Folk, Theory, and Feeling: What Attention Is

Dissertation, La Trobe University (2013)
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Abstract
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 answer to the question, and is an account of the metaphysics of attention. The understanding of attention put forward here is the account of attention proposed by Christopher Mole in his theory of attention as cognitive unison. The third answer is the experiential answer to the question, and is an account of the phenomenology of attention. The understanding of attention put forward here is of attention as a kind of directed mental effort. These three answers to the question are shown to be intimately related to each other, and to inform each other in important ways. They are also shown to be fundamentally different answers to each other with none being reducible to another, or more important than another. In the end, they will be found to be answers that arise from the differing perspectives that people are restricted to when considering the nature of mental phenomena, perspectives that must be recognised if an account of such phenomena is to be provided.
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Archival date: 2014-08-25
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Experimental Philosophy.Knobe, Joshua; Buckwalter, Wesley; Nichols, Shaun; Robbins, Philip; Sarkissian, Hagop & Sommers, Tamler

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2014-08-26

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