Friday, July 17, 2009

Wednesday, February 27, 2008


New Taught MA Cognitive Science and 30 MA Bursaries, Queen's University Belfast

Cognitive science has become an essential discipline for those interested in
understanding human mentality and behaviour at both the individual and the
social level. This very distinctive course involves modules in Anthropology,
Psychology, and Philosophy, areas that seek to understand the nature of mind
and behaviour in different ways. The programme looks at the relation between
'folk' or commonsense psychology, which makes sense of human behaviour by
attributing to people mental states such as beliefs and desires, including
'folk' morality, and a scientific psychology. It also considers the relation
between different kinds of explanations used in the study of mind in distinct
empirical disciplines. The question of whether the an evolutionary framework
can be applied to the human mind and behaviour, and specifically whether the
logic of natural selection can be applied to it is considered, as are the
various cognitive theories of religion and ritual developed by cognitive
anthropologists and psychologists over the last twenty years.
Queen's University Belfast is unique in having world-class philosophers working
on issues concerning the nature of cognitive science and the different ways in
which different disciplines studying mind and behaviour work as well as having
a range of cutting-edge researchers from anthropology and evolutionary and
developmental psychology working in the cognitive science of culture, a new and
rapidly growing field in which scholars seek to combine evolutionary,
psychological and anthropological approaches to study the interplay between
cognition and culture.
Our MA enables students to develop an advanced knowledge and understanding of
the theoretical and methodological traditions that inform the study human
cognition in the areas mentioned above. The MA can be regarded as way of
furthering personal and professional development, culminating in the
distinction of a postgraduate degree in Cognitive Science, or as a stepping
stone for doctoral research in one or more of these areas at Queen's.

Staff Research Interests
A number of members of staff from Queen's are engaged in the MA in Cognitive
Science. Some are housed in the School of Politics, International Studies and
Philosophy, and others are housed in Queen's Institute of Cognition and
Professor Cynthia Macdonald (PISP, philosophy) is interested in the philosophy
of mind and philosophy of cognitive science. She authored of Mind-Body
Identity Theories and Varieties of Things and co-edited Philosophy of
Psychology and Connectionism, Knowing Our Own Minds, Readings in the
Foundations of Contemporary Metaphysics and McDowell and His critics. She has
published widely in the areas of philosophy of mind, philosophy of psychology,
and metaphysics, in Mind, Nous, Synthese, Analysis, Philosophy and
Phenomenological Research, The Journal of Philosophy and edited collections.
Professor Graham Macdonald (ICC, philosophy) is interested primarily in the
philosophy of mind, aspects of the philosophy of biology, and the philosophy of
social science. He co-authored Semantics and Social Science with Philip Pettit,
edited Perception and Identity: Essays Presented to A.J.Ayer , and co-edited
Fact, Science, and Morality , Philosophy of Psychology and Connectionism , and
Karl Popper: Critical Appraisals , McDowell and his Critics , and
Teleosemantics: New Philosophical Essays
Dr Jesse Bering (Director, ICC, psychology/anthropology) is interested in those
aspects of human cognition for which there is evidence suggestive of human
uniqueness from other animals. His early exposure to comparative psychology,
combined with his PhD in developmental psychology, led to his work studying how
the evolved human mind plays a part in religious thinking. More recently, he
and his students have begun investigating how our ancestors' concerns about
their reputations may have fundamentally altered the course of human social
evolution. He has published widely in psychology journals and edited volumes
and is author of 'The folk psychology of souls', Behavioral and Brain
Sciences Target Article with replies to commentaries (in Press).
Dr Paolo Sousa (ICC, anthropology) is interested in folk conceptions of mind,
agency and morality, religious representations and kinship relatedness. He has
participated in many cross-cultural projects and published numerous articles in
the field of cognition and culture. He has also applied an epidemiological
approach to the history of ideas of anthropology that has stimulated a major
controversy. He is currently writing a book on the folk concept of moral
Professor E. Thomas Lawson is the executive editor of the Journal of Cognition
and Culture and the founder of the cognitive science of religion field and of
the North American Association for the Study of Religion. He also played a
leading role in the establishment of departments of religion at public
universities in the United States during the 1960s. He has published the books
Religions of Africa: Traditions in Transformation (1984) and, with Robert N.
McCauley, Rethinking Religion: Connecting Cognition and Culture (1990) and
Bringing Ritual to Mind: Psychological Foundations of Ritual Forms (2002).

Pathway diagram for the MA in Cognitive Science can be accessed
The Convenor for this degree is Professor Cynthia Macdonald
( ) who may be contacted for
further information.

MA Busaries 2008
What awards are available?
The School is offering 30 MA bursaries, for students enrolling on a full-time
basis on any of our postgraduate taught programmes. The bursaries will be
awarded on the basis of undergraduate degree results.

Which MA programmes are covered by these awards?
The School currently offers 10 MA programmes, and full details of each can be
For September 2008 we are offering:

5 bursaries of £2,500 for students applying to the MRes (Politics)
25 bursaries of £1,500 for students applying to any of our other MA programmes
1 Peel Prize award of £1,000 for a PISP undergraduate applying to either the MA
in Cognitive Science or the MA in Political Philosophy

For further information please contact our Postgraduate Secretary, Mrs Mary
Emmerson, , who will be happy
to help.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

It's that time again

UNESCO World Philosophy Day once more rears its thoughtful head, this time on November the 22nd. To mark the day, there'll be a bit of wine to be drunk after Gaven Kerr's talk in 103, 21 Uni Sq.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Friday, October 19, 2007

Thursday, October 11, 2007


For anyone on Facebook, there's a Philosophy Society group now.

That is all.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Societies Quiz

Come on! As a team we'll be a set of properties with an abstraction. Trope-tastic! £250 to the winner. As long as there's a round on 18th century transcendental philosophy, or a predicate calculus quickfire session, we'll be grand.