Department Chair

  • Jennifer McErlean
    Professor of Philosophy
    Siena Hall 414
    (518) 783-4129

Cognitive Science


Cognitive science explores the nature of cognitive processes, drawing on research methods from philosophy, psychology, and computer science. Put simply, the goal of cognitive science is to understand how the mind works, including the representational structures and cognitive processes that underwrite our cognitive capacities, the acquisition and development of these capacities, and the implementation of cognitive structures and processes in both biological and artificial hardware.

Working to understand the nature of cognition is one of the most ambitious and exciting projects of our time, and the Cognitive Science Minor will position students to work at the forefront of this movement, preparing them for a variety of graduate programs (e.g., programs in cognitive science, computer science, neuroscience, philosophy, and psychology) and a wide range of industry research positions (e.g., software and hardware design, trial consultation, and education, as well as advertising and marketing).

The Cognitive Science Minor will allow students to develop a program of study that can focus on a wide range of issues (e.g., the limits of artificial intelligence, the philosophy of mind, the nature of visual perception, the role of emotion in moral decision-making, the “hard problem” of consciousness, etc.) using a wide range of methods (e.g., empirical studies of the ontogenetic and phylogenetic development of cognitive abilities, experimental work on the cognitive processes of adults, neuroscientific studies of the neural bases of cognition, computational and robotic research on simulated cognition, and philosophical work on the nature of the mind).

For more information, please contact Joshua Alexander, Director of Cognitive Science.