Attention norms in Siegel’s The Rationality of Perception

Ratio 32 (1):84-91 (2019)

Authors
Zachary C. Irving
University of California, Berkeley
Abstract
Can we be responsible for our attention? Can attention be epistemically good or bad? Siegel tackles these under‐explored questions in “Selection Effects”, a pathbreaking chapter of The Rationality of Perception. In this chapter, Siegel develops one of the first philosophical accounts of attention norms. Her account is inferential: patterns of attention are often controlled by inferences and therefore subject to rational epistemic norms that govern any other form of inference. Although Siegel’s account is explanatorily powerful, it cannot capture a core attention norm in cognitive science: one should balance between exploratory and exploitative attention. For central cases of exploratory attention such as mind‐wandering, child‐like, and creative thinking are non‐inferential. Siegel’s view classifies them as “normative freebies” that are not subject to epistemic evaluation. We’re therefore left with a disjunctive conclusion: either Siegel’s inferentialist theory of attention norms is incomplete or cognitive scientists are wrong about the norms that govern attention.
Keywords attention  explore/exploit  inference  perception  rationality
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DOI 10.1111/rati.12213
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References found in this work BETA

Cognitive Wheels: The Frame Problem of AI.Daniel Dennett - 1984 - In Christopher Hookway (ed.), Minds, Machines and Evolution. Cambridge University Press.

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