The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science

edited by Keith Frankish and William M. Ramsey

Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Format: Hardback, paperback
ISBN: HB 978-0521-87141-9 PB 978-0521-69190-1
Publication date: July 2012
Publishers’ book webpage:


Cognitive science is a cross-disciplinary enterprise devoted to understanding the nature of the mind. In recent years, investigators in philosophy, psychology, the neurosciences, artificial intelligence, and a host of other disciplines have come to appreciate how much they can learn from one another about the various dimensions of cognition. The result has been the emergence of one of the most exciting and fruitful areas of inter-disciplinary research in the history of science.

This volume of original essays surveys foundational, theoretical, and philosophical issues across the discipline, and introduces the foundations of cognitive science, the principal areas of research, and the major research programs. With a focus on broad philosophical themes rather than detailed technical issues, the volume will be valuable not only to cognitive scientists and philosophers of cognitive science, but also to those in other disciplines looking for an authoritative and up-to-date introduction to the field.

Each chapter is a specially commissioned survey article from a leading writer in the area – either a philosopher of cognitive science or a scientist with strong theoretical interests. The approach is thematic rather than historical, and the chapters are primarily survey pieces, though critical assessment is also included, where appropriate. The volume will be suitable for upper-level undergraduates, graduate students, and scholars, with a particular emphasis on the second group. No extensive background knowledge is assumed, either in philosophy or the primary subject areas themselves.

A companion Handbook of Artificial Intelligence has been prepared by the same editors, and the two volumes have been conceived as a pair.


• Technical jargon is avoided as far as possible and no significant background knowledge of the field is assumed
• Includes supporting material, such as annotated chapter-specific further reading sections and an extensive glossary
• Concise, authoritative and up-to-date coverage of a rapidly developing and expanding field

Table of contents

List of tables and figures
Notes on Contributors
Introduction, Keith Frankish and William M. Ramsey
Part I: Foundations
1. History and core themes , Adele Abrahamsen and William Bechtel
2. The representational theory of mind, Barbara Von Eckardt
3. Cognitive architectures, Paul Thagard
Part II: Aspects of cognition
4. Perception, Casey O’Callaghan
5. Action, Elisabeth Pacherie
6. Human learning and memory, Charan Ranganath, Laura A. Libby, and Ling Wong
7. Reasoning and decision making, Mike Oaksford, Nick Chater, and Neil Stewart
8. Concepts, Gregory L. Murphy and Aaron B. Hoffman
9. Language, Ray Jackendoff
10. Emotion, Jesse Prinz
11. Consciousness, William G. Lycan
Part III: Research programs
12. Cognitive neuroscience, Dominic Standage and Thomas Trappenberg
13. Evolutionary psychology, H. Clark Barrett
14. Embodied, embedded, and extended cognition, Andy Clark
15. Animal cognition, Sara J. Shettleworth


Extracts from the book, including the introduction and Chapter 1, can be read on the publisher’s webpage for the book. You can also download the introduction to the book.

Academic reviews

“a broad and authoritative collection of original essays in the field, collated in one volume, in a highly accessible format, for wider consumption than just those interested in the core subject, augmented further by a glossary of terms and recommendations for further reading in the various aspects of this wide-ranging field. … [D]ense enough to satisfy the more experienced cognitive scientist, but open enough to the student who has some but not a deep or wide background in the cognitive sciences.
Roy Sugarman, Director of Applied Neuroscience, Athletes Performance, Arizona. In Metapsychology, Vol. 17 (2013), Iss. 46. Read the full review.

“[W]e think that volumes like The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science are critically important: they provide a venue for relatively unconstrained data-driven theorizing, and they provide a resource to get young philosophers excited about working within the cognitive sciences. They also provide a high-level text for those who teach at the interface between theoretical and empirical cognitive science.
Eric Mandelbaum, Harvard University, and Bryce Huebner, Georgetown University. Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2013.02.22. Read the full review.

“Frankish and Ramsey have brought us a collection of solid contributions covering a range of topics central to contemporary cognitive science from world leading experts. The handbook will be useful for teaching purposes, especially providing first readings on topics, or for researchers seeking to diversify their knowledge and needing clear and broad introductions to unfamiliar areas. … All in all Frankish and Ramsey have collected a strong set of essays which will successfully serve the purposes of a handbook. Impressively the standard is even and high for all contributions and so the usefulness of each chapter will be limited only by particular researcher or teacher preferences and not by failings of particular contributors.”
Glen Carruthers, Macquarie University. Philosophy in Review Vol. 34 (2014), Nos. 1-2. Read the full review.

“Compiling a handbook for a well-established and tightly delineated discipline must be difficult enough. But, Frankish and Ramsey have gone well beyond this in compiling a handbook that aims to guide readers into an emerging, and quite frankly messy, world of interdisciplinary exploration. For this, their efforts should be commended. … the book, as a whole, comes highly recommended. Many of the papers will serve as ideal introductions to their given domains and, taken collectively, readers will be given a broad grounding in this fascinating area of study.”
Sam Clarke, The University of Warwick. Philosophical Psychology, Published online: 19 Jun 2014. Read the full review or read open access draft.

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