Attention in bodily awareness

Synthese 193 (12):3819-3842 (2016)
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The aim of this paper is to develop and defend an Attentional View of bodily awareness, on which attention is necessary for bodily awareness. The original formulation of the Attentional View is due to Marcel Kinsbourne. First, I will show that the Attentional View of bodily awareness as formulated by Kinsbourne is superior to other accounts in the literature for characterizing the relationship between attention and bodily awareness. Kinsbourne’s account is the only account in the literature so far which can accommodate key neurological diseases such as personal neglect. Second, when I consider Kinsbourne’s view in more detail, I will argue that Kinsbourne’s Attentional View faces problems because it is too reductive. Kinsbourne deviates from the standard taxonomy on which there is a body schema and a body image. Instead he reduces the body image to the neural representation of the body in the somatosensory cortex, the body schema and attentional shifts. I will present two challenges to Kinsbourne’s view which demonstrate that Kinsbourne’s reduction of the body image is unsuccessful. Finally, I will present a revised version of the Attentional View that is both empirically adequate and philosophically satisfactory.
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