The Department of Computer Science & Engineering
CSE/LIN/PHI/PSY 575 & APY 526:
Fall 2008


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

Last Update: 26 August 2008

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, Assignments, Listserv
  • How to Study
  • Grading
  • Incompletes
  • Academic Integrity
  • Classroom Disruptions





    Lecture Rapaport
    CSE 575:239450(3 cr.)
    LIN 575:424831(3 cr.)
    PHI 575:007030(3 cr.)
    PSY 575:422613(3 cr.)
    APY 526:176512(3 cr.)
    TTh 9:30—10:50 a.m. Capen 10


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

    2. 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 2008 Colloquia.
    T Aug 26 Intro to course   This syllabus  
    Th   28 What is cognitive science? Chs. 1-3 Overviews:
  • Rapaport 2000
  • Boden 2006: 1-16
  • Watson 1913
  • Miller 1956
  • Chomsky 1959
    T Sep 2 What is the mind? Ch.4
  • Putnam 1960
  • Fodor 1981
  • Fodor on modularity
  • Wilson, "Philosophy"
  • Crane, "Mind-Body Problem"
  • Baker, "Folk Psychology"
  • Gordon, "Simulation vs. Theory-Theory"
  • Gopnik, "Theory of Mind"
  • Th   4 Reasoning Ch.13 (or Ch.5)
  • "So You Think You're Logical"
  • Johnson-Laird 1980
  • Tversky & Kahneman 1974
  • Johnson-Laird, "Mental Models"
  • Gilovich, "Tversky, Amos"
  • T   9 AI: Computation Ch.6
  • Haugeland 1981
  • Aydede 2004
  • Jordan & Russell, "Comp'n'l Intell."
  • Lewis, "Cog. Modeling: Symbolic"
  • Th   11 Rules Ch.14 (or Ch.7) readings on rules Horgan & Tienson, "Rules & Rep'ns"
    T   16 "Good Old-Fashioned" Symbolic AI      
    Th   18 Newell & Simon   Newell et al. 1958 Simon, "Newell, Allen"
    T   23 Term-paper proposal due;
    Ch.7 (or Ch.8) Chomsky 1956
  • Chierchia, "Ling'ics & Lang."
  • Pesetsky, "Ling'ic Univ'ls & Univ'l Grammar"
  • Th   25 Connectionism Ch.5 (or Ch.9)
  • Rosenblatt 1958
  • McClelland & Rumelhart 1981
  • Fodor & Pylyshyn 1988
  • McClelland, "Cog. Modeling: Connectionist"
  • Jordan, "Neural Networks"
  • Ramsey, "Connectionism, Phil'al Issues"
  • Smolensky, "Connectionist Approaches to Lang."
  • T   30 (No Class: Rosh Hashanah)      
    Th Oct 2 Concepts & categories Ch.12 (or Ch.10) Mervis & Rosch 1981
  • Holyoak, "Psychology"
  • Medin & Aguilar, "Categorization"
  • Hampton, "Concepts"
  • T   7 Metaphor   Lakoff & Johnson 1980 Glucksberg, "Metaphor"
    Th   9 (No Class: Yom Kippur)      
    T   14 Memory   Miller 1956 Baddeley, "Memory"
    Th   16 Mental imagery Ch.11
  • Pylyshyn 1973
  • Pylyshyn 2003
  • Kosslyn 2005
  • Kosslyn & Rabin, "Imagery"
  • Tarr, "Mental Rotation"
  • T   21 Vision Ch.10 (or Ch.12)
  • Lettvin et al. 1959
  • Hubel 1982
  • Schiller, "Visual Anatomy & Physiology"
  • and other "Visual X" articles
  • Th   23 Cognitive neuroscience Ch.9 (or Ch.13) McCulloch & Pitts 1943
  • Albright & Neville, "Neurosciences"
  • Shepherd, "Neuron"
  • T   28 Emotion  
  • Simon 1967
  • Sloman
  • 3 articles on emotion
    Th   30 Consciousness  
  • Van Gulick, "Consciousness"
  • Nagel 1974
  • McGinn 1989
  • Koch & Greenfield 2007
  • 2 articles on consciousness
    T Nov 4 Situated cognition Ch.8 (or Ch.14)
  • Fodor 1980
  • Brooks 1991
  • Hollan et al. 2000, §§1-2
  • Clark & Chalmers1998
  • Sperber & Hirschfeld, "Culture, Cognition, & Evolution"
  • Smith, "Situatedness/Embeddedness"
  • Th   6 Interdisciplinary Cog Sci Projects:
    Deixis & Narrative
      Rapaport et al. 1989  
    F   7 No class, but:
    (Last R Day)
    T   11 Guest lecture by:      
    Th   13 Interdisciplinary Cog Sci Projects:
    Contextual Vocabulary Acquisition
      Rapaport & Kibby 2007  
    T   18 Turing Test
    & Chinese-Room Argument
  • Turing 1950
  • Searle 1980
  • Rapaport 2000
  • Michie, "Turing, Alan Mathison"
  • Searle, "Chinese Room Argument"
  • Th   20 To be determined      
    T   25 Guest lecture by:      
    Th   27 (No Class: Thanksgiving)      
    T Dec 2 To be determined Epilogue    
    Th   4 Summary & Review Gardner 1995
  • Miller 2003
  • Boden 2007
    M   8 No class, but:
    Term Papers 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. How much do you really have to read?

      "The more you read, the more intelligent you are. It's really that simple." — Ethan Hawke


      "To read critically is to read skeptically. The reader asks...not only, 'Do I understand what this means?' but 'Do I buy it?' " — Kenneth S. Goodman

      There are 3 levels at which you can keep up with the reading assignments:

      1. Minimal:
          Just read Gardner (if you want a historical overview), either in chapter order or in syllabus order.
          Or just read the classic papers (if you want to read the actual history).
          Also read MITECS for brief overviews of recent research.

      2. Medium: Read Gardner and the classic papers. (And MITECS.)

      3. Maximal: Read Gardner and the classic papers and the recommended-reading items that I will announce from time to time. (And MITECS.)



    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 "CSE575" 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 must be one of the following (I will provide more detailed information later in the semester):

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

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

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

      2. A critical study of a book (a monograph or anthology) on some topic in cognitive science.

        • A "critical study" includes both a summary of the book 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.

      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 project should be a learning experience. So, if you are majoring in cognitive-science-related academic discipline X, and the term paper covers disciplines X, Y, and Z, then the amount of material on X should be no more than 33%.

      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 Tuesday, September 23. (This is approximately 1/3 of the way into the semester.) 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 8 (which is the first day of final exams).

    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, etc.).



    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 2009

    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 the CSE department that any violation of academic integrity will result in an F for the course, that all CSE-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 CSE-departmental financial support. If you have any problems doing the assignments, consult Prof. Rapaport. Please be sure to read the webpage, "Probation, Academic Integrity and Discontinuance of Study", 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".

    Copyright © 2008 by William J. Rapaport (