Cognitive Semantics and Cognitive Theories of Representation

Master's Program in Cognitive Science, Univ. Bratislava

Winter semester 2010/11

Lecturer: Mgr. Dana Retová., Dept. of Applied Informatics, room I-11, r e t o v a (at) i i . f m p h . u n i b a . s k
Time/Place: room I-8, Thursday 14:00, 4h/w
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. Seminar 70% (readings, discussions, activity)
  2. Oral exam 30%


(The list of readings and other resources will be updated on the way.)
Seminar Readings
Moderated by
Supplementary Resources
Sept 30
Introduction & basic terminology
Oct 7
Semiotics and enactive approach

Oct 14
Meaning in animal world: evolutionary view
Oct 21
Biologically motivated semantics of distinguishing criteria
  • Šefránek, J.: 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, 2008, pp. 65-72.
Martin K.
Oct 28
Cognitive semantics of Lakoff
Martin K.
  • Šefránek, J.: slide notes for Lakoff's Women, Fire and Dangerous Things
Nov 4
Conceptual spaces
  • Gärdenfors, P.: Concept representations and nonmonotonic inferences. pp. 25-39 in Logic for a Change: Essays dedicated to Sten Lindström on the occasion of his fiftieth birthday, Uppsala Prints and Preprints in Philosophy 1995:9, Uppsala. Revised version in Mathware & Soft Computing 3, pp. 17-31.
Simon M.
Nov 11
Brain related semantics
Thomas M.
Nov 18
Toward grammar Simon M.
Nov 25
Meaning in Artificial Systems: Basic Problems
Christian P.
Dec 2
Meaning in Artificial Systems: Case Studies
(one of):  tba
Dec 9
Constructivist Approach
  • Paul R. Cohen, Tim Oates, Marc S. Atkin, and Carole R. Beal. 1996. Building a Baby. In Proceedings of the Eighteenth Annual Conference of the Cognitive Science Society, L. Erlbaum, pp. 518-522.
  • Takác(, M.: Construction of Meanings in Biological and Artificial Agents. In: Trajkovski, G., Collins, S. G. (eds.): Agent-Based Societies: Social and Cultural Interactions, IGI Global, Hershey, PA, in press.
Dec 15
Closing & Exam
Examination syllabus

Assessment details


Seminar Activities

Before each seminar, a student should carefully read all articles from the related group of seminar readings (supplementary resources are optional) and make up at least three 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 0 (at) l i s t s . d a i . f m p h . u n i b a . s k not later than on the day before the seminar by 8:00 p.m.. For each seminar, a moderator will be appointed in advance. The duty of the moderator is to collect and sort received discussion points and then moderate the discussion. The students will be evaluated for their prepared questions, discussion activity and ability to moderate the discussions.

Oral Exam

There will be short oral individual exams at the end of the semester. Please note the (preliminary) examination syllabus.

Last modification: Dec 9, 2010