New Cognitive Science Books

Over the next few months, several cognitive science books will be coming out that look really interesting. I thought I'd list a few of them, in case you're interested in checking them out once they're published.

  • The Prehistory of Cognitive Science - Andrew Brook, Editor


    Featuring contributions from leading figures such as Noam Chomsky, Don Ross, Andrew Brook and Patricia Kitcher, this book traces the philosophical roots behind contemporary understandings of cognition, forming both a convincing case for the centrality of philosophy to the history of neuroscience and cognitive psychology, as well as a revealing insight into the way in which ideas have developed, influenced and ultimately moulded our modern view of the mind.


    List of Contributors
    The Separation of Thought and Action in Western Tradition; S.Ohlsson
    Language and Thought: Descartes and Some Reflections on Venerable Themes; N.Chomsky
    Hobbes' Challenge; M.Dascal
    Doing It His Way: Hume's Theory of Ideas and Contemporary Cognitive Science; A.J.Jacobson
    Kant and Cognitive Science; A.Brook
    The Early Darwinians, Natural Selection and Cognitive Science; D.Ross
    Wundt's Theoretical Psychology: An Unknown Legacy From a Gilded Age; A.L.Blumenthal
    Frege: Furnishing Formal Foundations; P.Simons
    Remembering William James; T.B.Henley

  • A Cognitive Theory of Magic - Jesper Sørensen


    Magic is a universal phenomenon. Everywhere we look people perform ritual actions in which desirable qualities are transferred by means of physical contact and objects or persons are manipulated by things of their likeness. In this book Sørensen embraces a cognitive perspective in order to investigate this long-established but controversial topic. Following a critique of the traditional approaches to magic, and basing his claims on classical ethnographic cases, the author explains magic's universality by examining a number of recurrent cognitive processes underlying its different manifestations. He focuses on how power is infused into the ritual practice; how representations of contagion and similarity can be used to connect otherwise distinct objects in order to manipulate one by the other; and how the performance of ritual prompts representations of magical actions as effective. Bringing these features together, the author proposes a cognitive theory of how people can represent magical rituals as purposeful actions and how ritual actions are integrated into more complex representations of events. This explanation, in turn, yields new insights into the constitutive role of magic in the formation of institutionalised religious ritual.

  • Irony in Language and Thought - Raymond W. Gibbs, Jr. and Herbert L. Colston, Editors


    Irony in Language and Thought assembles an interdisciplinary collection of seminal empirical and theoretical papers on irony in language and thought into one comprehensive book. A much-needed resource in the area of figurative language, this volume centers on a theme from cognitive science--that irony is a fundamental way of thinking about the human experience. The editors lend perspective in the form of opening and closing chapters, which enable readers to see how such works have furthered the field, as well as to inspire present and future scholars.

    Featured articles focus on the following topics:
    *theories of irony, addressing primarily comprehension of its verbal form;
    *context in irony comprehension;
    *social functions of irony;
    *the development of irony understanding; and
    *situational irony.

    Scholars and students in psychology, linguistics, philosophy, literature, anthropology, artificial intelligence, art, and communications will consider this book an excellent resource. It serves as an ideal supplement in courses that present major ideas in language and thought.


    Contents: Part I: Introduction. H.L. Colston, R.W. Gibbs, A Brief History of Irony. Part II: Theories of Irony. H. Clark, R. Gerrig, On the Pretense Theory of Irony. D. Wilson, D. Sperber, On Verbal Irony. S. Kumon-Nakamura, S. Glucksberg, M. Brown, How About Another Piece of Pie: The Allusional Pretense Theory of Discourse Irony. H.L. Colston, On Necessary Conditions for Verbal Irony Comprehension. S. Attardo, Irony as Relevant Inappropriateness. Part III: Context in Irony Comprehension. R.W. Gibbs, On the Psycholinguistics of Sarcasm. R. Giora, O. Fein, Irony: Context and Salience. S. McDonald, Neuropsychological Studies of Sarcasm. P. Pexman, T. Ferretti, A. Katz, Discourse Factors That Influence On-line Reading of Metaphor and Irony. J. Schwoebel, S. Dews, E. Winner, K. Srinivas, Obligatory Processing of Literal Meaning of Ironic Utterances: Further Evidence. C. Curco, Irony: Negation, Echo, and Metarepresentation. Part IV: The Social Functions of Irony. S. Dews, J. Kaplan, E. Winner, Why Not Say It Directly? The Social Functions of Irony. H.L. Colston, Salting a Wound or Sugaring a Pill: The Pragmatic Functions of Ironic Criticism. R.W. Gibbs, Irony in Talk Among Friends. L. Anolli, R. Ciceri, M. Infantino, From "Blame by Praise" to "Praise by Blame": Analysis of Vocal Patterns in Ironic Communication. H. Kotthoff, Responding to Irony in Different Contexts: On Cognition in Communication. Part V: Development of Irony Understanding. M. Creusere, A Developmental Test of Theoretical Perspectives on the Understanding of Verbal Irony: Children's Recognition of Allusion and Pragmatic Insincerity. J. Hancock, P. Dunham, K. Purdy, Children's Comprehension of Critical and Complimentary Forms of Verbal Irony. M. Glenwright, P. Pexman, Children's Perceptions of the Social Functions of Irony. Part VI: Situational Irony. J. Lucariello, Situational Irony: A Concept of Events Gone Awry. A. Utsumi, Verbal Irony as Implicit Display of Ironic Environment: Distinguishing Ironic Utterances From Nonirony. C. Shelley, The Bicoherence Theory of Situational Irony. Part VII: Conclusion. R.W. Gibbs, H.L. Colston, The Future of Irony Studies.

  • Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science - Paul Thagard, Editor


    Psychology is the study of thinking, and cognitive science is the interdisciplinary investigation of mind and intelligence that also includes philosophy, artificial intelligence, neuroscience, linguistics, and anthropology. In these investigations, many philosophical issues arise concerning methods and central concepts.

    The Handbook of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science contains 16 essays by leading philosophers of science that illuminate the nature of the theories and explanations used in the investigation of minds.

    Topics discussed include representation, mechanisms, reduction, perception, consciousness, language, emotions, neuroscience, and evolutionary psychology.


    General Preface (Dov Gabbay, Paul Thagard and John Woods)
    Introduction to the Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Sience (Paul Thagard)
    List of Contributors
    Representation (Eric Dietrich)
    Mechanisms and Psychological Explanation (Cory Wright and William Bechtel)
    Realization: Metaphysical and Scientific Perspectives (Robert A. Wilson and Carl F. Craver)
    Reduction: Models of Cross-Scientific Relations (Robert N. McCauley)
    Perception Preattentive and Phenomenal (Austen Clark)
    Consciousness: Phenomenal Consciousness, Access Consciousness and Scientific Practice (Uriah Kriegel)
    On Restricting the Evidence Base for Linguistics (Corrine Iten, Robert Stainton and Catherine Wearing)
    Emotion: Competing Theories and Philosopical Issues (Jesse J. Prinz)
    Simulation (Alvin Goldman and Kelby Mason)
    The Theoretical and Methodological Foudations of Cognitive Neuroscience (Valerie Gray Hardcastle)
    Computational Neuroscience (Chris Eliasmith)
    Psychopathology: Minding Mental Illness (George Graham and G. Lynn Stephens)
    The Adaptive Programme of Evolutionary Psychology (Robert C. Richardson)
    Situated Cognition (Miriam Solomon)
    Artificial Intelligence: History, Foundations, and Philosophical Issues (B. Jack Copeland and Diane Proudfoot)

    Also, a new introduction to cognitive science will be published in December. You can read about it here.

    Naturally, you won't want to preorder any of these books, because they're expeeeeeensive, but I just wanted to let you know in case you wanted to be on the look out for them when they're published. I'm particularly looking forward to The Prehistory of Cognitive Science, and both the book on irony and the book on the philosophy of psychology look like they have some really interesting essays. I'm going to read Sørensen's book just because I like the title.

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I just picked up a copy of "Rhythms of the Brain" by Gyorgy Buzsaki. It is absolutely fantastic so far.

Also, Kevin wrote about a new book by Arthur Jensen called Clocking the Brain, but I haven't seen a copy of that yet. Thanks for the list!