The Underlying Metaphysical Issue

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

The Underlying Metaphysical Issue

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Bradley and James’s disagreement as to how the explanation of attention should proceed can be traced to a disagreement about the metaphysical category in which attention belongs. This chapter gives an account of the distinction between their two rival views of attention’s metaphysical category. James assigns attention to the ‘process-first’ category. Bradley assigns it to the ‘adverbial’ category. The distinction is explained by deriving it from a more fundamental distinction between those taxonomies that classify events on the basis of properties had by the events themselves and those taxonomies that classify events on the basis of properties of the objects that participate in those events. This account enables us to see that Bradley’s claim was distinct from (and explanatorily more consequential than) more recent claims about multiple realizability, natural kinds, and levels of explanation. The chapter concludes by relating this distinction to different claims about attention’s supervenience base.

Keywords: adverbialism; categories; explanation; multiple realizability; natural kinds; supervenience

Chapter.  5216 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy

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