Theory & Psychology 1:1-14 (2019)

Authors
Mark Fortney
University of Toronto at Scarborough
Abstract
Remembering that there’s a difference between intellectual and perceptual attention can help us avoid miscommunication due to meaning different things by the same terms, which has been a particular problem during the last hundred years or so of the study of attention. I demonstrate this through analyzing in depth one such miscommunication that occurred in a philosophical criticism of the influential psychological text, Inattentional Blindness. But after making the distinction between perceptual attention and intellectual attention, and after making an effort to keep this distinction in mind, we are still faced with the problem of specifying what makes intellectual attention distinct from perceptual attention. In the second half of this article, I discuss the range of proposals about how to understand intellectual attention that are present in the literature, and the problems with them. I do this with the aim of stimulating further discussion about how best to conceptualize intellectual attention, although I do not settle that further question within this paper.
Keywords attention  stimulus-independent thought  William James
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