COMP 47230: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Cognitive science is concerned with knowing, in the most general sense, of the relationship between the knower and the known. While there are some introductory textbooks to the field, I have not found any that is satisfactory. Cognitive science is a massively interdisciplinary undertaking. Its basic is question asks “What is it to know something.” This question is relevant to philosophers, psychologists, neuroscientists, humanists of many stripes, anthropologists, linguists, and plain old folk.

No simple answer will suffice here, and the many partial answers we have must all make assumptions about who the knower is, and what it is to know. There are many bold claims in the scientific literature, and even more in the popular press, but they do not add up to a single coherent account of who we are, how we know anything, or how the fundamental questions of knowing should be understood and addressed.

The video material here forms part of a course taught at University College Dublin in Autumn 2020. Additional links to relevant readings, both required (of enrolled students) and optional (for further reading) are provided.

Here is the syllabus for the module. Please study it carefully. It tells you what material to watch and read for each class, and provides information about assessments.

Inquiries about the course can be made to Fred Cummins,, who is solely responsible for all material presented here.

To begin, please watch this introductory video:

(If you were using automatic subtitles, my email is given incorrectly in the video. My email is

Topic 1: The History of Cognitive Science

History of Cognitive Science: Readings and Resources

Topic 2: Language and Languaging

Language and Languaging: Readings and Resources

Topic 3: Learning and Development

Learning and Development: Readings and Resources

Topic 4: Perception

Perception: Readings and Resources

Topic 5: Social Cognition

Social Cognition: Readings and Resources

Topic 6: Brains and Cognitive Neuroscience

Cognitive Neuroscience: Readings and Resources

Topic 7: Movement

Movement: Readings and Resources