—finding out how cognitive science got to where the textbook says it is? Or do you prefer reading original research papers by the people who made cognitive science what the textbook says it is and who are talked about in the history? It's pretty much up to you.

      But here's a guide: There are 3 levels at which you can keep up with the reading assignments:

      1. Minimal: Just read Thagard. Or just read Gardner. Or just read some of the papers listed under Cummins and "other".

      2. Medium: Read Thagard and Gardner. Or read Thagard and some of the papers listed under Cummins and "other". Or read Gardner and some of those papers.

      3. Maximal: Read Thagard and Gardner and some of the papers.

      You should include all the "minimal" readings in your Reading Journal; you may include any "medium" or "maximal" readings, too.

    4. As if this wasn't enough, from time to time, I will suggest other readings, too :-)



    1. You will be expected to:

      1. attend all lectures (attendance will be taken),
      2. participate in class discussions,
      3. complete all readings and assignments on time, and
      4. do a term project (see below).

    2. Any important announcements will be made in lecture. Therefore, be sure to get a classmate's phone number or email address (for instance, 1 or 2 people sitting next to you in class, whoever they are!) so that you will not miss announcements in the unlikely event that you miss a class.

      Announcements may also be posted to the course website or the email Listserv.

    3. Email Listserv:

      You will automatically be placed on an email list (a "Listserv") for the course. If you do not normally read email at the email address that UB has as your official address, please either do so for this course, or else have your mail forwarded. I will use this list as my main means of communicating with you out of class. And you can use it to communicate with the rest of us.

      You may send questions and comments that are of general interest to the entire class using the Listserv: Just send them to:

      You can also send email just to me, at:

      In any case, be sure to fill in the subject line, beginning with "CSE 575: " so that my mailer doesn't think it's spam.

      If you send email just to me that I deem to be of general interest, I will feel free to remail it to the email list along with my reply unless you explicitly tell me that you want to remain anonymous, in which case I may choose to remail it to the email list preserving your anonymity.

      The emails will be archived at the listserv website, and I will also archive them at

      For more information, read the Listserv Information webpage.


      The term project may be either a research report or a programming project.

      1. A research report must be one of the following:

        1. A critical study of a book or related series of articles on some topic in cognitive science.
          (This may include—but may not be limited to—any of the required or recommended readings for the course.)

          • A "critical study" includes both a summary of the book or articles under discussion and an evaluation of it.

          • The evaluation could consist of a summary of someone else's evaluation of it, or (better) it could consist of your evaluation of it.

          • One way to make evaluating a cognitive science book a bit easier is to choose one from a discipline different from your own.

        2. An inter- or multidisciplinary, mock grant proposal for a cognitive-science research project that would investigate some problem in cognition from the perspectives of 2 or 3 of the cognitive sciences.

          • Such a proposal usually contains a summary of a problem area, a brief review of some the relevant literature, a statement of open questions that you propose to research, and a description of what you will do to try to answer them.

          • In an inter- or multidisciplinary proposal, you'd need to discuss how each discipline will contribute to the research.

        In either case, you must indicate how the topic is related to cognitive science, preferably to the material covered in lectures and readings.

        Moreover, it should not just be a re-hash of either (a) a paper you have done (or are doing) for another course or (b) material that you are already knowledgeable in. In other words, the paper should be a learning experience. So, if you are majoring in cognitive-science-related academic discipline X, and the term paper covers disciplines X and Y, then the amount of material on X should be no more than 50% (if it covers X, Y, and Z, then no more than 33%).

        I may be willing to allow 2-to-3-person collaborative teams to prepare the report. Possibly, each student on the team should concentrate on an academic discipline that is different from their own. E.g, in a 2-person team representing disciplines X and Y, the student majoring in X should read the literature from discipline Y, and vice versa. Then the expert from the other discipline can answer questions and offer guidance. The final report must clearly indicate who wrote what and/or what each person's contribution was.

      2. A programming project could be:

        1. a re-implementation of an existing cognitive-science computer program

        2. a computational implementation of (some part of) a cognitive-science theory

        3. a computational implementation of a feature of human cognition.

        Restrictions analogous to those for the research report apply (e.g., you can't submit a program that you're writing for another course or for your dissertation).

        The final report for a programming project must include:

        1. a technical report, in the style of a paper in a conference proceedings, that describes the theory and your implementation, and

        2. one or more appendices containing annotated sample runs and annotated code (as appropriate).

        For an example of such a report, see Goldfain 2003.

      All reports (whether a research report or a programming project) should be about 10-15 pages, double-spaced (i.e., approximately 2500-4000 words), and printed on only one side of the page.

      All reports must follow the writing guidelines in the document "How to Write", which also contains helpful hints on American English punctuation and usage.

      A proposal for your term project is due no later than Thursday, October 11. No late proposals will be accepted, and no term projects will be accepted without an approved proposal. The project is due no later than Monday, December 10.

    5. Students should notify Prof. Rapaport within the first two weeks of class if they have a disability which would make it difficult to carry out course work as outlined (requiring note-takers, readers, extended test time).


    For information on my philosophy of grading, see my web document on "How I Grade"


    It is University policy that a grade of Incomplete is to be given only when a small amount of work or a single exam is missed due to circumstances beyond the student's control, and that student is otherwise doing passing work. I will follow this policy strictly! Thus, you should assume that I will not give incompletes :-)

    Any incompletes that I might give, in a lapse of judgment :-), will have to be made up by the end of the
    Spring 2008

    For more information on Incomplete policies, see the Graduate School web page, "Incomplete Grades".


    While it is acceptable to discuss general approaches with your fellow students, the work you turn in must be your own. It is the policy of this department that any violation of academic integrity will result in an F for the course, that all departmental financial support including teaching assistantships, research assistantships, or scholarships be terminated, that notification of this action be placed in the student's confidential departmental record, and that the student be permanently ineligible for future departmental financial support. If you have any problems doing the assignments, consult Prof. Rapaport. Please be sure to read the webpage, "Academic Integrity: Policies and Procedures", which spells out all the details of this, and related, policies.

    For some hints on how to avoid plagiarism when writing essays for courses, see my website "Plagiarism".


    In large classes (but surely not ours :-), students have been known to be disruptive, either to the instructor or to fellow students. The university's policies on this topic, both how the instructor should respond and how students should behave, may be found in the PDF document "Obstruction or Disruption in the Classroom".

    (*) The idea and wording for such reading-commentaries are borrowed from the assignments for Stuart M. Shieber's course "Can Machines Think". [Back to text]

    Copyright © 2007 by William J. Rapaport (