What do epistemic logic and cognitive science have to do with each other?

Ahti Veikko Pietarinen*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


Epistemic logic is a multi-faceted theory aimed at targeting notions such as knowledge, belief, information, awareness, memory and other propositional attitudes, by means of logical and semantical tools. These concepts ought to be in the spotlight of cognitive science too, but the two have not yet seriously been explored in cooperation. In this paper, it is shown that a number of possibilities is opened up by attempting to answer the question of what epistemic logic and cognitive science have to do with each other. Among the proposed answers are: (i) new quantified versions of multi-agent epistemic logic capture locutions involving object identification, giving rise to applications in representing knowledge in multi-agent systems and parallel processing. (ii) The framework of game-theoretic semantics for the ensuing logics enjoys increased cognitive plausibility as the true semantics for epistemic notions. (iii) Several recent findings in cognitive neuroscience pertaining to the notions of awareness and explicit versus implicit processing contribute to logical studies. These three connections are explored here from both logical and cognitive perspectives. Reflecting neuroscientific research, new extensions of epistemic logic are defined, increasing formal understanding of unconscious and unaware information processing in the brain, and making the formalism thus amenable to knowledge representation in multi-agent configurations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-190
Number of pages22
JournalCognitive Systems Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 2003

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Experimental and Cognitive Psychology
  • Cognitive Neuroscience
  • Artificial Intelligence

User-Defined Keywords

  • Awareness
  • Cognitive neuroscience
  • Epistemic logic
  • Game-theoretic semantics
  • Knowledge
  • Multi-agent systems


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