The Attention

Brian O'Shaughnessy

in Consciousness and the World

Published in print January 2003 | ISBN: 9780199256723
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191598135 | DOI:
The Attention

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In perception, objects come to the attention. Accordingly, one might come to believe that ‘The Attention’ names the capacity to harbour events of the specific idiosyncratic type, noticing. In fact it signifies an experiential mental space to which objects can come in perception and, which can contain experiences. After all, many mental phenomena other than perception require awareness if they are to so much as exist, e.g. emotion and thought, thanks to being experiences. That experiential space is of limited extent, for at any moment the mind can experience so much and no more. Indeed, the space is no more than the existence of such a limit, and has no autonomous existence other than the fact of that limit, and it is a dangerous illusion to hypostatize the limit as a real space, leading one to misunderstand what it is to experience an experience. Then there is reason for supposing that the experiences of the moment constitute a system. This circle or centre of awareness is the Attention. And it is to this Attention that perceived existents come—as object. This happens when a noticing or perceiving occurs.

Keywords: Attention; awareness; experience; noticing; perception

Chapter.  8150 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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