WICI Seminar: November 19, 2008
Waterloo Institute for Complexity & Innovation
University of Waterloo

Why have most scientists come to believe that global warming is caused by human activity? Why do some politicians such as Sarah Palin resist this conclusion? Belief, change and resistance can be explained by neurocomputational models of explanatory and emotional coherence. Minds and societies are complex, multilevel systems that can be changed by intervention on feedback loops at multiple levels.

Speaker Profile

Paul Thagard is Professor of Philosophy, with cross appointment to Psychology and Computer Science, and Director of the Cognitive Science Program, at the University of Waterloo. He is a graduate of the Universities of Saskatchewan, Cambridge, Toronto (Ph. D. in philosophy) and Michigan (M.S. in computer science). He is the author of Hot Thought: Mechanisms and Applications of Emotional Cognition (MIT Press, 2006), Coherence in Thought and Action (MIT Press, 2000), How Scientists Explain Disease (Princeton University Press, 1999), Mind: Introduction to Cognitive Science (MIT Press, 1996; second edition, 2005), Conceptual Revolutions (Princeton University Press, 1992), and Computational Philosophy of Science (MIT Press, 1988); and co-author of Mental Leaps: Analogy in Creative Thought (MIT Press, 1995) and Induction: Processes of Inference, Learning, and Discovery (MIT Press, 1986). He is also editor of Philosophy of Psychology and Cognitive Science (Elsevier, 2007), and Associate Editor of the journal Cognitive Science.

He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and the Cognitive Science Society, and in 2007 received a Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize.

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