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  1. Why does the mind wander?Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Neuroscience of Consciousness.
    I seek an explanation for the etiology and the function of mind wandering episodes. My proposal – which I call the cognitive control proposal – is that mind wandering is a form of non-conscious guidance due to cognitive control. When the agent’s current goal is deemed insufficiently rewarding, the cognitive control system initiates a search for a new, more rewarding goal. This search is the process of unintentional mind wandering. After developing the proposal, and relating it to literature on mind (...)
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  2. What’s inside is all that counts? The contours of everyday thinking about self-control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Samuel Murray, Louis Chartrand & Sergio Barbosa - 2023 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 14 (1):33-55.
    Does self-control require willpower? The question cuts to the heart of a debate about whether self-control is identical with some psychological process internal to the agents or not. Noticeably absent from these debates is systematic evidence about the folk-psychological category of self-control. Here, we present the results of two behavioral studies (N = 296) that indicate the structure of everyday use of the concept. In Study 1, participants rated the degree to which different strategies to respond to motivational conflict exemplify (...)
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  3. The Focus Theory of Hope.Andrew Chignell - 2023 - Philosophical Quarterly 73 (1):44-63.
    Most elpistologists now agree that hope for a specific outcome involves more than just desire plus the presupposition that the outcome is possible. This paper argues that the additional element of hope is a disposition to focus on the desired outcome in a certain way. I first survey the debate about the nature of hope in the recent literature, offer objections to some important competing accounts, and describe and defend the view that hope involves a kind of focus or attention. (...)
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  4. Virtues of willpower.Eugene Chislenko - 2023 - Synthese 202 (5):1-21.
    Drawing on recent work in psychology, I argue that there are not one but several distinct virtues pertaining to willpower or strength of will: (1) the disposition to exercise willpower; (2) a distinctively volitional kind of modesty, or moderation in exposing oneself to volitional strain; and (3) a distinctively volitional kind of confidence, or proper inattention to the possibility of volitional failure. A multiple-virtue conception of willpower, I argue, provides a useful framework for cultivating a good relationship to one’s own (...)
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  5. The Force of Habit.William Hornett - 2023 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 104 (3):1-30.
    Habits figure in action‐explanations because of their distinctive force. But what is the force of habit, and how does it motivate us? In this paper, I argue that the force of habit is the feeling of familiarity one has with the familiar course of action, where this feeling reveals a distinctive reason for acting in the usual way. I do this by considering and rejecting a popular account of habit's force in terms of habit's apparent automaticity, by arguing that one (...)
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  6. What is Attention? Adverbialist Theories.Christopher Mole & Aaron Henry - 2023 - WIREs Cognitive Science 14 (1).
    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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  7. Autonomy of attention.Kaisa Kärki - 2022 - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2021. pp. 39-55.
    What precisely does a distraction threaten? An agent who spends an inordinate amount of time attending to her smartphone – what precisely is she lacking? I argue that whereas agency of attention is the agent’s non-automatic decision-making on what she currently pays attention to, autonomy of attention is the agent, through her second-order desires, effectively interfering with her non-automatic decision-making on what she currently pays attention to. Freedom of attention is the agent’s possibility to hold or switch her focus of (...)
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  8. Oops! I Did it Again: The Psychology of Everyday Action Slips.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2022 - Topics in Cognitive Science 14 (2):282-294.
    Topics in Cognitive Science, Volume 14, Issue 2, Page 282-294, April 2022.
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  9. Rumination and Wronging: The Role of Attention in Epistemic Morality.Catharine Saint-Croix - 2022 - Episteme 19 (4):491-514.
    The idea that our epistemic practices can be wrongful has been the core observation driving the growing literature on epistemic injustice, doxastic wronging, and moral encroachment. But, one element of our epistemic practice has been starkly absent from this discussion of epistemic morality: attention. The goal of this article is to show that attention is a worthwhile focus for epistemology, especially for the field of epistemic morality. After presenting a new dilemma for proponents of doxastic wronging, I show how focusing (...)
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  10. Knowledge in motion: How procedural control of knowledge usage entails selectivity and bias.Ulrich Ansorge - 2021 - Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 2 (1):3-28.
    The use and acquisition of knowledge appears to be influenced by what humans pay attention to. Thus, looking at attention will tell us something about the mechanisms involved in knowledge (usage). According to the present review, attention reflects selectivity in information processing and it is not necessarily also reflected in a user’s consciousness, as it is rooted in skill memory or other implicit procedural memory forms–that is, attention is rooted in the necessity of human control of mental operations and actions. (...)
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  11. Intentional mind-wandering as intentional omission: the surrealist method.Santiago Arango-Muñoz & Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2021 - Synthese 199 (3-4):7727-7748.
    Mind-wandering seems to be paradigmatically unintentional. However, experimental findings have yielded the paradoxical result that mind-wandering can also be intentional. In this paper, we first present the paradox of intentional mind-wandering and then explain intentional mind-wandering as the intentional omission to control one’s own thoughts. Finally, we present the surrealist method for artistic production to illustrate how intentional omission of control over thoughts can be deployed towards creative endeavors.
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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. Addiction as a Disorder of Self-Control.Edmund Henden - 2019 - In Hanna Pickard & Serge Ahmed (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction. Routledge.
    Impairment of self-control is often said to be a defining feature of addiction. Yet many addicts display what appears to be a considerable amount of control over their drug-oriented actions. Not only are their actions clearly intentional and frequently carried out in a conscious and deliberate manner, there is evidence that many addicts are responsive to a wide range of ordinary incentives and counter-incentives. Moreover, addicts have a wide variety of reasons for using drugs, reasons which often seem to go (...)
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  17. An Agent of Attention: An Inquiry into the Source of Our Control.Aaron Henry - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    When performing a skilled action—whether something impressive like a double somersault or something mundane like reaching for a glass of water—you exercise control over your bodily movements. Specifically, you guide their course. In what does that control consist? In this dissertation, I argue that it consists in attending to what you are doing. More specifically, in attending, agents harness their perceptual and perceptuomotor states directly and practically in service of their goals and, in doing so, settle the fine-grained manner in (...)
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  18. 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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  19. There Is No Agency Without Attention.Paul Bello & Will Bridewell - 2017 - AI Magazine 38 (4):27-33.
    For decades AI researchers have built agents that are capable of carrying out tasks that require human-level or human-like intelligence. During this time, questions of how these programs compared in kind to humans have surfaced and led to beneficial interdisciplinary discussions, but conceptual progress has been slower than technological progress. Within the past decade, the term agency has taken on new import as intelligent agents have become a noticeable part of our everyday lives. Research on autonomous vehicles and personal assistants (...)
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  20. Do we reflect while performing skillful actions? Automaticity, control, and the perils of distraction.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (7):896-924.
    From our everyday commuting to the gold medalist’s world-class performance, skillful actions are characterized by fine-grained, online agentive control. What is the proper explanation of such control? There are two traditional candidates: intellectualism explains skillful agentive control by reference to the agent’s propositional mental states; anti-intellectualism holds that propositional mental states or reflective processes are unnecessary since skillful action is fully accounted for by automatic coping processes. I examine the evidence for three psychological phenomena recently held to support anti-intellectualism and (...)
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  21. Social media and self-control: The vices and virtues of attention.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - In C. G. Prado (ed.), Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. pp. 57-74.
    Self-control, the capacity to resist temptations and pursue longer-term goals over immediate gratifications, is crucial in determining the overall shape of our lives, and thereby in our ability to shape our identities. As it turns out, this capacity is intimately linked with our ability to control the direction of our attention. This raises the worry that perhaps social media are making us more easily distracted people, and therefore less able to exercise self-control. Is this so? And is it necessarily a (...)
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  22. 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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  23. Attention, Perceptual Content, and Mirrors: Two Medieval Models of Active Perception in Peter Olivi and Peter Auriol.Lukáš Lička - 2017 - Perception in Scholastics and Their Interlocutors.
    In the paper I argue that medieval philosophers proposed several notions of the senses’ activity in perception. I illustrate the point using the example of two Franciscan thinkers – Peter Olivi (ca. 1248–1298) and Peter Auriol (ca. 1280–1322). Olivi’s notion of active perception assumes that every perceptual act demands a prior focusing of the mind’s attention. Furthermore, Olivi is partially inspired by the extramissionist theories of vision and reinterprets the notion of a visual ray postulated by them as a useful (...)
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  24. Shaking Up the Mind’s Ground Floor: The Cognitive Penetration of Visual Attention.Wayne Wu - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (1):5-32.
    In this paper, I argue that visual attention is cognitively penetrated by intention. I present a detailed account of attention and its neural basis, drawing on a recent computational model of neural modulation during attention: divisive normalization. I argue that intention shifts computations during divisive normalization. The epistemic consequences of attentional bias are discussed.
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  25. Present and future trajectories towards a possible valid and useful diagnosis of ADHD.Piero De Rossi - 2016 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 9 (1):34-35.
    To date, diagnosing Attention Defi cit Hyperactivity Disorder remains indeed one of the most controversial issues in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural sciences. Most of the conceptual problems regarding the validity of this diagnostic category arise from the heterogeneity of syndromal pictures and the high rate of comorbidity observed in subjects diagnosed with ADHD at all stages of the longitudinal course of the disorder. In this regard, DSM 5 increased complexity by allowing a diagnosis of comorbidity between ADHD and autism spectrum (...)
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  26. 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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  27. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):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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  28. Developing Attention and Decreasing Affective Bias: Towards a Cross-Cultural Cognitive Science of Mindfulness.Jake H. Davis & Evan Thompson - 2015 - In John D. Creswell Kirk W. Brown (ed.), Handbook of Mindfulness: Theory and Research,. Guilford Press.
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  29. Know-How, procedural knowledge, and choking under pressure.Gabriel Gottlieb - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (2):361-378.
    I examine two explanatory models of choking: the representationalist model and the anti-representationalist model. The representationalist model is based largely on Anderson's ACT model of procedural knowledge and is developed by Masters, Beilock and Carr. The antirepresentationalist model is based on dynamical models of cognition and embodied action and is developed by Dreyfus who employs an antirepresentational view of know-how. I identify the models' similarities and differences. I then suggest that Dreyfus is wrong to believe representational activity requires reflection and (...)
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  30. Mental Action and the Threat of Automaticity.Wayne Wu - 2013 - In Andy Clark, Julian Kiverstein & Tillman Vierkant (eds.), Decomposing the Will. Oxford University Press. pp. 244-61.
    This paper considers the connection between automaticity, control and agency. Indeed, recent philosophical and psychological works play up the incompatibility of automaticity and agency. Specifically, there is a threat of automaticity, for automaticity eliminates agency. Such conclusions stem from a tension between two thoughts: that automaticity pervades agency and yet automaticity rules out control. I provide an analysis of the notions of automaticity and control that maintains a simple connection: automaticity entails the absence of control. An appropriate analysis, however, shows (...)
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  31. Attention as Selection for Action.Wayne Wu - 2011 - In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 97--116.
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  32. Attention, Intention, and Priority in the Parietal Lobe.James W. Bisley & Michael E. Goldberg - 2010 - Annual Review of Neuroscience 33:1-21.
    For many years there has been a debate about the role of the parietal lobe in the generation of behavior. Does it generate movement plans (intention) or choose objects in the environment for further processing? To answer this, we focus on the lateral intraparietal area (LIP), an area that has been shown to play independent roles in target selection for saccades and the generation of visual attention. Based on results from a variety of tasks, we propose that LIP acts as (...)
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  33. Apertures, Draw, and Syntax: Remodeling Attention.Brian Bruya - 2010 - In Effortless Attention: A New Perspective in the Cognitive Science of Attention and Action. MIT Press. pp. 219.
    Because psychological studies of attention and cognition are most commonly performed within the strict confines of the laboratory or take cognitively impaired patients as subjects, it is difficult to be sure that resultant models of attention adequately account for the phenomenon of effortless attention. The problem is not only that effortless attention is resistant to laboratory study. A further issue is that because the laboratory is the most common way to approach attention, models resulting from such studies are naturally the (...)
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