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Attention and perceptual content

Analysis 70 (2):263-270 (2010)

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  1. Attention and Encapsulation.Jake Quilty‐Dunn - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
    The question of whether perception is encapsulated from cognition has been a major topic in the study of perception in the past decade. One locus of debate concerns the role of attention. Some theorists argue that attention is a vehicle for widespread violations of encapsulation; others argue that certain forms of cognitively driven attention are compatible with encapsulation, especially if attention only modulates inputs. This paper argues for an extreme thesis: no effect of attention, whether on the inputs to perception (...)
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  • The Impure Phenomenology of Episodic Memory.Alexandria Boyle - forthcoming - Mind and Language.
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  • Minima Sensibilia: Against the Dynamic Snapshot Model of Temporal Experience.Jack Shardlow - forthcoming - European Journal of Philosophy.
    In our wakeful conscious lives, the experience of time and dynamic temporal phenomena—such as continuous motion and change—appears to be ubiquitous. How is it that temporality is woven into our conscious experience? Is it through perceptual experience presenting a series of instantaneous states of the world, which combine together—in a sense which would need to be specified—to give us experience of dynamic temporal phenomena? In this paper, I argue that this is not the case. -/- Several authors have recently proposed (...)
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  • Indeterminate Perception and Colour Relationism.Brian Cutter - 2019 - Analysis 79 (1):25-34.
    One of the most important objections to sense data theory comes from the phenomenon of indeterminate perception, as when an object in the periphery of one’s visual field looks red without looking to have any determinate shade of red. As sense data are supposed to have precisely the properties that sensibly appear to us, sense data theory evidently has the implausible consequence that a sense datum can have a determinable property without having any of its determinates. In this article, I (...)
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  • Logic, Logical Form and the Disunity of Truth.Will Gamester - 2019 - Analysis 79 (1):34-43.
    Monists say that the nature of truth is invariant, whichever sentence you consider; pluralists say that the nature of truth varies between different sets of sentences. The orthodoxy is that logic and logical form favour monism: there must be a single property that is preserved in any valid inference; and any truth-functional complex must be true in the same way as its components. The orthodoxy, I argue, is mistaken. Logic and logical form impose only structural constraints on a metaphysics of (...)
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  • Pre-Cueing Effects: Attention or Mental Imagery?Peter Fazekas & Bence Nanay - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
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  • Attention and Mental Primer.Jacob Beck & Keith A. Schneider - 2017 - Mind and Language 32 (4):463-494.
    Drawing on the empirical premise that attention makes objects look more intense, Ned Block has argued for mental paint, a phenomenal residue that cannot be reduced to what is perceived or represented. If sound, Block's argument would undermine direct realism and representationism, two widely held views about the nature of conscious perception. We argue that Block's argument fails because the empirical premise it is based upon is false. Attending to an object alters its salience, but not its perceived intensity. We (...)
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  • Determinability of Perception as Homogeneity of Representation.Víctor M. Verdejo - 2018 - Review of Philosophy and Psychology 9 (1):33-47.
    Recent philosophical and empirical contributions strongly suggest that perception attributes determinable properties to its objects. But a characterisation of determinability via attributed properties is restricted to the level of content and does not capture the difference between perceptual belief and perception on this score. In this paper, I propose a formal way of cashing out the difference between determinable belief and perception. On the view presented here, determinability in perception distinctively involves homogeneous representation or representation that exhibits special sorts of (...)
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  • Kind Properties and the Metaphysics of Perception: Towards Impure Relationalism.Dan Cavedon-Taylor - 2015 - Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 96 (4):487-509.
    A central debate in contemporary philosophy of perception is between those who hold that perception is a detection relation of sensory awareness and those who hold that it is representational state akin to belief. Another key debate is between those who claim that we can perceive natural or artifactual kind properties, e.g. ‘being a tomato’, ‘being a doorknob’, etc. and those who hold we cannot. The current consensus is that these debates are entirely unrelated. I argue that this consensus is (...)
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  • The Phenomenology of Embodied Attention.Diego D’Angelo - forthcoming - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences:1-18.
    This paper aims to conceptualize the phenomenology of attentional experience as ‘embodied attention.’ Current psychological research, in describing attentional experiences, tends to apply the so-called spotlight metaphor, according to which attention is characterized as the illumination of certain surrounding objects or events. In this framework, attention is not seen as involving our bodily attitudes or modifying the way we experience those objects and events. It is primarily conceived as a purely mental and volitional activity of the cognizing subject. Against this (...)
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  • The Representationalism Versus Relationalism Debate: Explanatory Contextualism About Perception.Bence Nanay - 2015 - European Journal of Philosophy 23 (2):321-336.
    There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to representationalism, perceptual states are representations: they represent the world as being a certain way. They have content, which may or may not be different from the content of beliefs. They represent objects as having properties, sometimes veridically, sometimes not. According to relationalism, perception is a relation between the agent and the perceived object. Perceived objects are literally constituents of our perceptual states and not of the contents thereof. Perceptual (...)
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  • Représentationnalisme Et Attention.Émile Thalabard - 2013 - Dialogue 52 (3):551-586.
    Dans cet article, je défends le représentationnalisme contre l’objection de la saillance phénoménale, développée notamment par Chalmers, Nickel et Speaks. Selon mon approche, les déplacements couverts de l’attention améliorent la résolution des représentations perceptives au point de fixation. Cette amélioration locale permet d’expliquer l’effet de saillance, typique de l’attention focale, et de préserver l’intuition représentationnaliste.This article is a defence of representationalism against the objection of phenomenal saliency, which Chalmers, Nickel and Speaks have developed. According to my approach, covert shifts of (...)
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  • Perceptual Precision.Adrienne Prettyman - 2019 - Philosophical Psychology 32 (6):923-944.
    ABSTRACTThe standard view in philosophy of mind is that the way to understand the difference between perception and misperception is in terms of accuracy. On this view, perception is accurate while...
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  • Representationalism and the Determinacy of Visual Content.Ben Bronner - 2015 - Philosophical Psychology 28 (2):227-239.
    DETERMINACY is the claim that covert shifts in visual attention sometimes affect the determinacy of visual content (capital letters will distinguish the claim from the familiar word, 'determinacy'). Representationalism is the claim that visual phenomenology supervenes on visual representational content. Both claims are popular among contemporary philosophers of mind, and DETERMINACY has been employed in defense of representationalism. I claim that existing arguments in favor of DETERMINACY are inconclusive. As a result, DETERMINACY-based arguments in support of representationalism are not strong (...)
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  • Blur and Perceptual Content.Bence Nanay - 2018 - Analysis 78 (2):254-260.
    Intentionalism about visual experiences is the view according to which the phenomenal character of a visual experience supervenes on the content of this experience. One of the most influential objections to this view is about blur: seeing a fuzzy contour clearly and seeing a sharp contour blurrily have different phenomenal character but the same content. I argue that this objection does not work if we understand perceptual content simply, and not particularly controversially, as partly constituted by the sum total of (...)
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  • Is Attention a Non-Propositional Attitude?Sebastian Watzl - forthcoming - In Alex Grzankowski & Michelle Montague (eds.), Non-Propositional Intentionality. Oxford University Press.
    I argue first that attention is a (maybe the) paradigmatic case of an object-directed, non-propositional intentional mental episode. In addition attention cannot be reduced to any other (propositional or non-propositional) mental episodes. Yet, second, attention is not a non-propositional mental attitude. It might appear puzzling how one could hold both of these claims. I show how to combine them, and how that combination shows how propositionality and non-propositionality can co-exist in a mental life. The crucial move is one away from (...)
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  • Basic Beliefs and the Perceptual Learning Problem: A Substantial Challenge for Moderate Foundationalism.Bram M. K. Vaassen - 2016 - Episteme 13 (1):133-149.
    In recent epistemology many philosophers have adhered to a moderate foundationalism according to which some beliefs do not depend on other beliefs for their justification. Reliance on such ‘basic beliefs’ pervades both internalist and externalist theories of justification. In this article I argue that the phenomenon of perceptual learning – the fact that certain ‘expert’ observers are able to form more justified basic beliefs than novice observers – constitutes a challenge for moderate foundationalists. In order to accommodate perceptual learning cases, (...)
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  • Meditation, Enactivism and Introspective Training.Michael David Roberts - 2019 - Dissertation, University of Birmingham
    This PhD thesis concerns introspective approaches to the study of the mind. Across three standalone papers, I examine the significance of introspective data and advise on appropriate kinds of training for the production of such data. An overview document first introduces major themes, methods and arguments of the thesis. Paper 1 then begins the argumentative work, interrogating the constraining function of introspection in cognitive science. Here, I evaluate “enactivist” claims about the significance of introspection, clarifying central enactivist suggestions to draw (...)
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  • Visual Prominence and Representationalism.Todd Ganson & Ben Bronner - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 164 (2):405-418.
    A common objection to representationalism is that a representationalist view of phenomenal character cannot accommodate the effects that shifts in covert attention have on visual phenomenology: covert attention can make items more visually prominent than they would otherwise be without altering the content of visual experience. Recent empirical work on attention casts doubt on previous attempts to advance this type of objection to representationalism and it also points the way to an alternative development of the objection.
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  • Cognitive Penetration and the Gallery of Indiscernibles.Bence Nanay - 2014 - Frontiers in Psychology 5.
    Danto's Gallery of Indiscernibles thought experiment only works if we make assumptions about the cognitive impenetrability of perception, which we have strong empirical reasons to reject.
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  • The Puzzle of Perceptual Precision.Ned Block - 2015 - Open Mind.
    Argues for a failure of correspondence between perceptual representation and what it is like to perceive. If what it is like to perceive is grounded in perceptual representation, then, using considerations of veridical representation, we can show that inattentive peripheral perception is less representationally precise than attentive foveal perception. However, there is empirical evidence to the contrary. The conclusion is that perceptual representation cannot ground what it is like to perceive.
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  • Silencing the Experience of Change.Sebastian Watzl - 2013 - Philosophical Studies 165 (3):1009-1032.
    Perceptual illusions have often served as an important tool in the study of perceptual experience. In this paper I argue that a recently discovered set of visual illusions sheds new light on the nature of time consciousness. I suggest the study of these silencing illusions as a tool kit for any philosopher interested in the experience of time and show how to better understand time consciousness by combining detailed empirical investigations with a detailed philosophical analysis. In addition, and more specifically, (...)
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  • Bayes or Determinables? What Does the Bidirectional Hierarchical Model of Brain Functions Tell Us About the Nature of Perceptual Representation?Bence Nanay - 2012 - Frontiers in Theoretical and Philosophical Psychology 3.
    The focus of this commentary is what Andy Clark takes to be the most groundbreaking of the philosophical import of the ‘bidirectional hierarchical model of brain functions’, namely, the claim that perceptual representations represent probabilities. This is what makes his account Bayesian and this is a philosophical or theoretical conclusion that neuroscientists and psychologists are also quick and happy to draw. My claim is that nothing in the ‘bidirectional hierarchical models of brain functions’ implies that perceptual representations are probabilistic, or (...)
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  • Science, Substance and Spatial Appearances.Thomas Raleigh - forthcoming - Philosophical Studies:1-18.
    According to a certain kind of naïve or folk understanding of physical matter, everyday ‘solid’ objects are composed of a homogeneous, gap-less substance, with sharply defined boundaries, which wholly fills the space they occupy. A further claim is that our perceptual experience of the environment represents or indicates that the objects around us conform to this sort of conception of physical matter. Were this further claim correct, it would mean that the way that the world appears to us in experience (...)
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  • Pre-Cueing, Perceptual Learning and Cognitive Penetration.Dimitria Electra Gatzia & Berit Brogaard - 2017 - Frontiers in Psychology 8.
    In The Principles of Psychology, William James (1981) has long ago suggested that attending to a stimulus can make it appear more ‘vivid and clear.’ Pre-cueing, the procedure in which a cue stimulus is presented to direct a subject’s attention to the location of a test stimulus, has been used to test James’ hypothesis (Posner, 1978; Carrasco et al., 2004; Carrasco, Loula, & Ho, 2006; Yeshurun & Rashal, 2010; Carrasco, 2011). One recent debate concerns whether the effects of pre-cueing and (...)
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  • Pointing and Representing: Three Options.Nick Young, Angelica Kaufmann & Bence Nanay - 2013 - Humana Mente 6 (24).
    The aim of this paper is to explore the minimal representational requirements for pointing. One year old children are capable of pointing – what does this tell us about their representational capacities? We analyse three options: (1) pointing presupposes non-perceptual representations, (2) pointing does not presuppose any representation at all, (3) pointing presupposes perceptual representations. Rather than fully endorsing any of these three options, the aim of the paper is to explore the advantages and disadvantages of each.
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  • Pain and Mental Imagery.Bence Nanay - 2017 - The Monist 100 (4):485-500.
    One of the most promising trends both in the neuroscience of pain and in psychiatric treatments of chronic pain is the focus on mental imagery. My aim is to argue that if we take these findings seriously, we can draw very important and radical philosophical conclusions. I argue that what we pretheoretically take to be pain is partly constituted by sensory stimulation-driven pain processing and partly constituted by mental imagery. This general picture can explain some problematic cases of pain perception, (...)
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  • Perceiving Tropes.Bence Nanay - 2012 - Erkenntnis 77 (1):1-14.
    There are two very different ways of thinking about perception. According to the first one, perception is representational: it represents the world as being a certain way. According to the second, perception is a genuine relation between the perceiver and a token object. These two views are thought to be incompatible. My aim is to work out the least problematic version of the representational view of perception that preserves the most important considerations in favor of the relational view. According to (...)
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  • Ambiguous Figures, Attention, and Perceptual Content: Reply to Jagnow. [REVIEW]Bence Nanay - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (4):557-561.
    I argued in Nanay 2010 that we cannot characterize perceptual content without reference to attention. Here, I defend this account from three objections raised by Jagnow 2011. This mainly takes the form of clarifying some details not sufficiently elaborated in the original article and dispelling some potential misunderstandings.
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  • Ambiguous Figures and the Spatial Contents of Perceptual Experience: A Defense of Representationalism.René Jagnow - 2011 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 10 (3):325-346.
    Representationalists hold that the phenomenal character of a perceptual experience is identical with, or supervenes on, an aspect of its representational content. As such, representationalism could be disproved by a counter-example consisting of two experiences that have the same representational content but differ in phenomenal character. In this paper, I discuss two recently proposed counter-examples to representationalism that involve ambiguous or reversible figures. I pursue two goals. My first, and most important, goal is to show that the representationalist can offer (...)
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  • Breaking the Silence: Motion Silencing and Experience of Change.Ian Phillips - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 168 (3):693-707.
    The naïve view of temporal experience (Phillips, in: Lloyd D, Arstila V (eds) Subjective time: the philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience of temporality, forthcoming-a) comprises two claims. First, that we are perceptually aware of temporal properties, such as succession and change. Second, that for any temporal property apparently presented in experience, our experience itself possesses that temporal property. In his paper ‘Silencing the experience of change’ (forthcoming), Watzl argues that this second naïve inheritance thesis faces a novel counter-example in the form (...)
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  • The Philosophical Significance of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (10):722-733.
    What is the philosophical significance of attention? The present article provides an overview of recent debates surrounding the connections between attention and other topics of philosophical interest. In particular, it discusses the interplay between attention and consciousness, attention and agency, and attention and reference. The article outlines the questions and contemporary positions concerning how attention shapes the phenomenal character of experience, whether it is necessary or sufficient for consciousness, and whether it plays a special role in the best philosophical theories (...)
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  • Perceptual Content is Indexed to Attention.Adrienne Prettyman - 2017 - Synthese 194 (10):4039-4054.
    Attention seems to raise a problem for pure representationalism, the view that phenomenal content supervenes on representational content. The problem is that shifts of attention sometimes seem to bring about a change in phenomenal content without a change in representational content. I argue that the representationalist can meet this challenge, but that doing so requires a new view of the representational content of perception. On this new view, the representational content of perception is always relative to a way of attending. (...)
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  • Against Unifying Accounts of Attention.J. Henry Taylor - 2015 - Erkenntnis 80 (1):39-56.
    There have recently been a number of attempts to put forth a philosophical account of the nature of attention. Many such theories aim at giving necessary and sufficient conditions for something to be attention. In this paper I will argue that any such theory must meet two criteria. Then I shall examine four prominent accounts of attention in some detail, and argue that all of them face problems meeting one or the other of the criteria. I propose an alternative view, (...)
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  • Perception is Not All-Purpose.Bence Nanay - forthcoming - Synthese:1-12.
    I aim to show that perception depends counterfactually on the action we want to perform. Perception is not all-purpose: what we want to do does influence what we see. After clarifying how this claim is different from the one at stake in the cognitive penetrability debate and what counterfactual dependence means in my claim, I will give a two-step argument: one’s perceptual attention depends counterfactually on one’s intention to perform an action and one’s perceptual processing depends counterfactually on one’s perceptual (...)
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  • Perceptual Content and the Content of Mental Imagery.Bence Nanay - 2015 - Philosophical Studies 172 (7):1723-1736.
    The aim of this paper is to argue that the phenomenal similarity between perceiving and visualizing can be explained by the similarity between the structure of the content of these two different mental states. And this puts important constraints on how we should think about perceptual content and the content of mental imagery.
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  • Do We Sense Modalities with Our Sense Modalities?1.Bence Nanay - 2011 - Ratio 24 (3):299-310.
    It has been widely assumed that we do not perceive dispositional properties. I argue that there are two ways of interpreting this assumption. On the first, extensional, interpretation whether we perceive dispositions depends on a complex set of metaphysical commitments. But if we interpret the claim in the second, intensional, way, then we have no reason to suppose that we do not perceive dispositional properties. The two most important and influential arguments to the contrary fail.
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  • Unconscious Perceptual Justification.Jacob Berger, Bence Nanay & Jake Quilty-Dunn - 2018 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 61 (5-6):569-589.
    Perceptual experiences justify beliefs. A perceptual experience of a dog justifies the belief that there is a dog present. But there is much evidence that perceptual states can occur without being conscious, as in experiments involving masked priming. Do unconscious perceptual states provide justification as well? The answer depends on one’s theory of justification. While most varieties of externalism seem compatible with unconscious perceptual justification, several theories have recently afforded to consciousness a special role in perceptual justification. We argue that (...)
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