Cogst 4310: Imagination and Creativity

Seminar description

Creativity is commonly perceived by the public as the "last bastion" that still stands in the face of the explanatory onslaught of psychology and neuroscience — a human capacity that is yet to be given a satisfactory mechanistic account, or, according to the more extreme stance, a capacity that cannot in principle be explained in mechanistic terms (one other faculty of the mind that stands out in the same manner is consciousness). In this seminar, we shall discuss imagination and creativity, drawing on classical and recent thinking in psychological and literary theory, drawing on results from computational cognitive science and neuroscience, and from theory of evolution and emergence.

Instructors: Shimon Edelman and Harry Segal

Time: M 2:00 — 4:25pm

Place: 204 Uris Hall

Schedule: for a week-by-week list of readings and presentation roster, follow this link.

Blackboard: the papers (a zipped archive of PDF files) and a discussion bulletin board are here.

Requirements for credit:

  1. Attend and contribute to the discussion during the weekly meetings.

    Whether or not you're presenting in a given week, come prepared with questions or comments regarding the readings.

  2. Participate in two separate weekly presentations. (Each presentation/discussion will be led by a team of three students.)

    IMPORTANT: please choose your two topics and co-presenters by the second meeting at the latest (Feb. 3). To sign up for one of the presentation slots, follow this link.

    A typical presentation should include

    Be ready for clarification questions and interruptions at any time during the presentation.
  3. A week after the last meeting, submit a written summary of your impressions and lessons from the seminar, in a short-essay form (~ 1000 words).

Students with Disabilities: please give me your Student Disability Services (SDS) accommodation letter early in the semester so that we have adequate time to arrange your approved academic modifications. Meeting with us in our office hours will help ensure confidentiality. If you need an immediate accommodation for equal access, please speak with us after class or send an email message to us and/or to SDS at If the need arises for additional accommodations during the semester, please contact SDS.

Last modified on Fri Jan 17 10:18:32 2014