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Attention as Selection for Action

In Christopher Mole, Declan Smithies & Wayne Wu (eds.), Attention: Philosophical and Psychological Essays. Oxford University Press. pp. 97--116 (2011)

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  1. Structuring Mind: The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness, by Sebastian Watzl.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Mind 128 (511):945-953.
    Structuring Mind: The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness, by WatzlSebastian. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii + 322.
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  • The Phenomenology of Embodied Attention.Diego D’Angelo - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-18.
    This paper aims to conceptualize the phenomenology of attentional experience as ‘embodied attention.’ Current psychological research, in describing attentional experiences, tends to apply the so-called spotlight metaphor, according to which attention is characterized as the illumination of certain surrounding objects or events. In this framework, attention is not seen as involving our bodily attitudes or modifying the way we experience those objects and events. It is primarily conceived as a purely mental and volitional activity of the cognizing subject. Against this (...)
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  • Attention to Unseen Objects.Christopher Mole - 2014 - Journal of Consciousness Studies 21 (11-12):41-56.
    Can one pay attention to objects without being conscious of them? Some years ago there was evidence that had been taken to show that the answer is 'yes'. That evidence was inconclusive, but there is recent work that makes the case more compellingly: it now seems that it is indeed possible to pay attention to objects of which one is not conscious. This is bad news for theories in which the connection between attention and consciousness is taken to be an (...)
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  • Combining Minds: A Defence of the Possibility of Experiential Combination.Luke Roelofs - 2015 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    This thesis explores the possibility of composite consciousness: phenomenally conscious states belonging to a composite being in virtue of the consciousness of, and relations among, its parts. We have no trouble accepting that a composite being has physical properties entirely in virtue of the physical properties of, and relations among, its parts. But a long­standing intuition holds that consciousness is different: my consciousness cannot be understood as a complex of interacting component consciousnesses belonging to parts of me. I ask why: (...)
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  • Artificial Consciousness and the Consciousness-Attention Dissociation.Harry Haroutioun Haladjian & Carlos Montemayor - 2016 - Consciousness and Cognition 45:210-225.
    Artificial Intelligence is at a turning point, with a substantial increase in projects aiming to implement sophisticated forms of human intelligence in machines. This research attempts to model specific forms of intelligence through brute-force search heuristics and also reproduce features of human perception and cognition, including emotions. Such goals have implications for artificial consciousness, with some arguing that it will be achievable once we overcome short-term engineering challenges. We believe, however, that phenomenal consciousness cannot be implemented in machines. This becomes (...)
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  • Can Representationism Explain How Attention Affects Appearances?Sebastian Watzl - forthcoming - In Adam Pautz & Daniel Stoljar (eds.), Themes from Block. Boston, USA: The MIT Press.
    Recent psychological research shows that attention affects appearances. An “attended item looks bigger, faster, earlier, more saturated, stripier.” (Block 2010, p. 41). What is the significance of these findings? Ned Block has argued that they undermine representationism, roughly the view that the phenomenal character of perception is determined by its representational content. My first goal in this paper is to show that Block’s argument has the structure of a Problem of Arbitrary Phenomenal Variation and that it improves on other instances (...)
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  • Is Attention a Non-Propositional Attitude?Sebastian Watzl - forthcoming - In Alex Grzankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
    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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  • 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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  • Forms of Luminosity.Hasen Khudairi - 2017
    This dissertation concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The dissertation demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The dissertation demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Attentional State: From Automatic Detection to Willful Focused Concentration.Andrew And Alexander Fingelkurts - 2015 - In G. Marchetti, G. Benedetti & A. Alharbi (eds.), Attantion and Meaning. The Attentional Basis of Meaning. Nova Science Publishers. pp. 133-150.
    Despite the fact that attention is a core property of all perceptual and cognitive operations, our understanding of its neurophysiological mechanisms is far from complete. There are many theoretical models that try to fill this gap in knowledge, though practically all of them concentrate only on either involuntary (bottom-up) or voluntarily (top-down) aspect of attention. At the same time, both aspects of attention are rather integrated in the living brain. In this chapter we attempt to conceptualise both aspects of attentional (...)
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  • Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - forthcoming - Analysis:any080.
    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, (...)
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  • Attention, Psychology, and Pluralism.Henry Taylor - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):935-956.
    There is an overriding orthodoxy amongst philosophers that attention is a ‘unified phenomenon’, subject to explanation by one monistic theory. In this article, I examine whether this philosophical orthodoxy is reflected in the practice of psychology. I argue that the view of attention that best represents psychological work is a variety of conceptual pluralism. When it comes to the psychology of attention, monism should be rejected and pluralism should be embraced. _1_ The Monistic Consensus _2_ The Varieties of Pluralism _3_ (...)
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  • Structuring Mind: The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness, by Sebastian Watzl. [REVIEW]Wayne Wu - 2018 - Mind:fzy058.
    Structuring Mind: The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness, by WatzlSebastian. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2017. Pp. xii + 322.
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  • 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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  • Horizonal Extensions of Attention: A Phenomenological Study of the Contextuality and Habituality of Experience.Thiemo Breyer & Maren Wehrle - 2016 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 47 (1):41-61.
    Attention is a complex process that modulates perception in various ways. Phenomenological philosophy provides an array of concepts for describing the rich structures of attention, thereby avoiding reductions to singular aspects of an experiential spectrum. By suggesting various modes and levels of attentional experience, we intend to do some justice to its complexity, taking into account sub-personal and personal factors on the side of subjective horizons and feature-oriented as well as context-oriented aspects on the side of objective horizons.
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  • Conceptual Fragmentation and the Rise of Eliminativism.Henry Taylor & Peter Vickers - 2017 - European Journal for Philosophy of Science 7 (1):17-40.
    Pluralist and eliminativist positions have proliferated within both science and philosophy of science in recent decades. This paper asks the question why this shift of thinking has occurred, and where it is leading us. We provide an explanation which, if correct, entails that we should expect pluralism and eliminativism to transform other debates currently unaffected, and for good reasons. We then consider the question under what circumstances eliminativism will be appropriate, arguing that it depends not only on the term in (...)
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  • Epistemic Modality, Mind, and Mathematics.Hasen Khudairi - 2017 - Gutenberg.
    This book concerns the foundations of epistemic modality. I examine the nature of epistemic modality, when the modal operator is interpreted as concerning both apriority and conceivability, as well as states of knowledge and belief. The book demonstrates how phenomenal consciousness and gradational possible-worlds models in Bayesian perceptual psychology relate to epistemic modal space. The book demonstrates, then, how epistemic modality relates to the computational theory of mind; metaphysical modality; deontic modality; logical modality; the types of mathematical modality; to the (...)
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  • Attention Is Amplification, Not Selection.Peter Fazekas & Bence Nanay - forthcoming - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science:axy065.
    We argue that recent empirical findings and theoretical models shed new light on the nature of attention. According to the resulting amplification view, attentional phenomena can be unified at the neural level as the consequence of the amplification of certain input signals of attention-independent perceptual computations. This way of identifying the core realizer of attention evades standard criticisms often raised against sub-personal accounts of attention. Moreover, this approach also reframes our thinking about the function of attention by shifting the focus (...)
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  • II—Perceptiveness.José Filipe Silva - 2017 - Aristotelian Society Supplementary Volume 91 (1):43-61.
    Augustine is often credited for upholding a theory of active perception, whereby our acquaintance with ordinary material objects and their properties cannot be explained by the causal efficaciousness of these objects. In a previous work, I attempted to connect this theory with the account of perception found in his treatise On the Trinity. Mark Kalderon has challenged this ‘reconciliationist’ reading, claiming that in this work Augustine admits to a strong causal role of the object in bringing about perceptual experiences. In (...)
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  • A Dilemma for ‘Selection‐for‐Action’.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):139-149.
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  • Against Unifying Accounts of Attention.J. Henry Taylor - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):39-56.
    There have recently been a number of attempts to put forth a philosophical account of the nature of attention. Many such theories aim at giving necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be attention. In this paper I will argue that any such theory must meet two criteria. Then I shall examine four prominent accounts of attention in some detail, and argue that all of them face problems meeting one or the other of the criteria. I propose an alternative view, (...)
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