Philip Johnson-Laird

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Philip N. Johnson-Laird
Born (1936-10-12) 12 October 1936 (age 87)
Alma materUniversity College London
Known forMental models
Scientific career
ThesisAn experimental investigation into one pragmatic factor governing the use of the english language (1967)
Doctoral advisorPeter Cathcart Wason

Philip Nicholas Johnson-Laird, FRS, FBA (born 12 October 1936)[1] is a philosopher of language and reasoning and a developer of the mental model theory of reasoning.[2] He was a professor at Princeton University's Department of Psychology, as well as the author of several notable books on human cognition and the psychology of reasoning.[3]


He was educated at Culford School and University College London where he won the Rosa Morison Medal in 1964 and a James Sully Scholarship between 1964 and 1966. He achieved a BA there in 1964 and a PhD in 1967.[4] He was elected to a Fellowship in 1994.

His entry in Who's Who (2007 edition) records the following career history:

He joined the department of psychology at Princeton University in 1989, where he became the Stuart Professor of Psychology in 1994.[3] He retired in 2012.[5]

Johnson-Laird is a member of the American Philosophical Society,[6] a Fellow of the Royal Society, a Fellow of the British Academy, a William James Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society. He has been awarded honorary doctorates from: Göteborg, 1983; Padua, 1997; Madrid, 2000; Dublin, 2000; Ghent, 2002; Palermo, 2005. He won the Spearman Medal in 1974, the British Psychological Society President's Award in 1985, and the International Prize from Fyssen Foundation in 2002.

Along with several other scholars, Johnson-Laird delivered the 2001 Gifford Lectures in Natural Theology at the University of Glasgow,[4] published as The Nature and Limits of Human Understanding (ed. Anthony Sanford, T & T Clark, 2003). He has been a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences since 2007.[3]

Selected publications[edit]

  • Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2010). "Mental models and human reasoning". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 107 (43): 18243–18250. doi:10.1073/pnas.1012933107. PMC 2972923. PMID 20956326.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (2006). How We Reason. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-856976-3.
  • Johnson-Laird, P. N. (2002). "Peirce, logic diagrams, and the elementary operations of reasoning". Thinking & Reasoning. 8: 69–95. doi:10.1080/13546780143000099. S2CID 5726135.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (1988). Computer and the Mind: An Introduction to Cognitive Science. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-15616-6.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (1993). Human and Machine Thinking (Distinguished Lecture Series). LEA, Inc. ISBN 978-0-8058-0921-3.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (with Ruth M. J. Byrne) (1991). Deduction. Psychology Press. ISBN 978-0-86377-149-1.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (1983). Mental Models: Toward a Cognitive Science of Language, Inference and Consciousness. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-56882-2.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (with Peter Cathcart Wason) (1977). Thinking: Readings in Cognitive Science. Cambridge University Press.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (with George Armitage Miller) (1976). Language and Perception. Belknap Press. ISBN 978-0-674-50948-1.
  • Johnson-Laird, Philip N (with Peter Cathcart Wason) (1972). Psychology of Reasoning: Structure and Content. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-0-674-72127-2.


  1. ^ "Johnson-Laird, Prof. Philip Nicholas". Who's Who. 1 December 2007. doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.U22156. ISBN 978-0-19-954088-4. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  2. ^ "Fellow Detail Page: Philip Johnson-Laird: Biography". The Royal Society. Retrieved 8 November 2022.
  3. ^ a b c Ahmed, F. (2011). "Profile of Philip N. Johnson-Laird". Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 108 (50): 19862–4. Bibcode:2011PNAS..10819862A. doi:10.1073/pnas.1117174108. PMC 3250179. PMID 22065789.
  4. ^ a b "Philip Johnson-Laird". 18 August 2014. Retrieved 6 January 2017.
  5. ^ "Eleven professors retire from faculty". Princeton Alumni Weekly. 6 June 2012.
  6. ^ "APS Member History". Retrieved 24 May 2021.