The puzzle of attention, the importance of metaphors

Philosophical Psychology 11 (3):331-351 (1998)
I have two goals in this paper. First, I want to show by example that inferences about theoretical entities are relatively contingent affairs. Previously accepted conceptual metaphors in science set both the general form of new theories and our acceptance of the theories as plausible. In addition, they determine how we define the relevant parameters in investigating phenomena in the first place. These items then determine how we conceptualize things in the world. Second, and maybe more importantly, I want to solve a puzzle that falls out of our current explication of attention, namely why we have it. Given the now widely accepted view that our brains are massively parallel, it is difficult to see why we should have evolved attentional mechanisms at all. Why gate when we can already process what we transduce in parallel? Here I answer that puzzle and suggest a perspective on attention that makes it a bit easier to understand, although this perspective also entails that we have to revise how we individuate experimental protocols and relevant data
Keywords Attention  Metaphor  Puzzle  Science  Visual
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DOI 10.1080/09515089808573265
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