Born 1949 in Forsakar, Sweden. B.Sc. 1970 at Lund University (mathematics, philosophy, computer science). Ph.D. in Philosophy 1974, Lund University. Dissertation: Group Decision Theory.

Academic positions

Various positions at Department of Philosophy, Lund University, 1970-1980. Held a vacancy as Associate Professor in Philosophy of Science at Umeå University parts of 1975-1977. Associate Professor at the Department of Philosophy, Lund University, 1980-1988. Held a research chair in Cognitive Science at the Swedish Council for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences, 1988-1994. Professor of Cognitive Science at Lund University, since 1994. Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney since 2013.

Visiting positions

Visiting Fellow, Princeton University 1973-1974. Visiting Scholar, Stanford University 1983-1984. Visiting Professor, Auckland University September 1986. Visiting Fellow, Australian National University, 1986-1987. Visiting Professor, Universidad de Buenos Aires, November 1990. Visiting Professor, École Normale Superieur, Cachan, June 1992. Visiting Professor, Rome University La Sapienza, May 1995, Visiting Scholar, CREA, Paris, October 1999, Fellow at SCASSS, Uppsala 2003-2004. Visiting Professor, UCSD, January-February 2005, Visiting Scholar, Bristish Academy, April 2005. Visiting Professor, Cà Foscari University of Venice, May-June 2005. Visiting Professor, University of Technology, Sydney, January 2006, Visiting Professor, Humboldt Universität, Berlin, October 2011 – February 2012. Fellow at SCAS, Uppsala, September-December 2012. Fellow at Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Studies, October-November 2013 and February-March 2015. Fellow at Zukunftskolleg, Universität Konstanz, November 2104. Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, September 2015-July 2016.


Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Letters, History and Antiquities since 1996. Member of Academia Europaea since 1999. Presented with the electronic Festschrift Spinning Ideas on my 50th birthday. Member of Leopoldina Deutsche Akademie für Naturforscher since 2004.  Vice chairman of the Natur och Kultur Foundation since 2007. Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science since 2009. Member of the Prize Committee for the Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel since 2011. Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society since 2016.


The Rausing prize in humanities in 1996. Senior Individual Grant from the Swedish Foundation for Strategic Research in 1997. The prize for interdisciplinary research by Academiæ Regiæ Scientiarum Upsaliensis in 2008. Awarded the Hermann Lotze Prize in 2012. Universitatis Lodziensis Amico Medal 2012.


Published more than 300 articles in various journals and books (see bibliography 2010-presentbibliography 2000-2009, bibliography 1990-1999 and bibliography 1970-1989). The journals are within philosophy, cognitive science, logic, artificial intelligence, economics, management science, linguistics, psychology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology and biology.

Main publications: Knowledge in Flux: Modeling the Dynamics of Epistemic States, Bradford Books, MIT Press, 1988. Blotta Tanken, Nya Doxa, 1992. Fängslande information, Natur och Kultur, 1996 (second enlarged edition 2003). Conceptual Spaces, Bradford Books, MIT Press, 2000. Hur Homo blev sapiens: Om tänkandets evolution, Nya Doxa, 2000. Revised English version published as How Homo Became Sapiens: On the Evolution of Thinking, Oxford University Press, 2003 (translated into French, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish). The Dynamics of Thought, Springer Verlag, 2005. Lusten att förstå: Om lärande på människans villkor, Natur och Kultur, 2010. Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces, MIT Press, 2014

Editor of Theoria 1978-1986. Editor of Journal of Logic, Language and Information 1992-1995.

Research interests

Previous research focussed on philosophy of science, decision theory, belief revision and nonmonotonic reasoning. Main current research interests are concept formation (using conceptual spaces based on geometrical and topological models), cognitive semantics, models of knowledge and information and the evolution of cognition.