The Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative

LACSI: The Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative

Established in 2004/5 with generous support from GlaxoSmithKline’s Semantic Technologies Group, LACSI fosters the following fields at NC State:

  • Formal Logic
  • Cognitive science, an important new field that investigates the nature and evolution of mind, cognition and knowledge acquisition through interdisciplinary studies in psychology, neuroscience, linguistics, computer science and philosophy
  • Fields of cognitive philosophy that are closely related to logic and cognitive science, including philosophy of logic, philosophy of science, philosophy of language, philosophy of psychology, metaphysics and epistemology

Although abstract in themselves, these fields deal with ideas, structures and methods of reasoning that have significant practical applications. A wide range of students, including students majoring in STEM disciplines and students who are likely to pursue industry careers in research and development, can expand their horizons and enhance their conceptual resources by including a LACSI program or a sequence of LACSI courses in their degrees.

The innovative application of semantically- and ontologically-based methods to data mining and knowledge exploration in complex scientific domains requires a thorough understanding of formal logic and semantics, philosophy of language, and cognitive philosophy (including metaphysics, epistemology, and philosophy of science).

Dr. Gary H. Merrill, Director, Semantic Technologies Group, GlaxoSmithKline, 2003-2010

The Nature and Value of Philosophy

Programs and Courses

LACSI Programs

LACSI programs gave me tools I need to tackle complex problems with acuity, creativity, and rigor. This capacity is invaluable in many fields, especially those involving strategy, design and analytics.

Chris Becker, B.S. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Logic, Representation and Reasoning, B.S. in Mathematics, Minor in Cognitive Science, 2015

LACSI Courses in Logic and Philosophy

LOG 201 Logic
LOG 335 Symbolic Logic
LOG 430/530 Varieties of Logic
LOG 435/535 Advanced Logic & Metamathematics
PHI 210 Representation, Reason & Reality
PHI 330 Metaphysics
PHI 331 Philosophy of Language
PHI 332 Philosophy of Psychology
PHI 333 Knowledge and Skepticism
PHI 340 Philosophy of Science
PHI 347 Neuroscience and Philosophy
PHI 425/525 Introduction to Cognitive Science
PHI 440/540 The Scientific Method
PHI 447/547 Philosophy, Evolution & Human Nature

Student Award

The Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative Award was introduced in 2008/9. This award, which includes a cash prize, is presented in the spring to the outstanding senior in the B.S. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Logic, Representation and Reasoning. The award is not made in years in which there is no senior in the program with a sufficiently distinguished record. Winners to date have been:

  • 2019: Jared Owens
  • 2018: Britton Noel
  • 2015: Christopher Becker
  • 2011: Ashley N. Walls
  • 2010: Jay Hodges
  • 2009: Melissa Schumacher

Lectures and Conferences

Logic and Cognitive Science Lecture Series

The Logic and Cognitive Science Lecture Series brings distinguished speakers to NC State for public lectures. Speakers in the series have included Louise Antony (Massachusetts), Jc Beall (Connecticut), Ned Block (NYU), Robert Cummins (Illinois Urbana-Champaign), Daniel Dennett (Tufts), John Doris (Washington St. Louis), Fred Dretske (Duke), Jerry Fodor (Rutgers), Gerd Gigerenzer (Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin), Alvin Goldman (Rutgers), Jaegwon Kim (Brown), George Lakoff (Berkeley), Joseph Levine (Massachusetts), William Lycan (UNC at Chapel Hill), Brian McLaughlin (Rutgers), Karen Neander (Duke), Daniel Povinelli (Louisiana), Alexander Rosenberg (Duke), Gillian Russell (UNC at Chapel Hill), Teddy Seidenfeld (Carnegie Mellon University), Elizabeth Spelke (Harvard), Stephen Stich (Rutgers), David Velleman (NYU) and Stephen Yablo (MIT).

For details of previous and upcoming lectures in the series, see Activities and Events in Philosophy.

LACSI Conferences

LACSI organized and hosted a conference on a select topic within its fields of interest every fall semester from 2009 until 2019. Because of uncertainty about when the Covid-19 pandemic will be brought under control, the next LACSI conference has been postponed from Fall 2021 to Fall 2022 (circumstances permitting). The topic has not yet been determined.

Previous LACSI Conferences

Administration and Inquiries

Logic and Cognitive Science Initiative Steering Committee

  • John W. Carroll, Ph.D. (Arizona), Professor of Philosophy
  • Catherine M. Driscoll, Ph.D. (Rutgers), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Department Director of Undergraduate Advising, and Adviser in the Undergraduate Minor in Cognitive Science
  • Ronald P. Endicott, Ph.D. (Michigan), Associate Professor of Philosophy, Director of the Cognitive Science Program, Adviser in the Graduate Minor in Cognitive Science, and Coordinator of the Logic and Cognitive Science Lecture Series
  • Michael Pendlebury, Ph.D. (Indiana), Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies, Committee Chair
  • Kevin Richardson, Ph.D. (MIT), Assistant Professor of Philosophy and Adviser in the Undergraduate Minor in Logic and Methodology


  • Cognitive Science Program; Graduate Minor in Cognitive Science; Logic and Cognitive Science Lecture Series: Ron Endicott
  • B.S. in Philosophy with a Concentration in Logic, Representation and Reasoning; Undergraduate Minor in Cognitive Science; General curriculum matters: Catherine Driscoll
  • Undergraduate Minor in Logic and Methodology, Courses in Logic and Philosophy of Language: Kevin Richardson
  • All other matters, including conferences, public relations and development: Michael Pendlebury