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The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science Paperback – 19 Jul 2012

4.5 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 348 pages
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press (19 July 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0521691907
  • ISBN-13: 978-0521691901
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.8 x 22.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 742,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


'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, Philosophical Psychology

Book Description

A philosophical analysis of cognitive science, which is an enterprise devoted to understanding the nature of the mind, spanning several other disciplines such as psychology, neuroscience, and artificial intelligence. The volume surveys the foundational issues, the principal areas of research, and the major research programs.

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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Contrary to its title this is not a handbook in the traditional meaning of the word, as an encyclopaedic reference work (e.g. most Cambridge Handbooks are 2-3 times its length). Instead, each of the 15 chapters is a brief introduction to a topic, written by an expert, but dealing with the basics. These cover a comprehensive range of subjects, including representation, perception, action, concepts, consciousness, neuroscience, and so on. The Editors have done a good job of standardising the chapters as regards length, level of difficulty, and balance between competing theories. Most chapters also cover the historical development of the discipline. Each is followed by annotated recommended reading and references to the primary literature. The index and glossary are adequate and the price reasonable.

Several chapters however have an abbreviated feel, as thought the editors had cut down the length and number of citations beyond what the authors first intended. But as a professional in the field, the main problem I had was that it is dated: no chapter contains a citation to research and texts published since 2010 (for some, 2007) ... except for one: Ray Jackendoff's chapter on language cites his 2012 book, which suggests to me that it was Jackendoff who held up publication for two years.

Apart from that, I would recommend this book to anyone unfamiliar with cognitive science who wishes to learn what is happening in this important interdisciplinary field.
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Format: Paperback
Having looked at many handbooks to aid me in my cognitive science studies, none comes close to this one in terms of providing an authoritative guide to the key theories. What sets this handbook apart is its clarity and conciseness. Each chapter is written by an expert in their area and provides up-to-date authoritative knowledge. The chapters are short; however, each chapter clearly and concisely covers the current main theories/approaches and the pros and cons of each.
The area of cognitive science covers a wide range of topics, and I have been using the handbook to research theories of emotion, concepts, reasoning and decision making, and consciousness. Approaching a topic such as emotions can appear daunting, as there are a variety of approaches and many theories, but little consensus. Although this book does not seek to provide an in-depth analysis of each topic, it provides a sufficient account of the key theories and issues. Recommended further reading for each topic is also highlighted in the book.
This book therefore serves as a very useful guideline, which can be supplemented by further reading for specific areas. As a postgrad cognitive science student I found this book invaluable and complementary to my studies, and I will continue to use it as a useful reference book throughout my career.
This book is a must have handbook for those interested in cognitive science. Considering how full of jargon topics in cognitive science can be, this book is clearly written and can be used by both undergrad and postgrad students in the area of cognitive science and cognitive psychology.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 8 reviews
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A USEFUL REFERENCE TOOL ON AN IMPORTANT SUBJECT (4-1/2*) 5 Dec. 2012
By David Keymer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I'm neither a philosopher nor computer scientist nor any variety of neuroscientist. I am however interested in advances in hg field of cognitive science and this book looks like a useful reference tool (which, in fact, it turns out to be).

Level of abstraction is the important consideration in a book like this: is it accessible to non-scientist readers or does it oversimplify complicated matters? The Cambridge Handbook succeeds very well on this count. It is definitely not an easy book to read. It bears slow and careful attention, with time between topics to reflect and absorb what has gone before, but a lay reader of either philosophy or other facets of cognitive science will be able to follow the argument and benefit from the concise summaries of complicated topics which it provides.

The chapters are written by experts who are for the most part prominent in their fields of study. Many are philosophers but an anthropologist is included as are a quantitative analyst, a neuroscientist and a computer scientist, and several psychologists represented among the authors, each writing on their own area of expertise and research. Only one of them have I read before -Ray Jackendorf on language acquisition and use. It was interesting for me to read these articles because most of my reading has been about either computer simulation or applied brain research. Although I was aware that philosophy was part of the mix of disciplines adding to our understanding of cognitive issues, I knew little of what philosophers had written on these themes.

As to its layout, the book is presented in three sections: foundations (historical overview and core themes; separate entries on the representational theory of the mind and cognitive architectures -the latter is especially helpful); aspects of cognition (from perception through emotion and consciousness); and research programs.

The articles run roughly twenty pages each and are organized by headings and subheadings for easy reference. Each includes a bibliography of the references used in the article and suggestions for further reading. They seem to this reader to be scrupulously fair in presenting different views in their fields: it's quite helpful for an amateur like me who is trying to keep up with a field of vast importance for us but one which is also highly technical and rapidly changing. One theme that runs through several of the entries in the hope that sometime in the not too distant future, a unifying theory will be found to bridge rule-derived and connectionist theories of, for instance, language acquisition, and to bring closer the insights yielded by computer simulations and the study of the brain.
5.0 out of 5 stars A good reference book on cognitive science 23 Jun. 2016
By Ricardo Acuña - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Cambridge Handbook of Cognitive Science is a good reference book dealing with the history, the most current developments and research in cognitive science. It is not a technical book. It is rather a collection of essays by experts in the field: psychology, philosophy, computer science, neuroscience and anthropology."A number of the chapters in this volume are written by people who are usually characterized, not as cognitive scientists per se, but as philosophers of cognitive science".

I found it a little bit difficult to read. Some parts I needed to read more slowly and carefully. Cognitive science is still a field of knowledge that is not entirely unified and coherent. Its is in its infancy. We are far from fully understanding how the brain and mind works, despite the progress made. This book describes some theories that have been developed throughout history to the present, on cognitive processes in the brain/mind: memory, learning, perception, action, decision making, language, emotion, consciousness .

My final thought is that there are too much to investigate further, to integrate many different theories into a coherent and unified theory of mind. This book is a good reference on the state of the art in cognitive science (mostly philosophical), and the exciting and challenging interdisciplinary research, going on, and still to carry out
4.0 out of 5 stars Cognitive science 8 Sept. 2015
By spellman - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a compilation of papers from various authors covering numerous subjects in the growing field of cognitive science. The field includes AI R and R, but the papers d o not specifically address this subject aside from describing how AI development may stem from research in cognitive science and how AI algorithms may help in the development of the study of mind, memory, and action. I found the papers on cognition and evolution fascinating.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Cognitive science is a winner. 5 April 2013
By Philip Henderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
In the past twenty years I have read more than fifty books about human consciousness. Some writers were philosphers, some psychologists, others psychiatrists, cognitive scientists, neurosurgeons, each studying the human mind from their perspective. Making sense of how everything goes together is the work of cognitive scientists. Since George H. W. Bush declared the 1990's the decade of the brain some of the brightest minds have tackled this human organ. Understanding how the brain creates human consciousness is the goal for all these scientists. Only a few in our society use much of their time considering how consciousness makes us who we are. This book gives a comprehensive compendium of some of the best ideas about how our brains present life to us. There are no answers but there is great discussion about so many of the pieces of human consciousness. Many scientists believe the brain will never be able to understand itself . . . I have higher hopes.
0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars 17 July 2014
By Lappoon Rupert Tang - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Great book arrived in perfect timing
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