Spring 2019 - COGS 300 D100

Selected Topics in Cognitive Science (3)

Class Number: 7648

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 11:30 AM – 1:20 PM
    AQ 5030, Burnaby

    Th 11:30 AM – 12:20 PM
    AQ 2104, Burnaby

  • Exam Times + Location:

    Apr 16, 2019
    12:00 PM – 3:00 PM
    WMC 3250, Burnaby

  • Prerequisites:

    60 credits.



An interdisciplinary exploration of recent work on some special topic in cognitive science (such as vision, reasoning, connectionism, etc.)


This course provides a basic introduction to formal tools that find applications in the domain of epistemology and cognitive science, as well as linguistics, computer science, and economics. The course will primarily focus on ways in which the tools of logic and Bayesian probability can be used to:
(1) model cognitive states, including states of knowledge and beliefs;
(2) processes that lead to the formation of belief and acquisition of knowledge;
(3) rules for changing beliefs and credences based on evidence.
This formal approach will enable us to precisely systematize various concepts of belief, to uncover hidden paradoxes and inconsistencies among those beliefs, to investigate how best to resolve the paradoxes, and to rigorously characterize various learning profiles and strategies.

The lectures will present the material in a clear and engaging way. Students are expected to attend classes and participate.


  • Acquire a working knowledge of the basic concepts of modal logic and relevant applications
  • Acquire a working knowledge of the basic concepts of Bayesian probability and relevant applications
  • Improve one’s capacity to make conceptual nuances in epistemology and related disciplines


  • The evaluations include homework assignments, exams, and one optional term paper. The term paper option is to accommodate students who might be somewhat insecure about their mathematical skills and wish to use their essay writing skills to hedge their bets, and it is also an excellent opportunity to explore interesting themes. Thus, two options are available for the nature and weights of the course requirements. Students will be expected to announce to the instructor which option they have selected by the end of the first month of class.
  • Option 1: * 10 homework assignments worth 5% each. * Midterm exam: 20% * Final exam: 30%
  • Option 2: * 10 homework assignments worth 4% each * Midterm exam: 15% * Final exam: 20% * Term paper: 25%



The core material about deontic logic per se will be delivered in class during lectures. Furthermore, a set of readings in PDF will be distributed to students. 
No textbook required.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html