Attention Is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology by Christopher Mole

Attention Is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical Psychology

byChristopher Mole

Paperback | September 15, 2013

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Some psychological phenomena can be explained by identifying and describing the processes that constitute them. Others cannot be explained in that way. In Attention is Cognitive Unison Christopher Mole gives a precise account of the metaphysical difference that divides these two categories andshows that, when current psychologists attempt to explain attention, they assign it to the wrong one. Having rejected the metaphysical approach taken by our existing theories of attention Mole then develops a new theory. According to this theory the question of whether someone is paying attention is not settled by the facts about which processes are taking place. It is settled by the facts aboutwhether the processes that serve that person's task - whichever processes those happen to be - are processes that operate in unison. This theory gives us a new account of the problems that have dogged debates about the psychology of attention since the middle of the twentieth century. It also givesus a new way to understand the explanatory importance of cognitive psychology's empirical findings. The book as whole shows that metaphysical questions have a foundational role to play in the explanatory project of cognitive psychology. This volume is of interest to anyone engaged in current debates in the philosophy of mind and perception, and in cognitive science generally.

About The Author

Christopher Mole is Associate Professor in Philosophy at University of British Columbia, Vancouver.

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Title:Attention Is Cognitive Unison: An Essay in Philosophical PsychologyFormat:PaperbackDimensions:224 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.68 inPublished:September 15, 2013Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199330301

ISBN - 13:9780199330300

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Table of Contents

1. Highlights of a Difficult History1.1 The Preliminary Identification of Our Topic1.2 Three Approaches1.3 Bradley's Protest1.4 James's Disjunctive Theory1.5 The Source of Bradley's Dissatisfaction1.6 Behaviourism and After1.7 Heirs of Bradley in the Twentieth Century2. The Underlying Metaphysical Issue2.1 Explanatory Tactics2.2 The Basic Distinction2.3 Metaphysical Categories and Taxonomies2.4 Adverbialism, Multiple Realizability, and Natural Kinds2.5 Adverbialism and Levels of Explanation2.6 Taxonomies and Supervenience Relations3. Rejecting the Process First View3.1 Supervenience-Failure3.2 The Modal Commitments of The Process-First View3.3 The Interference Argument - A Putative Problem for Adverbialist Accounts3.4 Conclusion4. Cognitive Unison4.1 Introduction4.2 The Problem with Attitude Based Adverbialism4.3 Gilbert Ryle and Alan White4.4 White's Argument Against Disposition-Based Adverbialism4.5 The Cognitive Unison Theory4.6 Tasks4.7 Cognitive Processes4.8 Potential Service of a Task4.9 Superordinate Tasks4.10 Some Features of the Theory4.11 Divided Attention4.12 Degrees of Attention and Merely Partial Attention4.13 Summary5. The Causal Life of Attention5.1 Mental Causation5.2 How to Respond to Mental Causation Objections5.3 The Causal Role of Attention5.4 Attention as an enabling condition5.5 Counterfactuals5.6 The Causal Relevance of Attention per se5.7 Counterfactuals and Causally Relevant Properties5.8 Objections to Counterfactual Analysis of Causation and of Causal Relevance5.9 The Extrinsicness of Unison5.10 The Privative Character of Unison and The Problem of Absence Causation5.11 Causal Exclusion5.12 Summary6. Consequences for Cognitive Psychology6.1 Psychology and Metaphysics6.2 The Metaphysical Commitments of the Process-Identifying Project6.3 The Diverse Explanatory Construals of Current Psychological Results6.4 Reasons for Deflation6.5 Inductively Unreliable Properties6.6 Questions Without Answers6.7 The Positive Payoff7. Philosophical Work for The Theory of Attention7.1 Putting Attention to Philosophical Work7.2 Attention and Reference7.3 Attention and Consciousness7.4 Prospects for OptimismNotesReferences