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.
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 1994-2016. Senior professor in Cognitive Science since 2016. Adjunct Professor at University of Technology Sydney 2013-2019. Senior Research Associate with the Palaeo-Research Institute at the University of Johannesburg since 2019.
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 and April 2011, 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, February-March 2015, October-November 2016 and November-December 2018. Fellow at Zukunftskolleg, Universität Konstanz, November 2014. Fellow at Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin, September 2015-July 2016. Visiting Professor, Universidad Catolica, Concepción Chile, March 2019.
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 & 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 2011-2017. Fellow of the Cognitive Science Society since 2016. Member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Sciences since 2018.
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. Einar Hansen Honorary Prize in humanities 2017. Swenson Prize for Research in Humanities and Social Sciences in 2021
Published more than 400 articles in various journals and books (see bibliography 2010-present, bibliography 2000-2009, bibliography 1990-1999 and bibliography 1970-1989). The journals include Science and are within philosophy, cognitive science, logic, artificial intelligence, economics, management science, linguistics, psychology, archaeology, anthropology, sociology and biology.
Main books in English: Knowledge in Flux: Modeling the Dynamics of Epistemic States, Bradford Books, MIT Press, 1988. Conceptual Spaces, Bradford Books, MIT Press, 2000. How Homo Became Sapiens: On the Evolution of Thinking, Oxford University Press, 2003 (expanded version of the Swedish book, translated into French, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish). The Dynamics of Thought, Springer Verlag, 2005. Geometry of Meaning: Semantics Based on Conceptual Spaces, MIT Press, 2014.
Main books in Swedish: Blotta Tanken, Nya Doxa, 1992. Fängslande information, Natur och Kultur, 1996 (second enlarged edition 2003). Hur Homo blev sapiens: Om tänkandets evolution, Nya Doxa, 2000. Tankens vindlar, Nya Doxa, 2006. Lusten att förstå: Om lärande på människans villkor, Natur och Kultur, 2010. Den svåra konsten att se sig själv, Natur och Kultur, 2017.
Editor or co-editor of 13 books.
Editor of Theoria 1978-1986. Editor of Journal of Logic, Language and Information 1992-1995.
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, human-robot interaction and the evolution of cognition.