Attention is a fundamental feature of the mind yet has languished in the backwaters of philosophy. Recent years, however, have witnessed a resurgence of philosophical interest in attention, driven by recognition that it is closely connected to consciousness, perception, agency, thought, justification and introspection. As is becoming clear, attention has a rich philosophical significance.
This is the first book to provide a systematic overview and assessment of different empirical and philosophical aspects of attention. Wayne Wu discusses the following central topics and problems:
major experiments and theories of attention in psychology since the 1950s
the neuroscience of attention, including basic mechanisms and models
attention's intimate relation to agency
the phenomenology of attention
attention as a gatekeeper for consciousness
attention as the basis for perception-based thought about objects
the role of attention in the justification of belief
attention in introspection of consciousness.
A key feature of the book is its skilful analysis of the empirical work on attention, and how this relates to philosophy. Additional features include chapter summaries, annotated further reading and a glossary, making this an ideal starting point for anyone studying attention for the first time, as well as being suitable for more advanced students and researchers in psychology, cognitive science, and philosophy.
Wayne Wu is Associate Professor in and Associate Director of the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, Carnegie Mellon University, USA.
Introduction 1. The Psychology of Attention 2. The Neuroscience of Attention 3. Attention and the Metaphysics of Agency 4. Attention and Phenomenology 5. Attention as the Gatekeeper of Consciousness: Inattentional Blindness 6. Attention as the Gatekeeper of Consciousness: Cognitive Access 7. Attention and Demonstrative Thought 8. The Epistemic Role of Attention Conclusion Appendix: Shannon Information Theory. Index