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  1. Intentional Mind-Wandering as Intentional Omission: The Surrealist Method.Santiago Arango-Muñoz & Juan Pablo Bermúdez - forthcoming - Synthese 199 (3-4):7727-7748.
    Mind-wandering seems to be paradigmatically unintentional. However, experimental findings have yielded the paradoxical result that mind-wandering can also be intentional. In this paper, we first present the paradox of intentional mind-wandering and then explain intentional mind-wandering as the intentional omission to control one’s own thoughts. Finally, we present the surrealist method for artistic production to illustrate how intentional omission of control over thoughts can be deployed towards creative endeavors.
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  2. What’s Inside is All That Counts? The Contours of Everyday Thinking About Self-Control.Juan Pablo Bermúdez, Samuel Murray, Louis Chartrand & Sergio Barbosa - forthcoming - Review of Philosophy and Psychology:1-23.
    Does self-control require willpower? The question cuts to the heart of a debate about whether self-control is identical with some psychological process internal to the agents or not. Noticeably absent from these debates is systematic evidence about the folk-psychological category of self-control. Here, we present the results of two behavioral studies (N = 296) that indicate the structure of everyday thinking about self-control. In Study 1, participants rated the degree to which different strategies to respond to motivational conflict exemplify self-control. (...)
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  3. The Focus Theory of Hope.Andrew Chignell - forthcoming - The Philosophical Quarterly.
    Most elpistologists (philosophers of hope) now agree that hope for a specific outcome involves more than just desire plus the presupposition that the outcome is possible. This paper argues that the additional element of hope is a disposition to focus on the desired outcome in a certain way. I first survey the debate about the nature of hope in the recent literature, offer objections to some important competing accounts, and describe and defend the view that hope involves a kind of (...)
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  4. Autonomy of Attention.Kaisa Kärki - forthcoming - In Vincent C. Müller (ed.), Philosophy and Theory of Artificial Intelligence 2021.
    What precisely does a distraction threaten? An agent who spends an inordinate amount of time attending to her smartphone – what precisely is she lacking? I argue that whereas agency of attention is the agent’s non-automatic decision-making on what she currently pays attention to, autonomy of attention is the agent, through her second-order desires, effectively interfering with her non-automatic decision-making on what she currently pays attention to. Freedom of attention is the agent’s possibility to hold or switch her focus of (...)
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  5. The Most General Mental Act.Yair Levy - forthcoming - In Michael Brent & Lisa Miracchi (eds.), Mental Action and The Conscious Mind. Routledge.
    This chapter contributes to the ongoing debate over how to understand attention. It spells out and defends a novel account according to which attending is the most general type of mental act, that which one performs on some object if one performs any mental act on it at all. On this view, all mental acts are (to a first, rough approximation) species of attending. The view is novel in going against the grain of virtually all extant accounts, which work by (...)
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  6. What is Attention? Adverbialist Theories.Christopher Mole & Aaron Henry - forthcoming - WIREs Cognitive Science.
    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 (...)
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  7. Rumination and Wronging: The Role of Attention in Epistemic Morality.Catharine Saint-Croix - forthcoming - Episteme.
    The idea that our epistemic practices can be wrongful has been the core observation driving the growing literature on epistemic injustice, doxastic wronging, and moral encroachment. But, one element of our epistemic practice has been starkly absent from this discussion of epistemic morality: attention. The goal of this article is to show that attention is a worthwhile focus for epistemology, especially for the field of epistemic morality. After presenting a new dilemma for proponents of doxastic wronging, I show how focusing (...)
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  8. Why Does the Mind Wander?Joshua Shepherd - forthcoming - Neuroscience of Consciousness.
    I seek an explanation for the etiology and the function of mind wandering episodes. My proposal – which I call the cognitive control proposal – is that mind wandering is a form of non-conscious guidance due to cognitive control. When the agent’s current goal is deemed insufficiently rewarding, the cognitive control system initiates a search for a new, more rewarding goal. This search is the process of unintentional mind wandering. After developing the proposal, and relating it to literature on mind (...)
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  9. Salience: A Philosophical Inquiry.Sophie Archer (ed.) - 2022 - New York, NY: Routledge.
    What is salience? This collection addresses this neglected question by considering the role of salience in a wide variety of areas. All 13 chapters are specially commissioned, and written by an international team of contributors.
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  10. Agential Capacities: A Capacity to Guide.Denis Buehler - 2022 - Philosophical Studies 179 (1):21-47.
    In paradigm exercises of agency, individuals guide their activities toward some goal. A central challenge for action theory is to explain how individuals guide. This challenge is an instance of the more general problem of how to accommodate individuals and their actions in the natural world, as explained by natural science. Two dominant traditions–primitivism and the causal theory–fail to address the challenge in a satisfying way. Causal theorists appeal to causation by an intention, through a feedback mechanism, in explaining guidance. (...)
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  11. Attention and Mental Control.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2022 - Cambridge University Press.
    Mental control refers to the ability we have to control our own minds. Its primary expression—attention—has become a popular topic for philosophers in the past few decades, generating the need for a primer on the concept. It is related to self-control, which typically refers to the maintenance of preferred behavior in the face of temptation. While a distinct concept, criticisms of self-control can also be applied to mental control, such as that it implies the existence of an unscientific homunculus-like agent (...)
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  12. Oops! I Did It Again: The Psychology of Everyday Action Slips.Myrto Mylopoulos - 2022 - Topics in Cognitive Science 14 (2):282-294.
  13. Intelligence as Accurate Prediction.Trond A. Tjøstheim & Andreas Stephens - 2022 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 1 (2):475-499.
    This paper argues that intelligence can be approximated by the ability to produce accurate predictions. It is further argued that general intelligence can be approximated by context dependent predictive abilities combined with the ability to use working memory to abstract away contextual information. The flexibility associated with general intelligence can be understood as the ability to use selective attention to focus on specific aspects of sensory impressions to identify patterns, which can then be used to predict events in novel situations (...)
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  14. Knowledge in Motion: How Procedural Control of Knowledge Usage Entails Selectivity and Bias.Ulrich Ansorge - 2021 - Journal of Knowledge Structures and Systems 2 (1):3-28.
    The use and acquisition of knowledge appears to be influenced by what humans pay attention to. Thus, looking at attention will tell us something about the mechanisms involved in knowledge (usage). According to the present review, attention reflects selectivity in information processing and it is not necessarily also reflected in a user’s consciousness, as it is rooted in skill memory or other implicit procedural memory forms–that is, attention is rooted in the necessity of human control of mental operations and actions. (...)
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  15. Skilled Guidance.Denis Buehler - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):641-667.
    Skilled action typically requires that individuals guide their activities toward some goal. In skilled action, individuals do so excellently. We do not understand well what this capacity to guide consists in. In this paper I provide a case study of how individuals shift visual attention. Their capacity to guide visual attention toward some goal consists in an empirically discovered sub-system – the executive system. I argue that we can explain how individuals guide by appealing to the operation of this sub-system. (...)
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  16. Warrant From Transsaccadic Vision.Denis Buehler - 2021 - Mind and Language 36 (3):404-421.
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  17. Attention in Skilled Behavior: An Argument for Pluralism.Alex Dayer & Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2021 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 12 (3):615-638.
    Peak human performance—whether of Olympic athletes, Nobel prize winners, or you cooking the best dish you’ve ever made—depends on skill. Skill is at the heart of what it means to excel. Yet, the fixity of skilled behavior can sometimes make it seem a lower-level activity, more akin to the movements of an invertebrate or a machine. Peak performance in elite athletes is often described, for example, as “automatic” by those athletes: “The most frequent response from participants when describing the execution (...)
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  18. Drifting and Directed Minds: The Significance of Mind-Wandering for Mental Agency.Zachary C. Irving - 2021 - Journal of Philosophy 118 (11):614-644.
    Perhaps the central question in action theory is this: what ingredient of bodily action is missing in mere behavior? But what is an analogous question for mental action? I ask this: what ingredient of active, goal-directed thought is missing in mind-wandering? My answer: attentional guidance. Attention is guided when you would feel pulled back from distractions. In contrast, mind-wandering drifts between topics unchecked. My unique starting point motivates new accounts of four central topics about mental action. First, its causal basis. (...)
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  19. Efficiency and Enhancement in Attention Networks of Elite Shooting and Archery Athletes.Quanyu Lu, Pengli Li, Qiong Wu, Xinghua Liu & Yanhong Wu - 2021 - Frontiers in Psychology 12.
    Attention has been theorized as a system comprising three networks that can be estimated reliably by the attention network test ; the three networks are defined as alerting, orienting, and conflict control. The present study aims to identify the attention networks that are crucial for elite shooting and archery athletes and to examine whether mindfulness training can improve elite athletes' attention networks. We compared the performances in ANT between 62 elite athletes from the Chinese national team of shooting and archery (...)
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  20. Is the Attention Economy Noxious?Clinton Castro & Adam Pham - 2020 - Philosophers' Imprint 20 (17):1-13.
    A growing amount of media is paid for by its consumers through their very consumption of it. Typically, this new media is web-based and paid for by advertising. It includes the services offered by Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube. We offer an ethical assessment of the attention economy, the market where attention is exchanged for new media. We argue that the assessment has ethical implications for how the attention economy should be regulated. To conduct the assessment, we employ two heuristics (...)
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  21. The Attending Mind.Carolyn Dicey Jennings - 2020 - Cambridge University Press.
    Attention is essential to the life of the mind, a central topic in cognitive science, neuroscience, and psychology. Traditional debates in philosophy stand to benefit from greater understanding of the phenomenon, whether on the nature of the self, the foundation of knowledge, the natural basis of consciousness, or the origins of action and responsibility. This book is at the crossroads of philosophy of mind and cognitive science, offering a new theoretical stance on the concept of attention and how it intersects (...)
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  22. Wu-Wei, Merleau-Ponty, And Being Aware of What We Do.Marcus Lee - 2020 - Philosophy East and West 70 (1):116-135.
    In classical Chinese philosophy, the best kind of life is a life lived in line with the Dao (the “Way”). A core feature of this kind of life is attaining the ideal of wu-wei. In early Daoist writings, wu-wei denotes an ideal way of acting. However, since wu-wei is normally translated as “no-action” these ancient texts give us a picture of the best kind of life that may appear paradoxical to many philosophers. In this paper, I suggest a way to (...)
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  23. Attention for Action in Visual Working Memory.Christian N. L. Olivers & Pieter R. Roelfsema - 2020 - Cortex 131:179-194.
    From the conception of Baddeley’s visuospatial sketchpad, visual working memory and visual attention have been closely linked concepts. An attractive model has advocated unity of the two cognitive functions, with attention serving the active maintenance of sensory representations. However, empirical evidence from various paradigms and dependent measures has now firmly established an at least partial dissociation between visual attention and visual working memory maintenance e thus leaving unclear what the relationship between the two concepts is. Moreover, a focus on sensory (...)
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  24. The Mind of the Hungry Agent: Hunger, Affect and Appetite.Michele Davide Ombrato & Edgar Phillips - 2020 - Topoi 40 (3):517-526.
    The aim of this paper is to provide an account of how hunger motivates us to seek food and eat. It seems that the way that it feels to be hungry must play some role in it fulfilling this function. We propose that hunger is best viewed as a complex state involving both affective and somatic constituents, as well as, crucially, changes in the way in which the hungry agent’s attention is deployed. We argue that in order to capture the (...)
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  25. Flexible Occurrent Control.Denis Buehler - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (8):2119-2137.
    There has recently been much interest in the role of attention in controlling action. The role has been mischaracterized as an element in necessary and sufficient conditions on agential control. In this paper I attempt a new characterization of the role. I argue that we need to understand attentional control in order to fully understand agential control. To fully understand agential control we must understand paradigm exercises of agential control. Three important accounts of agential control—intentional, reflective, and goal-represented control—do not (...)
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  26. The Spontaneousness of Skill and the Impulsivity of Habit.Christos Douskos - 2019 - Synthese 196 (10):4305-4328.
    The objective of this paper is to articulate a distinction between habit and bodily skill as different ways of acting without deliberation. I start by elaborating on a distinction between habit and skill as different kinds of dispositions. Then I argue that this distinction has direct implications for the varieties of automaticity exhibited in habitual and skilful bodily acts. The argument suggests that paying close attention to the metaphysics of agency can help to articulate more precisely questions regarding the varieties (...)
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  27. Addiction as a Disorder of Self-Control.Edmund Henden - 2019 - In Hanna Pickard & Serge Ahmed (eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Philosophy and Science of Addiction. Routledge.
    Impairment of self-control is often said to be a defining feature of addiction. Yet many addicts display what appears to be a considerable amount of control over their drug-oriented actions. Not only are their actions clearly intentional and frequently carried out in a conscious and deliberate manner, there is evidence that many addicts are responsive to a wide range of ordinary incentives and counter-incentives. Moreover, addicts have a wide variety of reasons for using drugs, reasons which often seem to go (...)
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  28. An Agent of Attention: An Inquiry Into the Source of Our Control.Aaron Henry - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Toronto
    When performing a skilled action—whether something impressive like a double somersault or something mundane like reaching for a glass of water—you exercise control over your bodily movements. Specifically, you guide their course. In what does that control consist? In this dissertation, I argue that it consists in attending to what you are doing. More specifically, in attending, agents harness their perceptual and perceptuomotor states directly and practically in service of their goals and, in doing so, settle the fine-grained manner in (...)
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  29. Situating Attention and Habit in the Landscape of Affordances.Elisa Magrì - 2019 - Rivista Internazionale di Filosofia e Psicologia 10 (2):120-136.
    : This paper aims to situate the roles of attention and habit in contemporary approaches to embodied cognition with particular regard to the conceptualisation of affordances. While Chemero has argued that affordances have a relational character that rules out dispositions, Rietveld and Kiverstein have suggested that engaging with affordances amounts to exercising skills. By critically reconsidering the distinction between dispositions and abilities proposed by Chemero, as well as the standard theory of habit that underpins accounts of skilful coping, I propose (...)
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  30. Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - 2019 - Analysis 79 (4):693-703.
    Jennings and Nanay argue against my claim that action entails attention by providing putative counterexamples to the claim that action entails a Many–Many Problem. This reply demonstrates that they have misunderstood the central notion of a pure reflex on which my argument depends. A simplified form of the argument from pure reflex to the Many–Many Problem as a necessary feature of agency is given, and putative counterexamples of action without attention are addressed. Attention is present in every action. In passing, (...)
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  31. Is Attention Really Effort? Revisiting Daniel Kahneman’s Influential 1973 Book Attention and Effort.Brian Bruya & Yi-Yuan Tang - 2018 - Frontiers in Psychology 9.
    Daniel Kahneman was not the first to suggest that attention and effort are closely associated, but his 1973 book Attention and Effort, which claimed that attention can be identified with effort, cemented the association as a research paradigm in the cognitive sciences. Since then, the paradigm has rarely been questioned and appears to have set the research agenda so that it is self-reinforcing. In this article, we retrace Kahneman's argument to understand its strengths and weaknesses. The central notion of effort (...)
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  32. A Dilemma for ‘Selection‐for‐Action’.Denis Buehler - 2018 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 7 (2):139-149.
    One of the most influential recent accounts of attention is Wayne Wu’s. According to Wu, attention is selection-for-action. I argue that this proposal faces a dilemma: either it denies clear cases of attention capture, or it acknowledges these cases but classifies many inattentive episodes as attentive.
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  33. Cognitive Development Attenuates Audiovisual Distraction and Promotes the Selection of Task-Relevant Perceptual Saliency During Visual Search on Complex Scenes.Clarissa Cavallina, Giovanna Puccio, Michele Capurso, Andrew J. Bremner & Valerio Santangelo - 2018 - Cognition 180 (C):91-98.
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  34. There Is No Agency Without Attention.Paul Bello & Will Bridewell - 2017 - AI Magazine 38 (4):27-33.
    For decades AI researchers have built agents that are capable of carrying out tasks that require human-level or human-like intelligence. During this time, questions of how these programs compared in kind to humans have surfaced and led to beneficial interdisciplinary discussions, but conceptual progress has been slower than technological progress. Within the past decade, the term agency has taken on new import as intelligent agents have become a noticeable part of our everyday lives. Research on autonomous vehicles and personal assistants (...)
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  35. Do We Reflect While Performing Skillful Actions? Automaticity, Control, and the Perils of Distraction.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - Philosophical Psychology 30 (7):896-924.
    From our everyday commuting to the gold medalist’s world-class performance, skillful actions are characterized by fine-grained, online agentive control. What is the proper explanation of such control? There are two traditional candidates: intellectualism explains skillful agentive control by reference to the agent’s propositional mental states; anti-intellectualism holds that propositional mental states or reflective processes are unnecessary since skillful action is fully accounted for by automatic coping processes. I examine the evidence for three psychological phenomena recently held to support anti-intellectualism and (...)
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  36. Social Media and Self-Control: The Vices and Virtues of Attention.Juan Pablo Bermúdez - 2017 - In C. G. Prado (ed.), Social Media and Your Brain: Web-Based Communication Is Changing How We Think and Express Ourselves. Santa Barbara, CA: Praeger. pp. 57-74.
    Self-control, the capacity to resist temptations and pursue longer-term goals over immediate gratifications, is crucial in determining the overall shape of our lives, and thereby in our ability to shape our identities. As it turns out, this capacity is intimately linked with our ability to control the direction of our attention. This raises the worry that perhaps social media are making us more easily distracted people, and therefore less able to exercise self-control. Is this so? And is it necessarily a (...)
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  37. Attention, Not Self.Jonardon Ganeri - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    Jonardon Ganeri presents a radically reoriented account of mind, to which attention is the key. It is attention, not self, that explains the experiential and normative situatedness of humans in the world. Ganeri draws together three disciplines: analytic philosophy and phenomenology, cognitive science and psychology, and Buddhist thought.
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  38. Mechanisms of Mind-Body Interaction and Optimal Performance.Yi-Yuan Tang & Brian Bruya - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
    Based on recent findings, we propose a framework for a relationship among attention, effort and optimal performance. Optimal performance often refers to an effortless and automatic, flow-like state of performance. Mindfulness regulates the focus of attention to optimal focus on the core component of the action, avoiding too much attention that could be detrimental for elite performance. Balanced attention is a trained state that can optimize any particular attentional activity on the dual-process spectrum.
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  39. Structuring Mind. The Nature of Attention and How It Shapes Consciousness.Sebastian Watzl - 2017 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
    What is attention? How does attention shape consciousness? In an approach that engages with foundational topics in the philosophy of mind, the theory of action, psychology, and the neurosciences this book provides a unified and comprehensive answer to both questions. Sebastian Watzl shows that attention is a central structural feature of the mind. The first half of the book provides an account of the nature of attention. Attention is prioritizing, it consists in regulating priority structures. Attention is not another element (...)
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  40. Shaking Up the Mind’s Ground Floor: The Cognitive Penetration of Visual Attention.Wayne Wu - 2017 - Journal of Philosophy 114 (1):5-32.
    In this paper, I argue that visual attention is cognitively penetrated by intention. I present a detailed account of attention and its neural basis, drawing on a recent computational model of neural modulation during attention: divisive normalization. I argue that intention shifts computations during divisive normalization. The epistemic consequences of attentional bias are discussed.
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  41. Present and Future Trajectories Towards a Possible Valid and Useful Diagnosis of ADHD.Piero De Rossi - 2016 - Dialogues in Philosophy, Mental and Neuro Sciences 9 (1):34-35.
    To date, diagnosing Attention Defi cit Hyperactivity Disorder remains indeed one of the most controversial issues in contemporary psychiatry and behavioural sciences. Most of the conceptual problems regarding the validity of this diagnostic category arise from the heterogeneity of syndromal pictures and the high rate of comorbidity observed in subjects diagnosed with ADHD at all stages of the longitudinal course of the disorder. In this regard, DSM 5 increased complexity by allowing a diagnosis of comorbidity between ADHD and autism spectrum (...)
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  42. Action Without Attention.Carolyn Dicey Jennings & Bence Nanay - 2016 - Analysis 76 (1):29-36.
    Wayne Wu argues that attention is necessary for action: since action requires a solution to the ‘Many–Many Problem’, and since only attention can solve the Many–Many Problem, attention is necessary for action. We question the first of these two steps and argue that it is based on an oversimplified distinction between actions and reflexes. We argue for a more complex typology of behaviours where one important category is action that does not require a solution to the Many–Many Problem, and so (...)
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  43. Thought in Action: Expertise and the Conscious Mind.Barbara Gail Montero - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
    How does thinking affect doing? There is a widely held view that thinking about what you are doing, as you are doing it, hinders performance. Once you have acquired the ability to putt a golf ball, play an arpeggio on the piano, or parallel-park, reflecting on your actions leads to inaccuracies, blunders, and sometimes even utter paralysis--that's what is widely believed. But is it true? After exploring some of the contemporary and historical manifestations of the idea, Barbara Gail Montero develops (...)
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  44. Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 92 (2):101-26.
    This essay argues that current theories of action fail to explain agentive control because they have left out a psychological capacity central to control: attention. This makes it impossible to give a complete account of the mental antecedents that generate action. By investigating attention, and in particular the intention-attention nexus, we can characterize the functional role of intention in an illuminating way, explicate agentive control so that we have a uniform explanation of basic cases of causal deviance in action as (...)
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  45. Mindfulness is Associated with Intrinsic Functional Connectivity Between Default Mode and Salience Networks.Anselm Doll, Britta K. Hölzel, Christine C. Boucard, Afra M. Wohlschläger & Christian Sorg - 2015 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
  46. Know-How, Procedural Knowledge, and Choking Under Pressure.Gabriel Gottlieb - 2015 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 14 (2):361-378.
    I examine two explanatory models of choking: the representationalist model and the anti-representationalist model. The representationalist model is based largely on Anderson's ACT model of procedural knowledge and is developed by Masters, Beilock and Carr. The antirepresentationalist model is based on dynamical models of cognition and embodied action and is developed by Dreyfus who employs an antirepresentational view of know-how. I identify the models' similarities and differences. I then suggest that Dreyfus is wrong to believe representational activity requires reflection and (...)
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  47. Limb Apraxia and the “Affordance Competition Hypothesis”.Elisabeth Rounis & Glyn Humphreys - 2015 - Frontiers in Human Neuroscience 9.
  48. Deciding as Intentional Action: Control Over Decisions.Joshua Shepherd - 2015 - Australasian Journal of Philosophy 93 (2):335-351.
    Common-sense folk psychology and mainstream philosophy of action agree about decisions: these are under an agent's direct control, and are thus intentional actions for which agents can be held responsible. I begin this paper by presenting a problem for this view. In short, since the content of the motivational attitudes that drive deliberation and decision remains open-ended until the moment of decision, it is unclear how agents can be thought to exercise control over what they decide at the moment of (...)
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  49. Cognitive Training for Children with ADHD: A Randomized Controlled Trial of Cogmed Working Memory Training and ‘Paying Attention in Class’.Marthe van der Donk, Anne-Claire Hiemstra-Beernink, Ariane Tjeenk-Kalff, Aryan van der Leij & Ramón Lindauer - 2015 - Frontiers in Psychology 6.
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  50. Evenly Suspended Distractive Attention.Lyat Friedman - 2014 - Techné: Research in Philosophy and Technology 18 (1/2):84-101.
    This article reviews recent cognitive and neurological approaches to the study of attention. It argues that such research is based on the notion that attention has a positive cognitive function selecting, like a sieve or a filter, elements from the background and foreground, to then be processed by the brain and made conscious when required. These approaches fail to explain cognitive overload and recent findings demonstrating that recognition and understanding—sensory, visual and semantic—also occur prior to attention. Merleau-Ponty and Freud offer (...)
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