Routledge (2014)


The phenomenon of attention fascinated the psychologist and philosopher William James and human experience is unimaginable without it. Yet until recently it has languished in the backwaters of philosophy. Recent years, however, have witnessed a resurgence of interest in attention, driven by recognition that it is closely connected to consciousness, perception, agency and many other problems in philosophy of mind and cognitive science. This is the first book to introduce and assess attention from a philosophical perspective. Wayne Wu discusses the following central topics and problems: • a brief history of theories of attention, including the work of William James and founders of experimental psychology such as Wilhelm Wundt • empirical studies of attention - such as the Spotlight Model, Feature Integration Theory and the Biased Competition model of attention - and whether they answer philosophical questions about attention • philosophical accounts of attention, particularly the ‚cognitive unison‘ account and the relationship between attention and consciousness • is attention necessary for perceptual consciousness? Can attention ever be unconscious? • is attention needed for knowledge of the external world? What role does attention play in introspection and self-knowledge? • what role does attention play in bodily action? Can there be 'joint attention' and is this necessary for cooperative behaviour? A central feature of the book is its skilful analysis of empirical work on attention and how this relates to philosophy. Additional features, including chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary makes this an ideal starting point for anyone studying the philosophy of attention for the first time as well as more advanced students and researchers, in psychology and cognitive science as well as philosophy.

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Wayne Wu
Carnegie Mellon University

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Identity-Crowding and Object-Seeing: A Reply to Block.Bradley Richards - 2013 - Thought: A Journal of Philosophy 2 (1):9-19.

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Citations of this work

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