9 found
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Denis Buehler
Institut Jean Nicod
  1. Flexible occurrent control.Denis Buehler - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2119-2137.
    There has recently been much interest in the role of attention in controlling action. The role has been mischaracterized as an element in necessary and sufficient conditions on agential control. In this paper I attempt a new characterization of the role. I argue that we need to understand attentional control in order to fully understand agential control. To fully understand agential control we must understand paradigm exercises of agential control. Three important accounts of agential control—intentional, reflective, and goal-represented control—do not (...)
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  2. Agential capacities: a capacity to guide.Denis Buehler - 2021 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):21-47.
    In paradigm exercises of agency, individuals guide their activities toward some goal. A central challenge for action theory is to explain how individuals guide. This challenge is an instance of the more general problem of how to accommodate individuals and their actions in the natural world, as explained by natural science. Two dominant traditions–primitivism and the causal theory–fail to address the challenge in a satisfying way. Causal theorists appeal to causation by an intention, through a feedback mechanism, in explaining guidance. (...)
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  3. Explicating Agency: The Case of Visual Attention.Denis Buehler - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (2):379-413.
    How do individuals guide their activities towards some goal? Harry Frankfurt once identified the task of explaining guidance as the central problem in action theory. An explanation has proved to be elusive, however. In this paper, I show how we can marshal empirical research to make explanatory progress. I contend that human agents have a primitive capacity to guide visual attention, and that this capacity is actually constituted by a sub-individual psychological control-system: the executive system. I thus illustrate how we (...)
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  4. Skilled Guidance.Denis Buehler - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):641-667.
    Skilled action typically requires that individuals guide their activities toward some goal. In skilled action, individuals do so excellently. We do not understand well what this capacity to guide consists in. In this paper I provide a case study of how individuals shift visual attention. Their capacity to guide visual attention toward some goal (partly) consists in an empirically discovered sub-system – the executive system. I argue that we can explain how individuals guide by appealing to the operation of this (...)
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  5. A Dilemma for ‘Selection‐for‐Action’.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):139-149.
    One of the most influential recent accounts of attention is Wayne Wu’s. According to Wu, attention is selection-for-action. I argue that this proposal faces a dilemma: either it denies clear cases of attention capture, or it acknowledges these cases but classifies many inattentive episodes as attentive.
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  6. The central executive system.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Synthese 195 (5):1969-1991.
    Executive functioning has been said to bear on a range of traditional philosophical topics, such as consciousness, thought, and action. Surprisingly, philosophers have not much engaged with the scientific literature on executive functioning. This lack of engagement may be due to several influential criticisms of that literature by Daniel Dennett, Alan Allport, and others. In this paper I argue that more recent research on executive functioning shows that these criticisms are no longer valid. The paper clears the way to a (...)
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  7. Seeing Circles: Inattentive Response-Coupling.Denis Buehler - 2022 - Ergo: An Open Access Journal of Philosophy 9.
    What is attention? On one influential position, attention constitutively is the selection of some stimulus for coupling with a response. Wayne Wu has proposed a master argument for this position that relies on the claim that cognitive science commits to an empirical sufficient condition (ESC), according to which, if a subject S perceptually selects (or response-couples) X to guide performance of some experimental task T, she therein attends to X. In this paper I show that this claim about cognitive science (...)
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  8. Warrant from transsaccadic vision.Denis Buehler - 2020 - Mind and Language 36 (3):404-421.
    Recently, there has been much interest in epistemic roles of attention, especially in whether visual attention is necessary for warranting (basic) visual belief. Arguably it is not. But attention nevertheless has important roles to play in our warrant from vision. I argue that we must appeal to a competence for shifting visual attention in explaining transsaccadic vision and our epistemic warrant from it. So even if it is not necessary for visual warrant or vision, visual attention plays a central role (...)
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  9. Incomplete understanding of complex numbers Girolamo Cardano: a case study in the acquisition of mathematical concepts.Denis Buehler - 2014 - Synthese 191 (17):4231-4252.
    In this paper, I present the case of the discovery of complex numbers by Girolamo Cardano. Cardano acquires the concepts of (specific) complex numbers, complex addition, and complex multiplication. His understanding of these concepts is incomplete. I show that his acquisition of these concepts cannot be explained on the basis of Christopher Peacocke’s Conceptual Role Theory of concept possession. I argue that Strong Conceptual Role Theories that are committed to specifying a set of transitions that is both necessary and sufficient (...)
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