Action always involves attention

Analysis 79 (4):693-703 (2019)
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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, the reply discusses how we should assess intuitive claims about attention and mental processing, with emphasis on learning and the automatization of attention in its development as a skill.



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Wayne Wu
Carnegie Mellon University

Citations of this work

Attention.Christopher Mole - 2010 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Seeing Circles: Inattentive Response-Coupling.Denis Buehler - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
Agentially controlled action: causal, not counterfactual.Malte Hendrickx - 2023 - Philosophical Studies 180 (10-11):3121-3139.

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The Principles of Psychology.William James - 1890 - Les Etudes Philosophiques 11 (3):506-507.

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