Conscious attitudes, attention, and self-knowledge

In C. Wright, B. Smith & C. Macdonald (eds.), Knowing Our Own Minds. Oxford University Press 83 (1998)
What is involved in the consciousness of a conscious, "occurrent" propositional attitude, such as a thought, a sudden conjecture or a conscious decision? And what is the relation of such consciousness to attention? I hope the intrinsic interest of these questions provides sufficient motivation to allow me to start by addressing them. We will not have a full understanding either of consciousness in general, nor of attention in general, until we have answers to these questions. I think there are constitutive features of these states which can be identified by broadly philosophical investigation, and in the early part of this paper I will try to do some of that identification. Beyond the intrinsic interest of the topic, the nature of such conscious attitudes is highly pertinent to a philosophical account of psychological self-knowledge. So I will also say something about the significance of the constitutive features of these conscious attitudes for a philosophical account of how it can be that a thinker has a distinctive kind of knowledge of some of his mental states. The general challenge in this area is to find anything intermediate between the unexceptionable but uninformative, on the one hand, and the absolutely unbelievable on the other.
Keywords attention   self-knowledge   consciousness
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Declan Smithies (2012). The Mental Lives of Zombies. Philosophical Perspectives 26 (1):343-372.
David Owens (2006). Testimony and Assertion. Philosophical Studies 130 (1):105 - 129.

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