HCCK03301U Social Cognition

Volume 2016/2017

Master in Cognition and Communication, 2015

Master in Philosophy, 2014



The aim of this course is to understand the nature of ’human cooperative communication’ (Tomasello, Origins of Human Communication, 2008). Human communication is a cooperative phenomenon where communication partners jointly strive at understanding each other. Understanding ‘human cooperative communication’ thus requires us to study phenomena like ‘joint action’, ‘shared intentions’, ‘mutual knowledge’, ‘common ground’, ‘communicative intentions’, ‘pragmatic inference’, and ‘language processing and understanding’. We will do this from the perspectives of philosophy of language and social cognition, pragmatics, linguistics, and psychology. We will read works by, among others, David Lewis, Robert Stalnaker, Michael Bratman, Margaret Gilbert, Paul Grice, Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson, Herbert Clark, Boaz Keysar, and Michael Tomasello.

As background reading introducing to many of the issues to be discussed in this course, I recommend Michael Tomasello’s Origins of Human Communication (MIT press, 2010) and A Natural History of Human Thinking (Harvard University Press, 2014).


Teaching and learning methods

The course will be taught as a mixture between lectures, group work, and class discussion. I will teach this seminar as an advanced graduate seminar in philosophy and cognition. This does not mean that any prior knowledge of philosophy of language or cognitive science is needed. It means, however, that in order to participate in the weekly seminars, you must do three things every week:

1. Read the assigned texts. Some of the papers may be difficult and could require more than one reading.

2. Write a 1-2 page discussion paper for each class (though not for the first class). The discussion paper has to be about an argument or problem in the assigned texts. The discussion paper is a way of working with the assigned text, deepening your understanding of the problems and arguments it presents. The discussion paper is your entrance ticket to the class. If you have not written one, then don’t bother to show up.

3. Engage in discussion activities during classes. This is a graduate seminar. We will work with the text and the problems together!

An important aim of this class is to help you write a good essay for the exam. Your writing process is an important aspect of the course. 1/3 into the course you are expected to submit a 1-2 page outline your exam paper. Midway through the semester you will submit a 5-8 pages draft of your exam paper. Finally, the last four teaching weeks, we will spend some time on individual feedback to drafts in class.

Learning Outcome

Choice of Exam:

Cognition and Communication:

Social Cognition: HCCK03301E

Master´s level in Philosophy - The 2014 Curriculum:

Module 4: Contemporary Philosophical Discussion: HFIK03731E

Module 5, Freely chosen topic 1: HFIK03741E
Module 5, Freely chosen topic 2: HFIK03751E

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Class Instruction
  • 42
  • Course Preparation
  • 365,5
  • Guidance
  • 2
  • Total
  • 409,5
Type of assessment
The exam will be conducted in english
Criteria for exam assesment