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Dissertation/Thesis Abstract

The Significance of Attention
by Watzl, Sebastian, Ph.D., Columbia University, 2010, 359; 3447994
Abstract (Summary)

This dissertation investigates the nature, the phenomenal character and the philosophical significance of attention. According to its central thesis, attention is the ongoing mental activity of structuring the stream of consciousness or phenomenal field. The dissertation connects the scientific study of attention in psychology and the neurosciences with central discussions in the philosophy of mind. Once we get clear on the nature and the phenomenal character of attention, we can make progress toward understanding foundational issues concerning the nature and the structure of conscious mentality itself. We understand better how consciousness is connected to self-awareness and to agency, and we get a better grip on the nature of perceptual experience, the unity of consciousness, and its subjective character. The dissertation also aims at showing that the current empirical investigation of attention should be complemented with work at the level of generality that a philosophical analysis can provide; it shows how such an analysis is relevant for the scientific study of attention by providing a new conceptual framework and suggesting several new areas of research.

Indexing (document details)
Advisor: Peacocke, Christopher
School: Columbia University
School Location: United States -- New York
Source: DAI-A 72/05, Dissertation Abstracts International
Subjects: Neurosciences, Psychobiology, Philosophy, Cognitive psychology
Keywords: Activity, Agency, Attention, Consciousness, Perceptual experience, Salience, Self-awareness, Self-consciousness, Structure
Publication Number: 3447994
ISBN: 978-1-124-53540-1
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