Highlights of a Difficult History

Christopher Mole

in Attention Is Cognitive Unison

Published in print December 2010 | ISBN: 9780195384529
Published online May 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780199872817 | DOI:

Series: Philosophy of Mind Series

Highlights of a Difficult History

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Chapter 1 traces the history of a disagreement about the sort of explanation that should be given for attention. The history begins with F. H. Bradley’s 1886 complaint that his contemporaries has made a mistake when they attempted to explain attention by identifying the processes that constitute it. The metaphysical point underlying Bradley’s complaint got lost in his subsequent debate with William James. For various reasons it remained out of sight in the twentieth century, when attention became established as a central explanandum for cognitive psychology. Twentieth-century proposals along the lines made by Bradley can be found in some of the philosophical work responding to the treatment of ‘heed concepts’ in Gilbert Ryle’s 1949 The Concept of Mind, but the question of how these philosophical proposals should be integrated with psychological research has remained unasked.

Keywords: attention; F. H. Bradley; William James; explanation; metaphysics; Gilbert Ryle

Chapter.  9934 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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