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Summary

What is attention? That is the question that those who investigate the nature of attention try to answer. Theories about the nature of attention can be classified along several dimensions. First, their metaphysical level. Here we can distinguish reductivist theories that identify what attention is at the level of neuronal, or sub-personal psychological processes. Anti-reductivists hold that the nature attention is fundamentally found at level of the whole subject. Second, there is how those theories treat the unity of attention as a phenomenon. Unity views hold that attention has a unified nature, while disunity views hold that, in some way, attention is not a unified thing. Third, there is which metaphysical category attention is placed in. Views on attention disagree whether it falls fundamentally in the category of a type of mechanism, an adverbial modification, an activity, a resource, o.a. Some theories of the nature of attention relate it to action, consciousness, motor behavior, Bayesian optimisation, or embodiment. A discussion that is closely related to the nature of attention concerns the biological or psychological function of attention.

Key works

The nature of attention has been intensely discussed in both psychology, neuroscience and philosophy, throughout the history of philosophy and in many philosophical traditions. For overviews in philosophy see Watzl 2011, Mole 2010, Wu 2014. Within psychology and neuroscience see e.g. Chun et al 2011, Posner & Petersen 1990. For recent book length treatments see Mole 2010, Watzl 2017, Ganeri 2017, and Jennings 2020

Introductions Mole 2010, Watzl 2011Wu 2014
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136 found
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1 — 50 / 136
  1. The Most General Mental Act.Yair Levy - forthcoming - In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi (eds.), Mental Action and The Conscious Mind. Routledge.
    This chapter contributes to the ongoing debate over how to understand attention. It spells out and defends a novel account according to which attending is the most general type of mental act, that which one performs on some object if one performs any mental act on it at all. On this view, all mental acts are (to a first, rough approximation) species of attending. The view is novel in going against the grain of virtually all extant accounts, which work by (...)
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  2. What is Attention? Adverbialist Theories.Christopher Mole & Aaron Henry - forthcoming - WIREs Cognitive Science.
    This article presents theories of attention that attempt to derive their answer to the question of what attention is from their answers to the question of what it is for some activity to be done attentively. Such theories provide a distinctive account of the difficulties that are faced by the attempt to locate processes in the brain by which the phenomena of attention can be explained. Their account does not share the pessimism of theories suggesting that the concept of attention (...)
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  3. The Philosophy of Mind Wandering.Irving Zachary & Thompson Evan - forthcoming - In Fox Kieran & Christoff Kalina (eds.), Oxford Handbook of Spontaneous Thought and Creativity. Oxford University Press.
    Our paper serves as an introduction to a budding field: the philosophy of mind-wandering. We begin with a philosophical critique of the standard psychological definitions of mind-wandering as task-unrelated or stimulus-independent. Although these definitions have helped bring mind-wandering research onto centre stage in psychology and cognitive neuroscience, they have substantial limitations that researchers must overcome to move forward. Specifically, the standard definitions do not account for (i) the dynamics of mind wandering, (ii) task-unrelated thought that does not qualify as mind-wandering, (...)
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  4. Too Much Attention, Too Little Self. [REVIEW]Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2020 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 101 (2):475-480.
    This is a good time for such a substantial book on Buddhaghosa. His ideas may be more difficult to digest than those of contemporary authors, but Ganeri convincingly argues for their relevance. Together with Ganeri’s considerable interpretive and philosophical work, Buddhaghosa’s view helps to fill out a perspective that is popular in cognitive science, in which the self is replaced by systems. In this case, the self is replaced by systems of attention, a view that Ganeri calls ‘Attentionalism.’ In this (...)
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  5. The Spontaneousness of Skill and the Impulsivity of Habit.Christos Douskos - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4305-4328.
    The objective of this paper is to articulate a distinction between habit and bodily skill as different ways of acting without deliberation. I start by elaborating on a distinction between habit and skill as different kinds of dispositions. Then I argue that this distinction has direct implications for the varieties of automaticity exhibited in habitual and skilful bodily acts. The argument suggests that paying close attention to the metaphysics of agency can help to articulate more precisely questions regarding the varieties (...)
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  6. Is Attending a Mental Process?Yair Levy - 2019 - Mind and Language 34 (3):283-298.
    The nature of attention has been the topic of a lively research programme in psychology for over a century. But there is widespread agreement that none of the theories on offer manage to fully capture the nature of attention. Recently, philosophers have become interested in the debate again after a prolonged period of neglect. This paper contributes to the project of explaining the nature of attention. It starts off by critically examining Christopher Mole’s prominent “adverbial” account of attention, which traces (...)
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  7. Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):693-703.
    Jennings and Nanay argue against my claim that action entails attention by providing putative counterexamples to the claim that action entails a Many–Many Problem. This reply demonstrates that they have misunderstood the central notion of a pure reflex on which my argument depends. A simplified form of the argument from pure reflex to the Many–Many Problem as a necessary feature of agency is given, and putative counterexamples of action without attention are addressed. Attention is present in every action. In passing, (...)
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  8. Is Attention Really Effort? Revisiting Daniel Kahneman’s Influential 1973 Book Attention and Effort.Brian Bruya & Yi-Yuan Tang - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    Daniel Kahneman was not the first to suggest that attention and effort are closely associated, but his 1973 book Attention and Effort, which claimed that attention can be identified with effort, cemented the association as a research paradigm in the cognitive sciences. Since then, the paradigm has rarely been questioned and appears to have set the research agenda so that it is self-reinforcing. In this article, we retrace Kahneman's argument to understand its strengths and weaknesses. The central notion of effort (...)
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  9. A Dilemma for ‘Selection‐for‐Action’.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):139-149.
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  10. Object Reidentification and the Epistemic Role of Attention.Nilanjan Das - 2018 - Ratio 31 (4):402-414.
    Reidentification scepticism is the view that we cannot knowledgeably reidentify previously perceived objects. Amongst classical Indian philosophers, the Buddhists argued for reidentification scepticism. In this essay, I will discuss two responses to this Buddhist argument. The first response, defended by Vācaspati Miśra (9th century CE), is that our outer senses allow us to knowledgeably reidentify objects. I will claim that this proposal is problematic. The second response, due to Jayanta Bhaṭṭa (9th century CE), is that the manas or the inner (...)
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  11. You Think You Think.Stephen Muires - 2018 - Charleston, USA: Flowing Books.
    This is a study in thinking according to, but not withheld by, traditional methods from the branch of philosophy called Experiential Philosophy. Philosophers are interested in the topic of thought, if no one else. Yet, thinking is what we do sixteen hours a day. Or, as this study will show, thinking is what is done to us sixteen hours a day. What is thinking? Why is it? And, who is in charge here anyway? The following book will enter these questions (...)
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  12. Meditative Attention to Bodily Sensations: Conscious Attention Without Selection?Kranti Saran - 2018 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 25 (5-6):156-178.
    Prominent figures in the philosophical literature on attention hold that the connection between attention and selection is essential (Mole, 2011), necessary (Wu, 2011; 2014), or conceptual (Smithies, 2011). I argue that selection is neither essentially, necessarily, nor conceptually tied to attention. I first isolate the target conception of selection that I deny is so tightly coupled with attention: graded intramodal selection within consciousness. I analyse two visual cases: analysis of the first case shows that there can be attention without a (...)
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  13. Does Mole’s Argument That Cognitive Processes Fail to Suffice for Attention Fail?Kranti Saran - 2018 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 5:487-505.
    Is attention a cognitive process? I reconstruct and critically assess an argument first proposed by Christopher Mole that it cannot be so. Mole’s argument is influential because it creates theoretical space for a unifying analysis of attention at the subject level (though it does not entail it). Prominent philosophers working on attention such as Wayne Wu and Philipp Koralus explicitly endorse it, while Sebastian Watzl endorses a related version, this despite their differing theoretical commitments. I show that Mole’s argument is (...)
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  14. Attention, Psychology, and Pluralism.Henry Taylor - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):935-956.
    There is an overriding orthodoxy amongst philosophers that attention is a ‘unified phenomenon’, subject to explanation by one monistic theory. In this article, I examine whether this philosophical orthodoxy is reflected in the practice of psychology. I argue that the view of attention that best represents psychological work is a variety of conceptual pluralism. When it comes to the psychology of attention, monism should be rejected and pluralism should be embraced. _1_ The Monistic Consensus _2_ The Varieties of Pluralism _3_ (...)
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  15. Attention, Not Self, by Jonardon Ganeri. [REVIEW]Sebastian Watzl - 2018 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    In this review of Ganeri's book I focus specifically on the metaphysical issues about attention raised by it. On the one hand, there is a distinction between essence and constitutive explanation. On the other hand, there is a puzzle how a phenomenon like attention could (as it appears to be on Ganeri's position) be both explanatorily central and also disunified ('not a single psychological kind', as Ganeri puts it). I discuss several possible solutions to this puzzle.
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  16. Is Attention a Non-Propositional Attitude?Sebastian Watzl - 2018 - In Alex Grzankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality. Oxford University Press. pp. 272-302.
    I argue first that attention is a (maybe the) paradigmatic case of an object-directed, non-propositional intentional mental episode. In addition attention cannot be reduced to any other (propositional or non-propositional) mental episodes. Yet, second, attention is not a non-propositional mental attitude. It might appear puzzling how one could hold both of these claims. I show how to combine them, and how that combination shows how propositionality and non-propositionality can co-exist in a mental life. The crucial move is one away from (...)
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  17. Attention, Not Self.Jonardon Ganeri - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Jonardon Ganeri presents a radically reoriented account of mind, to which attention is the key. It is attention, not self, that explains the experiential and normative situatedness of humans in the world. Ganeri draws together three disciplines: analytic philosophy and phenomenology, cognitive science and psychology, and Buddhist thought.
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  18. L’attention chez Descartes: aspect mental et aspect physiologique.Hatfield Gary - 2017 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 171 (1):7-25.
    In philosophical writings from Descartes’ time, the topic of attention attracted notice but not systematic treatment. In Descartes’s own writings, attention was not given the kind of extended analysis that he devoted to the theory of the senses, or the passions, or to the intellect and will. Nonetheless, phenomena of attention arose in relation to these other topics and were discussed in terms of mental operations and, where appropriate, relations to bodily organs. Although not producing a systematic account, Descartes frequently (...)
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  19. Cognitive Penetration and Attention.Steven Gross - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8:1-12.
    Zenon Pylyshyn argues that cognitively driven attentional effects do not amount to cognitive penetration of early vision because such effects occur either before or after early vision. Critics object that in fact such effects occur at all levels of perceptual processing. We argue that Pylyshyn’s claim is correct—but not for the reason he emphasizes. Even if his critics are correct that attentional effects are not external to early vision, these effects do not satisfy Pylyshyn’s requirements that the effects be direct (...)
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  20. A Secular Mysticism? Simone Weil, Iris Murdoch and the Idea of Attention.Silvia Panizza - 2017 - In M. del Carmen Paredes (ed.), Filosofía, arte y mística. Salamanca, Spain: Salamanca University Press.
    In this paper I consider Simone Weil’s notion of attention as the fundamental and necessary condition for mystical experience, and investigate Iris Murdoch’s secular adaptation of attention as a moral attitude. After exploring the concept of attention in Weil and its relation to the mystical, I turn to Murdoch to address the following question: how does Murdoch manage to maintain Weil’s idea of attention, even keeping the importance of mysticism, without Weil’s religious metaphysical background? Simone Weil returns to the importance (...)
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  21. Attention in the Predictive Mind.Madeleine Ransom, Sina Fazelpour & Christopher Mole - 2017 - Consciousness and Cognition 47:99-112.
    It has recently become popular to suggest that cognition can be explained as a process of Bayesian prediction error minimization. Some advocates of this view propose that attention should be understood as the optimization of expected precisions in the prediction-error signal (Clark, 2013, 2016; Feldman & Friston, 2010; Hohwy, 2012, 2013). This proposal successfully accounts for several attention-related phenomena. We claim that it cannot account for all of them, since there are certain forms of voluntary attention that it cannot accommodate. (...)
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  22. Structuring Mind. The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness.Sebastian Watzl - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What is attention? How does attention shape consciousness? In an approach that engages with foundational topics in the philosophy of mind, the theory of action, psychology, and the neurosciences this book provides a unified and comprehensive answer to both questions. Sebastian Watzl shows that attention is a central structural feature of the mind. The first half of the book provides an account of the nature of attention. Attention is prioritizing, it consists in regulating priority structures. Attention is not another element (...)
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  23. Action Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Bence Nanay - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):29-36.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so (...)
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  24. Attention and Memory-Driven Effects in Action Studies.Philip Tseng, Timothy Lane & Bruce Bridgeman - 2016 - Behavioral and Brain Sciences 39.
    : We provide empirical examples to conceptually clarify some items on Firestone & Scholl’s (F&S’s) checklist, and to explain perceptual effects from an attentional and memory perspective. We also note that action and embodied cognition studies seem to be most susceptible to misattributing attentional and memory effects as perceptual, and identify four characteristics unique to action studies and possibly responsible for misattributions.
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  25. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):101-26.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in action as (...)
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  26. The Long-Term Potentiation Model for Grapheme-Color Binding in Synesthesia.Berit Brogaard, Kristian Marlow & Kevin Rice - 2015 - In David Bennett & Chris Hill (eds.), Sensory Integration and the Unity of Consciousness. MIT Press.
    The phenomenon of synesthesia has undergone an invigoration of research interest and empirical progress over the past decade. Studies investigating the cognitive mechanisms underlying synesthesia have yielded insight into neural processes behind such cognitive operations as attention, memory, spatial phenomenology and inter-modal processes. However, the structural and functional mechanisms underlying synesthesia still remain contentious and hypothetical. The first section of the present paper reviews recent research on grapheme-color synesthesia, one of the most common forms of synesthesia, and addresses the ongoing (...)
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  27. Against Unifying Accounts of Attention.J. Henry Taylor - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):39-56.
    There have recently been a number of attempts to put forth a philosophical account of the nature of attention. Many such theories aim at giving necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be attention. In this paper I will argue that any such theory must meet two criteria. Then I shall examine four prominent accounts of attention in some detail, and argue that all of them face problems meeting one or the other of the criteria. I propose an alternative view, (...)
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  28. Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays, Edited by Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies, and Wayne Wu.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2014 - Mind 123 (490):623-628.
  29. Attention by Wayne Wu. [REVIEW]Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2014 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 11.
    Like many who work on attention, Wu takes William James as an anchor point, concluding, "So, James was right" (274). In fact, this book can be seen as a continuation of James' project -- as with James' "Attention," Wu's book provides an extensive review of current research on attention.[1] In fact, he engages at length with an impressive amount of work in contemporary philosophy and science, mentioning 10 such researchers – Ned Block, John Campbell, Marisa Carrasco, David Chalmers, David Marr, (...)
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  30. The Erotetic Theory of Attention: Questions, Focus and Distraction.Philipp Koralus - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (1):26-50.
    Attention has a role in much of perception, thought, and action. On the erotetic theory, the functional role of attention is a matter of the relationship between questions and what counts as answers to those questions. Questions encode the completion conditions of tasks for cognitive control purposes, and degrees of attention are degrees of sensitivity to the occurrence of answers. Questions and answers are representational contents given precise characterizations using tools from formal semantics, though attention does not depend on language. (...)
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  31. Symposium on P. Koralus, "The Erotetic Theory of Attention".Philipp Koralus, Felipe De Brigard, Christopher Mole, Catherine Stinson & Sebastian Watzl - 2014 - Mind and Language Symposia at the Brains Blog.
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  32. Celling While Driving: Guest Editor's Introduction.Galit Wellner - 2014 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 18 (1/2):3-9.
    Guest editor 's introduction to a special issue on the question of whether it is dangerous to drive while talking on the mobile phone and the philosophical questions that emerge from this debate.
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  33. Attention.Wayne Wu - 2014 - Routledge.
    The phenomenon of attention fascinated the psychologist and philosopher William James and human experience is unimaginable without it. Yet until recently it has languished in the backwaters of philosophy. Recent years, however, have witnessed a resurgence of interest in attention, driven by recognition that it is closely connected to consciousness, perception, agency and many other problems in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This is the first book to introduce and assess attention from a philosophical perspective. Wayne Wu discusses the (...)
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  34. Restructuring Attentionality and Intentionality.P. Sven Arvidson - 2013 - Human Studies 36 (2):199-216.
    Phenomenology and experimental psychology have been largely interested in the same thing when it comes to attention. By building on the work of Aron Gurwitsch, especially his ideas of attention and restructuration, this paper attempts to articulate common ground in psychology and phenomenology of attention through discussion of a new way to think about multistability in some phenomena. What psychology views as an attentionality-intentionality phenomenon, phenomenology views as an intentionality-attentionality phenomenon. The proposal is that an awareness of this restructuring of (...)
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  35. Folk, Theory, and Feeling: What Attention Is.L. Doughney - 2013 - Dissertation, La Trobe University
    In this thesis three independent answers to the question ‘what is attention?’ are provided. Each answer is a description of attention given through one of the perspectives that people have on the mental phenomenon. The first answer is the common-sense answer to the question, and is an account of the folk psychology of attention. The understanding of attention put forward here is of attention as a limited, divisible resource that is used in mental acts. The second answer is the empirical (...)
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  36. Review of Attention is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology, by Christopher Mole. [REVIEW]Aaron Henry & Tim Bayne - 2013 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 91 (1):199 - 202.
    Australasian Journal of Philosophy, Volume 0, Issue 0, Page 1-4, Ahead of Print.
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  37. The Subject of Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2012 - Synthese 189 (3):535-554.
    The absence of a common understanding of attention plagues current research on the topic. Combining the findings from three domains of research on attention, this paper presents a univocal account that fits normal use of the term as well as its many associated phenomena: attention is a process of mental selection that is within the control of the subject. The role of the subject is often excluded from naturalized accounts, but this paper will be an exception to that rule. The (...)
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  38. The Conscious Brain: How Attention Engenders Experience.Jesse Prinz - 2012 - Oup Usa.
    The Conscious Brain brings neuroscientific evidence to bear on enduring philosophical questions. Major philosophical and scientific theories of consciousness are surveyed, challenged, and extended.
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  39. Attention and Integration.Alan Allport - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 24.
  40. Review of Attention is Cognitive Unison. [REVIEW]Tony Cheng - 2011 - Metapsychology 15 (29).
    Attention is Cognitive Unison is probably the only book exclusively on attention in the philosophy literature in the past few decades. Before this, of course we have some nice books on relevant themes, for example John Campbell's Reference and Consciousness (2002). However, although Campbell invokes the notion of attention to do some explanatory works, his exposition of the very idea of attention is not as thoroughgoing as Mole's book. As Mole's summary of relevant history shows, in philosophy there was Alan (...)
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  41. A Taxonomy of External and Internal Attention.Marvin M. Chun, Julie D. Golomb & Nicholas B. Turk-Browne - 2011 - Annual Review of Psychology 62:73-101.
    Attention is a core property of all perceptual and cognitive operations. Given limited capacity to process competing options, attentional mechanisms select, modulate, and sustain focus on information most relevant for behavior. A significant problem, however, is that attention is so ubiquitous that it is unwieldy to study. We propose a taxonomy based on the types of information that attention operates over—the targets of attention. At the broadest level, the taxonomy distinguishes between external attention and internal attention. External attention refers to (...)
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  42. The Metaphysics of Attention.Christopher Mole - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 60-77.
    This paper gives a brief presentation of adverbialism about attention, and explains some of the reasons why it gives an appealing account of attention's metaphysics.
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  43. Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays.Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.) - 2011 - Oxford University Press.
    Attention has been studied in cognitive psychology for more than half a century, but until recently it was largely neglected in philosophy. Now, however, attention has been recognized by philosophers of mind as having an important role to play in our theories of consciousness and of cognition. At the same time, several recent developments in psychology have led psychologists to foundational questions about the nature of attention and its implementation in the brain. As a result there has been a convergence (...)
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  44. Ambiguous Figures, Attention, and Perceptual Content: Reply to Jagnow.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):557-561.
    I argued in Nanay 2010 that we cannot characterize perceptual content without reference to attention. Here, I defend this account from three objections raised by Jagnow 2011. This mainly takes the form of clarifying some details not sufficiently elaborated in the original article and dispelling some potential misunderstandings.
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  45. A Systems-Neuroscience View of Attention.Christian C. Ruff - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 1.
  46. Attention is Rational-Access Consciousness.Declan Smithies - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 247--273.
    This chapter argues that attention is a distinctive mode of consciousness, which plays an essential functional role in making information accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action. The main line of argument can be stated quite simply. Attention is what makes information fully accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action. But what makes information fully accessible for use in the rational control of thought and action is a distinctive mode of consciousness. Therefore, (...)
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  47. Review of Christopher Mole 'Attention is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology'. [REVIEW]Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews.
    A relatively detailed review (~ 4000 words) of Christopher Mole's (2010) book "Attention is Cognitive Unison". I suggest that Mole makes a good case against many types of reductivist accounts of attention, using the right kind of methodology. Yet, I argue that his adverbialist theory is not the best articulation of the crucial anti-reductivist insight. The distinction between adverbial and process-first phenomena he draws remains unclear, anti-reductivist process theories can escapte his arguments, and finally I provide an argument for why (...)
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  48. The Nature of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):842-853.
    What is attention? Attention is often seen as a subject matter for the hard sciences of cognitive and brain processes, and is understood in terms of sub-personal mechanisms and processes. Correspondingly, there still is a stark contrast between the central role attention plays for the empirical investigation of the mind in psychology and the neurosciences, and its relative neglect in philosophy. Yet, over the past years, several philosophers have challenged the standard conception. A number of interesting philosophical questions concerning the (...)
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  49. The Philosophical Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.
    What is the philosophical significance of attention? The present article provides an overview of recent debates surrounding the connections between attention and other topics of philosophical interest. In particular, it discusses the interplay between attention and consciousness, attention and agency, and attention and reference. The article outlines the questions and contemporary positions concerning how attention shapes the phenomenal character of experience, whether it is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, and whether it plays a special role in the best philosophical theories (...)
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  50. Attention as Structuring of the Stream of Consciousness.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 145.
    This paper defends and develops the structuring account of conscious attention: attention is the conscious mental process of structuring one’s stream of consciousness so that some parts of it are more central than others. In the first part of the paper, I motivate the structuring account. Drawing on a variety of resources I argue that the phenomenology of attention cannot be fully captured in terms of how the world appears to the subject, as well as against an atomistic conception of (...)
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