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  1. 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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  2. 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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  3. Emotion and Attention.Jonathan Mitchell - 2022 - Philosophical Studies (1):1-27.
    This paper first demonstrates that recognition of the diversity of ways that emotional responses modulate ongoing attention generates what I call the puzzle of emotional attention, which turns on recognising that distinct emotions (e.g., fear, happiness, disgust, admiration etc.) have different attentional profiles. The puzzle concerns why this is the case, such that a solution consists in explaining why distinct emotions have the distinct attentional profiles they do. It then provides an account of the functional roles of different emotions, as (...)
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  4. The Phenomenal Contribution of Attention.Jonathan Mitchell - 2022 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy.
    Strong or Pure Intentionalism is the view that the phenomenal character of a conscious experience is exhaustively determined by its intentional content. Contrastingly, impure intentionalism holds that there are also non content-based aspects or features which contribute to phenomenal character. Conscious attention is one such feature: arguably its contribution to the phenomenal character of a given conscious experience are not exhaustively captured in terms of what that experience represents, that is in terms of properties of its intentional object. This paper (...)
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  5. 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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  6. The Many Faces of Attention: why precision optimization is not attention.Madeleine Ransom & Sina Fazelpour - 2020 - In Dina Mendonça, José Manuel Robalo Curado & Steven Gouveia (eds.), The Philosophy and Science of Predictive Processing. London, UK: pp. 119-139.
    The predictive coding (PC) theory of attention identifies attention with the optimization of the precision weighting of prediction error. Here we provide some challenges for this identification. On the one hand, the precision weighting of prediction error is too broad a phenomenon to be identified with attention because such weighting plays a central role in multimodal integration. Cases of crossmodal illusions such as the rubber hand illusion and the McGurk effect involve the differential precision weighting of prediction error, yet attention (...)
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  7. 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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  8. In Defence of Bare Attention: A Phenomenological Interpretation of Mindfulness.J. Puc - 2019 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 26 (5-6):170-190.
    'Mindfulness' is arguably the most important concept to have transplanted from Buddhist thought to contemporary Western psychology. However, whilst mindfulness was already an ambiguous term in the original context, specified more by a set of practices than by a clear definition, its cross-cultural transmission has blurred its content even further. In this paper, I assess the recent criticism of the widespread definition of mindfulness as non-elaborative, purely receptive 'bare attention'. According to the critics of bare attention, what can be characterized (...)
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  9. 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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  10. 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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  11. 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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  12. 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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  13. 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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  14. 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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  15. 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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  16. 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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  17. 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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  18. 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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  19. Attention and Perception.Ronald A. Rensink - 2015 - In R. A. Scott, S. M. Kosslyn & M. C. Buchmann (eds.), Emerging Trends in the Social and Behavioral Sciences: An Interdisicplinary, Searchable, and Linkable Resource. Wiley. pp. 1-14.
    This article discusses several key issues concerning the study of attention and its relation to visual perception, with an emphasis on behavioral and experiential aspects. It begins with an overview of several classical works carried out in the latter half of the 20th century, such as the development of early filter and spotlight models of attention. This is followed by a survey of subsequent research that extended or modified these results in significant ways. It covers current work on various forms (...)
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  20. A Function-Centered Taxonomy of Visual Attention.Ronald A. Rensink - 2015 - In Paul Coates & Sam Coleman (eds.), Phenomenal Qualities: Sense, Perception, and Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 347-375.
    It is suggested that the relationship between visual attention and conscious visual experience can be simplified by distinguishing different aspects of both visual attention and visual experience. A set of principles is first proposed for any possible taxonomy of the processes involved in visual attention. A particular taxonomy is then put forward that describes five such processes, each with a distinct function and characteristic mode of operation. Based on these, three separate kinds—or possibly grades—of conscious visual experience can be distinguished, (...)
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  21. Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays, edited by Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies, and Wayne Wu.Rocco J. Gennaro - 2014 - Mind 123 (490):623-628.
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  22. 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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  23. Perception and Attention.Ronald A. Rensink - 2013 - In Oxford Handbook of Cognitive Psychology. pp. 97-116.
    Our visual experience of the world is one of diverse objects and events, each with particular colors, shapes, and motions. This experience is so coherent, so immediate, and so effortless that it seems to result from a single system that lets us experience everything in our field of view. But however appealing, this belief is mistaken: there are severe limits on what can be visually experienced. -/- For example, in a display for air-traffic control it is important to track all (...)
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  24. 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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  25. 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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  26. 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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  27. Attention and perceptual content.Bence Nanay - 2010 - Analysis 70 (2):263-270.
    I argue that perceptual content is always affected by the allocation of one’s attention. Perception attributes determinable and determinate properties to the perceived scene. Attention makes (or tries to make) our perceptual attribution of properties more determinate. Hence, a change in our attention changes the determinacy of the properties attributed to the perceived scene.
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  28. Visual Attention.Ronald A. Rensink - 2002 - In L. Nagel (ed.), Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science. Macmillan.
    Selective access and integration underlie much of our visual experience. This article describes several of the experimental techniques used to investigate these processes, and some of the major results achieved in our understanding of their operation.
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  29. Change blindness: Implications for the nature of visual attention.Ronald A. Rensink - 2001 - In L. Harris & M. Jenkin (eds.), Vision and Attention. New York: Academic Press. pp. 16-20.
    In the not-too-distant past, vision was often said to involve three levels of processing: a low level concerned with descriptions of the geometric and photometric properties of the image, a high level concerned with abstract knowledge of the physical and semantic properties of the world, and a middle level concerned with anything not handled by the other two. The negative definition of mid-level vision contained in this description reflected a rather large gap in our understanding of visual processing: How could (...)
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  30. Seeing, sensing, and scrutinizing.Ronald A. Rensink - 2000 - Vision Research 40:1469-1487.
    Large changes in a scene often become difficult to notice if made during an eye movement, image flicker, movie cut, or other such disturbance. It is argued here that this _change blindness_ can serve as a useful tool to explore various aspects of vision. This argument centers around the proposal that focused attention is needed for the explicit perception of change. Given this, the study of change perception can provide a useful way to determine the nature of visual attention, and (...)
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  31. Visual search for change: A probe into the nature of attentional processing.Ronald A. Rensink - 2000 - Visual Cognition 7:345-376.
    A set of visual search experiments tested the proposal that focused attention is needed to detect change. Displays were arrays of rectangles, with the target being the item that continually changed its orientation or contrast polarity. Five aspects of performance were examined: linearity of response, processing time, capacity, selectivity, and memory trace. Detection of change was found to be a self-terminating process requiring a time that increased linearly with the number of items in the display. Capacity for orientation was found (...)
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  32. When good observers go bad: Change blindness, inattentional blindness, and visual experience.Ronald A. Rensink - 2000 - PSYCHE: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Research On Consciousness 6 (9).
    Several studies (e.g., Becklen & Cervone, 1983; Mack & Rock, 1998; Neisser & Becklen, 1975) have found that observers attending to a particular object or event often fail to report the presence of unexpected items. This has been interpreted as inattentional blindness (IB), a failure to see unattended items (Mack & Rock, 1998). Meanwhile, other studies (e.g., Pashler, 1988; Phillips, 1974; Rensink et al., 1997; Simons, 1996) have found that observers often fail to report the presence of large changes in (...)
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