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Attention Is Cognitive UnisonAn Essay in Philosophical Psychology$
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Christopher Mole

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780195384529

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: May 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195384529.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 05 August 2021

Consequences for Cognitive Psychology

Consequences for Cognitive Psychology

(p.117) 6 Consequences for Cognitive Psychology
Attention Is Cognitive Unison

Christopher Mole (Contributor Webpage)

Oxford University Press

Cognitive psychology’s attempts to explain attention typically proceed via experiments intended to identify the processes that constitute attention’s simplest instances. They therefore carry commitments concerning attention’s metaphysics. The cognitive unison theory entails that those commitments are mistaken and that the explanatory import of psychology’s discoveries needs to be reconstrued. This does not require the unison theorist to argue against a well-established orthodoxy. In fact, there is no established orthodoxy among psychologists as to how the explanatory import of process-identifying research should be understood. Psychologists agree that attention cannot be identified with a particular localizable brain process, but they take a variety of positions on what the attention/brain-process relation is. The unison theory’s account of that relation diagnoses errors in certain methodologies (since it entails that process-level properties are poor inductive properties of attention), but it returns a positive verdict on work that attempts to explain attention by reference to mechanisms of biased competition.

Keywords:   biased competition, cognitive psychology, explanation, induction, metaphysics

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