General information

Course type AMUPIE
Module title Diagrams In Logic And Philosophy
Language English
Module lecturer dr Michał Sochański
Lecturer's email
Lecturer position
Faculty Faculty of Psychology and Cognitive Science
Semester 2022/2023 (summer)
Duration 30


Module aim (aims)

The module aims at introducing the student to basic semiotic, philosophical, logical and cognitive issues related with the use of diagrams. Diagrams are discussed as a kind of representation that has its advantages and disadvantages (in contrast with “sentential” representation) that may lead e.g. to better understanding of a given problem, more effective reasoning or performing of other cognitive tasks. 

Pre-requisites in terms of knowledge, skills and social competences (where relevant)

Completion of course on logic, covering basics of propositional logic and 1-order logic is necessary in order to be able to understand the material covered. It would also be helpful if the student completed an introductory course on philosophy.  


Basic notions such as semiotics, diagram, visualization, picture, representation are first discussed, with particular focus on the philosophy of Ch.S.Peirce. Secondly, we discuss differences between sentential and diagrammatic forms of representation (e.g. aspects of sequential vs spatial mode of representation of information; iconicity of diagrams; characteristics of diagrams that make them more effective in representing some types of information than natural language). Thirdly, follows the discussion of advantages (e.g. potential for “free rides”, aspect shift, or to include a lot of information in a simultaneous way) and disadvantages (e.g. overspecification, lack of generality and various limitations of spatial representation.) of diagrammatic representations. Next part of the course is dedicated to diagrams used in logic such as Venn diagrams, Carroll diagrams or diagrams introduced by Ch.S.Peirce. Some philosophical and methodological issues relating to the use of diagrams in mathematics are then discussed. Finally, principles and heuristics for design of effective diagrams and graphics are also shortly presented. 

Reading list