Cognitive Semantics and Cognitive Theories of Representation

Master's Program in Cognitive Science, Comenius University in Bratislava

Winter semester 2017/18

Time/Place: room I-23, Thursday 9:50 -13:10 (to be confirmed)

Lecturer: doc. RNDr. Martin Takáè, PhD., Dept. of Applied Informatics, room  I-37, t a k a c (at) i i . f m p h . u n i b a . s k

Credits: 5

Indicative Content

The goal of the course is to formulate questions and provide views from literature helping to understand how cognitive systems manipulate with meanings. Also, to present cognitive theories of representation bridging the gaps between brain, language and culture.


  1. Semester activities 80% 
  2. Final integration 20%
Checklist of your duties, with assessment points


0-50 % Fx
51-60 % E
61-70 % D
71-80 % C
81-90 % B
91-100 % A


Seminar Readings
Moderated by
Supplementary Resources
Sept 28
Introduction & basic terminology
Oct 5
Semiotics and enactive approach

Oct 12
Meaning in animal world: evolutionary view
Oct 19
Biologically motivated semantics of distinguishing criteria
  • J. Šefránek (2008): Knowledge Representation for Animal Reasoning. In: Honkela, T., Pöllä, M., Paukkeri, M., Simula, O. (eds.): Proceedings of AKRR '08, the 2nd International and Interdisciplinary Conference on Adaptive Knowledge Representation and Reasoning, Espoo, Finland, pp. 65-72.

Oct 26
Cognitive semantics of Lakoff

Nov 2 no class!
Nov 9 
Conceptual spaces
  • P. Gärdenfors (2011): “Semantics based on conceptual spaces”, pp. 1-11 in the Proceedings of 4th Indian Conference on Logic and its Applications (LNAI 6521), ed. by M. Banerjee and A. Seth, Springer, Berlin.

Nov 16
Meaning and Brain
Nov 23
Toward grammar
Nov 30
Meaning in Artificial Systems: Basic Problems and Case Studies 
Dec 7
Peer activity  [Group 1] - max 90 min
11. Dec 14 Peer activity [Group 2] max 90 min        Peer activity: [Group 3] max 90 min

 by individual appointment
Final integration

Assessment details

Seminar Activities

Readings, Discussions, Moderation

Before each seminar, a student should carefully read the article listed in seminar readings (supplementary resources are optional) and make two questions or discussion points related to the articles. The discussion points should be sent to the mailing list C S C T R 2 0 1 7 (at) c o g s c i. f m p h . u n i b a . s k not later than on Tuesday before the seminar by 8:00 p.m. (Late submission policy: the number of achievable points linearly decreases from 3 at Tue midnight to zero at Wed 8:00 am.). For each seminar, a moderator will be appointed in advance. The duty of the moderator is to collect and sort/group received discussion points by topics, give a short intro at the beginning of a seminar and then moderate the discussion. (Note: the moderator is supposed to send their discussion points too, like everybody else.) The students will divide into small groups by topics and discuss/work on their topic in their small group first, then in the whole class. The students will be evaluated for their prepared questions sent by e-mail (max 3 points per seminar), group work/discussion activity during the seminar (max 3 points per seminar), and ability to moderate the discussions (max 5 points per moderation).

Peer group activity 

Students will work in small groups and throughout the semester they will work on preparing a peer lecture/activity that will be presented at the end of the semester (max 15 points). They can present results of a small research project, or a detailed analysis of a computationl model, or just complementing the teacher's lectures with more recent or ommited literature. The content and form should be discussed with the teacher beforehand (by Nov 9, max 3 points). Teams for this year are: TBA.

Final integration

After the semester, write a short personal reflection (max 2 pages) answering the following questions:
  1. How do I make sense of and connect together various lectures of this course? What is the core message I am taking home?
  2. How do I connect what I have learned here to my previous knowledge and professional background/experience?
  3. What is my personal learning gain from this semester?
You will discuss the reflection in person with your teacher (max 20 points). Please send him your reflection by email min 2 days before the appointed meeting. 

Last modification: Sept 8, 2017.