Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Eye for CogSci

Hello there!
My name is Jamie Colvin and I’m a transfer student here at SUNY Oswego studying Cognitive Science. My college career began at Jefferson Community College from which I received an Associate’s degree in Liberal Arts...I know, so definitive right? Well my intentions were simply to get my general education credits out of the way then decide where I wanted to transfer, what I wanted to major in, and most importantly what I wanted to do with my life. As you can see I’ve covered first two, but I am here to tell you that I’m still working on the lattermost decision, even as a super-senior! Yikes! Actually I’m here to share with you how I came to choose CogSci. It began with an interest in philosophy. At JCC I took an introduction course in philosophy and I fell right in love with it. I never really had a grasp on the word philosophy; it was so obscure to me. In fact there were a lot of things in life I didn’t really have a grasp on. I wanted to learn and take in everything I didn’t understand. So when I read about Cognitive Science—an interdisciplinary study of the mind—I perked right up. Philosophy, anthropology, psychology, biology, linguistics, and wait, pump the brakes—computer science? I was a little nervous about that part because I didn’t know much about computer programming, but I did want to advance my skills in this tech savvy world we live in. Plus I’m all about embracing my fears and tackling the unknown. So I tried it and I loved it. I’m definitely more attuned to the top-down problem solving tactics that computer scientists often engage in.

To end on a more personal note, my other intentions for choosing Cognitive Science was to figure myself out, i.e., to delve into my own psyche. I was in for a treat. I’ve certainly become more aware of myself and self-identity as far as society is concerned. However, there’s still that sense of self that is a mystifying phenomenon. To get a taste of what I’m talking about, try asking yourself the next few questions. What is this source that is you? Is it your mind and/or body? Can you point to it? How does it feel to be you and what exactly are feelings?


  1. Despite the fact that you were at first intimidated by the computer science course, what allowed you to continue on and eventually fall in love with it?

  2. Do you think you would have been motivated sooner to be a cognitive science major if it was introduced earlier in your academic career (e.g. an introductory or AP type course in high school)?

  3. Has studying cognitive science changed your view of philosophy, and in what ways?

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  5. How are all of the subject fields you listed, related to or incorporated into cognitive science?

  6. Kafelacraft -Please refer to my second post!

    Andy- I definitely think I would have sparked an early interest in cognitive science if it had been introduced to me from the get-go! Good question. In fact, I really wish it had been an option in high school.

    Daniel & Nino...I'll get back to you soon!

    Thank you all for the comments/questions!

  7. Daniel, Cognitive Science has only helped to expand my knowledge in the philosophy department. CogSci courses gave me my first philosophy introductions into theories of the mind/body problem such as dualism, functionalism, monism, etc. The explanations from a CogSci stand point are no different, if at all, from an actual philosophy course. If you mean to ask how CogSci has changed my personal philosophy towards...let's Then I'd have to say that I'm more humbled as a human being, and I don't really sweat the small stuff. I like to look at the bigger picture in life and how we're all connected by our environmental and cultural surroundings. I love the skeptical philosophic view, that we know nothing with absolute certainty. (But how do we know that we know nothing?) Aha! Square one. Back to the drawing board.

    Nino, that's a very good question. Evolution helps tie in a lot of the subjects listed. How has the mind developed in one culture vs the next, incorporates a cognitive anthropology stand point. Philosophy, psychology, and biology are all related to CogSci for self explanatory reasons. Linguistics is a phenomenon of the mind highly developed in the left side of the brain (mostly) and computer scientists have often sought to find ways to simulate cognitive processes via computer programs. Basically, we have this mind supposedly, and we have several subject tools to use to help define, simulate, cultivate, and understand it.