[Kognitionscentrum | Jordan Zlatev, content | Kristina Höök, administration ]

Cognition and Consciousness

A graduate course within the centre for Information Technology and Cognitive Science


The course is to serve as an introduction to the interdisciplinary study of HUMAN cognitive functioning. One of the drawbacks of "classical" cognitive science, i.e. the information-processing paradigm, is that it has been unable to say virtually anything about the central phenomenon of human cognition: consciousness and self-consciousness. Some recent theories in neurobiology, with concepts such as self-organization and epigenesis, seem to offer a better key to the understanding the "mystery of consciousness". Perhaps the most comprehensive of these theories is that of Gerald Edelman, summarized in his book "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire. On the Matter of the Mind". It includes not only a theory of cognition and its biological basis from its simplest forms (perceptual categorization) to the most complex (language, self-consciousness, emotion, mental illness) but a provoking discussion of how human cognition should and should not be studied which involves psychology, philosophy, linguistics and computational modelling - in connection with the biological and evolutionistic approach endorsed by Edelman.

That is why we consider that a careful review of Edelman's book - in combination with complementary material related will provide the participants in the course with a an up-to-date picture of the status of cognitive science and perhaps of its future. To emphasize the interdisciplinary charater of the problems which are adressed, the seminars constituting the course will be held by researchers from different cognitive sciences.


Literature: Edelman, "Bright Air, Brilliant Fire: On the matter of the Mind", BasicBooks, 1992.


The seminars will be given by Hans Liljenström, NADA, Pierre Wijkman, DSV, Jordan Zlatev, Linguistics, Balazs Gulyas, KI, Kristina Höök, SICS, Jan Anward, Linguistics, John Swedenmark, Linguistics, Steve Pink, SICS, Paul Needham, Philosophy, Jussi Karlgren, SICS, Jan Dahlquist, Psychology, and others. (Please contact us if you are interested in giving a seminar!)

The course will start when the course on Memory and Learning finishes (end of February). Proposed scedule:

In Electrum, Kista, we shall be in SICS seminar room at level 3. The room is located inbetween the pizza-place and the conference reception. Electrum is located on Isafjordsgatan 22 but can also be reached from Kistagången. For instructions on how to get to SICS click here.

The seminars will be divided into a 45 min. presentation followed by discussion. The participants should read the relevant chapters and any extra articles in advance in order to promote good discussions.

If needed the seminars will be held in English, otherwise Swedish.

Contact us!

If you are interested in participating as a student or as a seminarleader, please contact Kristina Höök (kia@sics.se) or Jordan Zlatev (jordan@ling.su.se).