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  1. 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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  • Experts and Deviants: The Story of Agentive Control.Wayne Wu - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (1):101-126.
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  • Cognitive Penetration and the Perception of Art (Winner of 2012 Dialectica Essay Prize).Dustin Stokes - 2014 - Dialectica 68 (1):1-34.
    There are good, even if inconclusive, reasons to think that cognitive penetration of perception occurs: that cognitive states like belief causally affect, in a relatively direct way, the contents of perceptual experience. The supposed importance of – indeed as it is suggested here, what is definitive of – this possible phenomenon is that it would result in important epistemic and scientific consequences. One interesting and intuitive consequence entirely unremarked in the extant literature concerns the perception of art. Intuition has it (...)
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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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  • 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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  • Perception and Its Modalities.Dustin Stokes, Mohan Matthen & Stephen Biggs (eds.) - 2014 - Oxford University Press.
    This volume is about the many ways we perceive. Contributors explore the nature of the individual senses, how and what they tell us about the world, and how they interrelate. They consider how the senses extract perceptual content from receptoral information. They consider what kinds of objects we perceive and whether multiple senses ever perceive a single event. They consider how many senses we have, what makes one sense distinct from another, and whether and why distinguishing senses may be useful. (...)
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  • Achieving Transparency: An Argument For Enactivism.Dave Ward - 2016 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 93 (3):650-680.
    The transparency of perceptual experience has been invoked in support of many views about perception. I argue that it supports a form of enactivism—the view that capacities for perceptual experience and for intentional agency are essentially interdependent. I clarify the perceptual phenomenon at issue, and argue that enactivists should expect to find a parallel instance of transparency in our agentive experience, and that the two forms of transparency are constitutively interdependent. I then argue that i) we do indeed find such (...)
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  • The Contours of Control.Joshua Shepherd - 2014 - Philosophical Studies 170 (3):395-411.
    Necessarily, if S lacks the ability to exercise control, S is not an agent. If S is not an agent, S cannot act intentionally, responsibly, or rationally, nor can S possess or exercise free will. In spite of the obvious importance of control, however, no general account of control exists. In this paper I reflect on the nature of control itself. I develop accounts of control ’s exercise and control ’s possession that illuminate what it is for degrees of control (...)
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  • Action Always Involves Attention.Wayne Wu - forthcoming - Analysis:any080.
    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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  • Attention, Psychology, and Pluralism.Henry Taylor - 2018 - British Journal for the Philosophy of Science 69 (4):935-956.
    There is an overriding orthodoxy amongst philosophers that attention is a ‘unified phenomenon’, subject to explanation by one monistic theory. In this article, I examine whether this philosophical orthodoxy is reflected in the practice of psychology. I argue that the view of attention that best represents psychological work is a variety of conceptual pluralism. When it comes to the psychology of attention, monism should be rejected and pluralism should be embraced. _1_ The Monistic Consensus _2_ The Varieties of Pluralism _3_ (...)
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  • 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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  • What is Conscious Attention?Wayne Wu - 2011 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 82 (1):93-120.
    Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is (...)
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  • Horizonal Extensions of Attention: A Phenomenological Study of the Contextuality and Habituality of Experience.Thiemo Breyer & Maren Wehrle - 2016 - Journal of Phenomenological Psychology 47 (1):41-61.
    Attention is a complex process that modulates perception in various ways. Phenomenological philosophy provides an array of concepts for describing the rich structures of attention, thereby avoiding reductions to singular aspects of an experiential spectrum. By suggesting various modes and levels of attentional experience, we intend to do some justice to its complexity, taking into account sub-personal and personal factors on the side of subjective horizons and feature-oriented as well as context-oriented aspects on the side of objective horizons.
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  • Explaining Schizophrenia: Auditory Verbal Hallucination and Self‐Monitoring.Wayne Wu - 2012 - Mind and Language 27 (1):86-107.
    Do self‐monitoring accounts, a dominant account of the positive symptoms of schizophrenia, explain auditory verbal hallucination? In this essay, I argue that the account fails to answer crucial questions any explanation of auditory verbal hallucination must address. Where the account provides a plausible answer, I make the case for an alternative explanation: auditory verbal hallucination is not the result of a failed control mechanism, namely failed self‐monitoring, but, rather, of the persistent automaticity of auditory experience of a voice. My argument (...)
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  • Pollard on Habits of Action.Christos Douskos - 2017 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 25 (4):504-524.
    Bill Pollard has recently developed an account of habits of action, endeavoring to rehabilitate the traditional notion of habit in a way that can be used to address current philosophical concerns. I argue that Pollard’s account has important shortcomings. The account is intended to apply indiscriminately to both habitual and skilled acts, but this overlooks crucial distinctions. Moreover, Pollard’s account fails to do justice to the various ways in which the idea of habit figures in the explanation and assessment of (...)
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  • Interface Problems in the Explanation of Action.Daniel C. Burnston - 2017 - Philosophical Explorations 20 (2):242-258.
    When doing mental ontology, we must ask how to individuate distinct categories of mental states, and then, given that individuation, ask how states from distinct categories interact. One promising proposal for how to individuate cognitive from sensorimotor states is in terms of their representational form. On these views, cognitive representations are propositional in structure, while sensorimotor representations have an internal structure that maps to the perceptual and kinematic dimensions involved in an action context. This way of thinking has resulted in (...)
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  • 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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Two Distinctions That Help to Chart the Interplay Between Conscious and Unconscious Volition.Marc Slors - 2019 - Frontiers in Psychology 10.
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  • Automatically Minded.Ellen Fridland - 2017 - Synthese 194 (11).
    It is not rare in philosophy and psychology to see theorists fall into dichotomous thinking about mental phenomena. On one side of the dichotomy there are processes that I will label “unintelligent.” These processes are thought to be unconscious, implicit, automatic, unintentional, involuntary, procedural, and non-cognitive. On the other side, there are “intelligent” processes that are conscious, explicit, controlled, intentional, voluntary, declarative, and cognitive. Often, if a process or behavior is characterized by one of the features from either of the (...)
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  • The Nature of Attention.Sebastian Watzl - 2011 - Philosophy Compass 6 (11):842-853.
    What is attention? Attention is often seen as a subject matter for the hard sciences of cognitive and brain processes, and is understood in terms of sub-personal mechanisms and processes. Correspondingly, there still is a stark contrast between the central role attention plays for the empirical investigation of the mind in psychology and the neurosciences, and its relative neglect in philosophy. Yet, over the past years, several philosophers have challenged the standard conception. A number of interesting philosophical questions concerning the (...)
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  • Wonder and Value.Kevin Patrick Tobia - 2015 - Res Philosophica 92 (4):959-984.
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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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  • 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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  • 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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  • Habit and Intention.Christos Douskos - 2017 - Philosophia 45 (3):1129-1148.
    Several authors have argued that the things one does in the course of skilled and habitual activity present a difficult case for the ‘standard story’ of action. They are things intentionally done, but they do not seem to be suitably related to mental states. I suggest that once manifestations of habit are properly distinguished from exercises of skills and other kinds of spontaneous acts, we can see that habit raises a distinctive sort of problem. I examine certain responses that have (...)
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  • The Erotetic Theory of Attention: Questions, Focus and Distraction.Philipp Koralus - 2014 - Mind and Language 29 (1):26-50.
    Attention has a role in much of perception, thought, and action. On the erotetic theory, the functional role of attention is a matter of the relationship between questions and what counts as answers to those questions. Questions encode the completion conditions of tasks for cognitive control purposes, and degrees of attention are degrees of sensitivity to the occurrence of answers. Questions and answers are representational contents given precise characterizations using tools from formal semantics, though attention does not depend on language. (...)
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