This introduction to the interdisciplinary study of cognition takes the novel approach of bringing several disciplines to bear on the subject of communication. Using the perspectives of linguistics, logic, AI, philosophy, and psychology—the component fields of cognitive science—to explore topics in human communication in depth, the book shows readers and students from any background how these disciplines developed their distinctive views, and how those views interact.
The book introduces some sample phenomena of human communication that illustrate the approach of cognitive science in understanding the mind, and then considers theoretical issues, including the relation of logic and computation and the concept of representation. It describes the development of a model of natural language and explores the link between an utterance and its meaning and how this can be described in a formal way on the basis of recent advances in AI research. It looks at communication employing graphical messages and the similarities and differences between language and diagrams. Finally, the book considers some general philosophical critiques of computational models of mind.
The book can be used at a number of different levels. A glossary, suggestions for further reading, and a Web site with multiple-choice questions are provided for nonspecialist students; advanced students can supplement the material with readings that take the topics into greater depth.
About the Authors
Keith Stenning is Professor of Human Communication in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh. He is author of Seeing Reason and coauthor of Introduction to Cognition and Communication (MIT Press, 2006).
Jo Calder is Senior Consultant for Mekon Ltd., a firm specializing in information creation, management, and delivery.
Alex Lascarides is a Reader in Computational Linguistics at the University of Edinburgh.
"This comprehensive and excellent introduction does justice to all the relevant subdisciplines of cognitive science, providing lucid coverage of the basics as well as advanced material in areas such as discourse processing and the use of visual media in communication."
—Rich Thomason, Departments of Philosophy, Computer Science, and Linguistics, University of Michigan
"Human cognition sparkles brightest in the theatre of communication. This book takes you there the 'Edinburgh Way': that is, with a sound mix of psychology, logic, linguistics, computer science, and always-lively philosophical debate."
—Johan van Benthem, University of Amsterdam and Stanford University
"The beauty of this introductory text is that it keeps your mind thinking, thinking, and thinking."
—Gerd Gigerenzer, director, Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin