I have seen subjects names like "Cognitive Sciences" are wrote both with and without capitals, like "cognitive sciences". Are there a criteria to this respect?

  • I think "Cognitive Science" refers to the cognitive approach to studying science, whereas "cognitive science" is ambiguous because it can also refer the scientific study of human cognition. I may be wrong 'cause I don't know much about Science. However, in most cases, the capitalization of proper nouns is just a matter of convention. In Linguistics, for example, some linguists distinguish between the language and Language. – user178049 Feb 8 '20 at 11:48
  • @user178049 What pray tell is the difference between "language" and "Language"? – CJ Dennis Feb 8 '20 at 12:02
  • @CJ Language (capitalized) refers to the ability of humans to speak a particular language (Human Language Capacity). But a language (with the lower case) is an instantiation of this ability (eg. Malay, Arabic, English etc.). This from Andrew Carnie (2013: p. 5) – user178049 Feb 8 '20 at 12:09
  • @user178049 I disagree that capitalisation has any bearing on the meaning of the word "language". Is Andrew Carnie's assertion viewable in context online? – CJ Dennis Feb 8 '20 at 13:13
  • @CJ Carnie's book is available at libgen.is, but it actually comes from Chomsky's I-language vs E-language distinction. The use of capitalization is actually quite confusing. I'd prefer the original terms with "I" and "E". – user178049 Feb 8 '20 at 13:49

There is no need to capitalise when it is simply the name of a subject or discipline. In such a context it would be acting as a common noun, so would not need capitals.

It would be capitalised if referring to a specific course, department, etc, where it is acting as a proper noun.

Professor Smith is a renowned expert in cognitive sciences. Professor Smith works in the university's Cognitive Sciences department. I am studying cognitive sciences as part of my degree. My lecturer for the Cognitive Sciences module is Professor Smith.

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