Inductive parsimony and the Methodological Argument

Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):605-609 (2012)
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Abstract

Studies on so-called Change Blindness and Inattentional Blindness have been taken to establish the claim that conscious perception of a stimulus requires the attentional processing of that stimulus. One might contend, against this claim, that the evidence only shows attention to be necessary for the subject to have access to the contents of conscious perception and not for conscious perception itself. This “Methodological Argument” is gaining ground among philosophers who work on attention and consciousness, such as Christopher Mole. I find that, without the supporting evidence of inaccessible consciousness, this argument collapses into an indefensible form of inductive parsimony. The Methodological Argument is thus shown to be unsuccessful when used against the claim that attention is required for conscious perception, though I suggest that it may be successful against the more ambitious claim that attention is necessary for all conscious experience.

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Carolyn Dicey Jennings
University of California, Merced

Citations of this work

Consciousness Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2015 - Journal of the American Philosophical Association 1 (2):276--295.
When is a reason properly pragmatic?Jennifer Corns - 2012 - Consciousness and Cognition 21 (2):613-614.

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