Lakatos Award 2020: Nicholas Shea’s (Open Access) Representation In Cognitive Science

We are pleased to share the news that friend of the Brains community, Nicholas Shea, has been awarded the 2020 Lakatos Award for their open access book Representation In Cognitive Science (Oxford University Press, 2018). You can download a free PDF copy of the book at

Shea will receive the Award and deliver their public prize lecture at the LSE in due course. In the meantime, find a blurb of Representation in Cognitive Science provided by the LSE below.

Representation in Cognitive Science is praised by selectors as “a blockbuster of a book” and “a landmark study”. Its argument is acclaimed to be “original in interesting ways, without losing touch with the existing literature” and the book is reported to be “well-written and convincingly argued”. This is all the more important given that “the problem is a really difficult one, that is arguably the key problem in the philosophy of psychology and cognitive science” and “making a novel contribution in this area, as Shea has done, is no small feat: it requires mastery of a massive and complex philosophical literature, and a deep familiarity with cognitive science, both of which Shea has”. The book is praised for how it “integrates the abstract philosophical arguments with examples and case studies from cognitive science”. For these reasons “the book certainly constitutes a major advance on the problem of naturalizing representational content and is a welcome contribution to the teleosemantic tradition”.

An Anecdote

I was fortunate enough to attend Shea’s Author Meets Critics session at the 2019 Eastern APA—critics were Francis Egan (Rutgers) and Ned Block (NYU). The discussion was lively. And the room was overflowing: all chairs were full, people were standing around the perimeter of the room, sitting in whatever open space existed on the floor, and standing outside the open doorway to overhear the discussion from the hallway.

More of Shea’s Work on Brains

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