Cognitive psychology, Developmental psychology, Informatics, Linguistics, Neuroscience, Philosophy

In cooperation with the Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University, Budapest, Hungary

Course date

9 July - 14 July, 2018
14 February, 2018
Course Director(s): 

Patricia Ganea

Jackman Institute of Child Study, University of Toronto

Agnes Kovacs

Cognitive Science Department, Central European University
Course Faculty: 

Sarah Beck

Department of Psychology, University of Birmingham

Ruth Byrne

Trinity Institute of Neurosciences (TCIN), Trinity College Dublin

Gergely Csibra

Central European University

Felipe de Brigard

Department of Philosophy, Duke University

Paul Harris

Graduate School of Education, Harvard University

Christoph Hoerl

Department of Philosophy, University of Warwick

Ferenc Huoranszki

Department of Philosophy, Central European University

Karen S. Lewis

Department of Philosophy, Barnard College, Columbia University

Christopher Lucas

School of Informatics, University of Edinburgh

Teresa McCormack

School of Psychology, Queen's University

Eva Rafetseder

Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Stirling

Erno Teglas

Department of Cognitive Science, Central European University

Caren Walker

Department of Psychology, University of California San Diego
The ability to think counterfactually is an important – and likely uniquely human – ability. When thinking counterfactually, one engages about alternatives to reality by contemplating changes to reality and reasoning about the causal implications of these changes. The boundary conditions for counterfactual thinking, and the extent to which it shares the same underlying cognitive machinery with related abilities such as episodic future thinking and pretend play, are currently the subjects of substantial debate in philosophy and psychology. 
The course will bring together perspectives on counterfactual reasoning from a range of disciplines, with seminars offered by faculty from the fields of Developmental and Cognitive Psychology, Philosophy, Linguistics, Cognitive Science, Neuroscience, and Informatics will offer seminars on a range of topics. Course participants will learn about empirical techniques and findings from studies in cognitive development, cognitive psychology, and neuroscience. They will engage with theoretical perspectives on the nature of counterfactual, causal, conditional, and temporal reasoning.