What is Attention? Adverbialist Theories

WIREs Cognitive Science (forthcoming)
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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 is defective. Instead it reconstrues the explanatory relationship between attention and the processes that constitute it, in a way that is illustrated here by considering the relationship between attention and the processes that are identified by the biased competition theory. After considering some of the ways in which an adverbialist approach might be developed, the article concludes by suggesting some possible solutions to a problem concerning distraction, by which prominent adverbialist theories of attention have been dogged.
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