SE367: Introduction to Cognitive Science

Department of Computer Science & Engineering, IIT Kanpur

Jul - Dec 2014

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Course Notes


Week 1

  1. Churchland, Paul M.; Matter and Consciousness: A Contemporary Introduction to the Philosophy of Mind
    MIT Press (Bradford book), 1988, 184 pages
    ( Mind-body problem, ch.2; from [PDF]
  2. Ned Block, Comparing the Major Theories of Consciousness, ch.77 from
    Gazzaniga, Michael S.; [extremely truncated]
    The Cognitive Neurosciences IV (fourth ed.)
    Massachusetts Institute of Technolology, 2009, 1294 pages
    (excerpted from Cognet) [PDF]
  3. Kahneman, Daniel; Thinking, Fast and Slow
    Penguin Books, Limited, 2011, 499 pages
    (excerpts from intro, ch. 1 and ch.3) [PDF]
  4. Murphy, Kevin P.; Chapter 1
    Machine Learning: A Probabilistic Perspective
    Mit Press, 2012, 1067 pages [PDF]

Week 2-3

  1. Phineas Gage and Frontal Lobe Lobotomy -
    extract from "The Last Hippie", in Oliver Sacks, An anthropologist on
    Mars, Knopf, 1995, 327 pages
  2. Box on Frontal Lobotomy - from Bears and Connors, Neuroscience [PDF]
  3. Rodolfo Llinas, Interview with Roger Bingham on The science Network: Transcript
    Can also watch the video here

    [NOTE: You can skip the autobiographical parts;
    transcript - focus on p.2-5 (cells, brains as predictors),
    8-11 (Free will / TMS), 13-16 (nanowires)]
    Video: 6:00 to 20:00min : cells - multicellularity;
    37 - 41min : transcranial magnetic stimulation - free will
    54 min: stimulate the brain by nanowires - passed through
    vascular cavities - can have profound effects]
  4. Joshua B. Tenenbaum and Vin de Silva and John C. Langford,
    A global geometric framework for nonlinear dimensionality reduction,
    Science, 2000 [PDF]

Reading Set for Language Segment

Please find it on the local webpage on this link


  • 1. p. 13 to 17 (excerpt from chapt 2)
    Chomsky, Noam;
    Syntactic structures
    Mouton, 1957
    [chomsky-1957_syntactic-structures-p-13-17.pdf] [PDF]
  • chapt 1 from
    Tomasello, Michael;
    Constructing a Language: A Usage-based Theory of Language Acquisition
    Harvard University Press, 2005
    [An articulation of the difficulties with the generative grammar (nativist)
    view of language acquisition. ]


Take a printout of the 600px image: Image
Every time you read of a brain area, try to mark it on the image.

Optional (Supplementary Material)

  • Rodolfo Llinas, "I of the Vortex : From neurons to self",
    chapters 1 and part of 2. Complements the Video interview very well. [PDF]
  • Oliver Sacks - the Last Hippie - read the full story of Greg F. and the
    amnesia caused by frontal lobe damage. [PDF]
    [related: The Music Never Stopped : critically acclaimed movie by Jim
    Kohlberg, 2011]
  • Sam Kean, Phineas Gage, Neuroscience’s Most Famous Patient, May 2014, [PDF]
  • Antonio Damasio: Descartes' Error: Emotion, Reason, and the Human Brain
    GP Putnams 1994 / Harper-Quill 2000 [PDF]
    Kean, (above) is somewhat disparaging about some remarks made
    by Damasio about Gage's life, but much of the discussion in
    Damasio remains relevant.
  • Videos