Institut Jean Nicod

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Jean-Nicod Lectures and Prize


The Jean Nicod lectures in Cognitive Philosophy were created by a small group of French analytic philosophers in 1993 in order to promote philosophical research on cognition. They were named after the French logician Jean Nicod who died at age 30 but who had a strong impact in early analytic philosophy.

The first lecturer was Jerry Fodor (Rutgers University) and the first volume in the Jean Nicod lecture series was Fodor’s The elm and the expert, which was to become a landmark in philosophy of mind. Since then the Jean-Nicod Lectures have been delivered every year by philosophers whose work is relevant to the aims of the various cognitive sciences, and by cognitive scientists whose work has philosophical implications for our understanding of the cognitive architecture and mental processes of minded animals.

The topics addressed by the Jean-Nicod Lectures over the years include among many others : the computational picture of thought ; the representational approach to mental processes ; the role of content in cognitive scientific explanation ; discourse semantics ; object-files ; core cognition ; phenomenal consciousness ; the boundaries between perception and cognition ; free will and motor cognition ; emotions and rationality ; moral cognition ; communication in social cognition ; natural pedagogy ; teleosemantics ; adaptationism and the evolution of cognition.

The recipient presents his or her research in a series of four lectures, sponsored by the Département d’Etudes Cognitives (ENS-PSL University) and by the EHESS. They are then compiled into a book. In 2013, the Jean Nicod prize was created to come with the lectures, with the generous support of the Fondation Meyer pour le développement culturel et artistique and the Fondation CNRS.

Organisation : Frédérique de Vignemont




For more information :

Interview with the philosopher of the mind Pierre Jacob

"Les Conférences Jean-Nicod : promouvoir les interactions entre la philosophie analytique et les sciences cognitives en France"




The 2023 Jean Nicod Prize


The institut Jean Nicod is honored to present the 2023 Jean Nicod prize to Nancy Kanwisher and to welcome her for a series of lectures at the DEC on december 7,8,12 and 14, 2023





Previous recipients of the Jean Nicod Prize since 1993



2022Peter Godfrey-Smith (University of Sydney) - The Evolution of Experience

2021 - Frances Egan (Rutgers University, New Jersey) - Deflating Mental Representation

2020 - Leda Cosmides & John Tooby (University of California, Santa Barbara) - The Adaptationist Revolution and the Transformation of the Cognitive Sciences

2019 - Martine Nida-Rümelin (University of Fribourg) - Philosophical fundamentals for scientific studies of consciousness

2017 - John Campbell (University of California, Berkeley) - How language enters perception

2016 - Patrick Haggard (London University College) - Volition, Agency, Responsibility : Cognitive Mechanisms of Human Action

2015 - David Chamlers (New York University), Spatial experience and virtual reality

Prix 2014 - Uta & Chris Frith (London University College) - What makes us social

2013 - Ned Block (New York University) - Conscious, Unconscious, Preconscious

2011 - Gergely Csibra & György Gergely (CEU Budapest) - Natural pedagogy

2010Tyler Burge (University of California) - Thresholds of Reason

2009 - Elisabeth Spelke (Harvard University) - Sources of Human Knowledge

2008 - Kim Sterelny (Victoria University of Wellington) - The Fate of the Third Chimpazee

2007 - Stephen Stich (Rutgers University) - Moral Theory Meets Cognitive Science : How the Cognitive Science Can Transform Traditional Debates

2006 - Michael Tomasello (Max-Planck Institute, Leipzig) - Origins of Human Communication

2005 - Gilbert Harman (Princeton University) - The Problem of Induction and Statistical Learning Theory

2004 - Zenon Pylyshyn (Rutgers University) - Things and Places. How the mind connects with the world

2003 - Ray Jackendoff (Tufts University) - Mental Structures. Language, Society, Consciousness

2002 - Ruth Millikan (University of Connecticut) - Varieties of Meaning

2001 - Daniel Dennett (Tufts University) - Sweet Dreams. Philosophical Obstacles to a Science of Consciousness

2000 - John Searle (University of California Berkeley) - Rationality in Action

1999 - John Perry (Stanford University) - Knowledge, Possibility, and Consciousness

1998 - Susan Carey (New York University) - The Origins of Concepts : Evolution vs Culture

1997 - Jon Elster (University of Columbia) - Strong Feelings. Emotion, Addiction, and Human Behavior

1996 - Hans Kamp (Stuttgart University) - Thinking and Talking about Things

1995 - Donald Davidson (University of California Berkeley)

1994 - Fred Dretske (Stanford University) - Naturalizing the Mind

1993 - Jerry Fodor (Rutgers University) - The Elm and the Expert : Mentalese and Its Semantics