Philosophical Psychology 19 (2):129-149 (2006)
This paper examines the status of unattended visual stimuli in the light of recent work on the role of attention in visual perception. Although the question of whether attention is required for visual experience seems very interesting, this paper argues that there currently is no good reason to take a stand on the issue. Moreover, it is argued that much of the allure of that question stems from a continued attachment to the defective ‘inner picture view’ of experience and a mistaken notion that the ultimate goal of vision is to produce visual experience. The paper considers a promising general account of the content and structure of vision and presents reasons for not taking that account to be committed to any substantive claims about the experiential status of unattended visual stimuli. Also addressed are the active nature of vision and the role of vision in enabling our ecological success. These considerations highlight that visual experience is not the whole of vision and that a much more important question about unattended visual stimuli than whether they are consciously experienced is what contribution they make to how we interact with the world.
|Keywords||Action Attention Blindness Content Epistemology Vision|
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