Use this URL to cite or link to this record in EThOS:
Title: The relation between attention and awareness in visual experience
Author: Joseph, Vivan
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 8953
Awarding Body: University of Warwick
Current Institution: University of Warwick
Date of Award: 2015
Availability of Full Text:
Access from EThOS:
Access from Institution:
We can distinguish different forms of attention, for example paying attention to what we are thinking about, paying attention to what we hear, and paying attention to what we see or otherwise visually experience. This thesis is concerned with the form of attention paid to what we visually experience – visual attention. A natural way to think of visual attention is as sufficient for visual awareness: visually attending to an object is sufficient for being visually aware of it. (Plausibly, the relationship is closer. Visual attention is a way of being visually aware.) But we shouldn’t think of visual attention as necessary for visual awareness: we can be visually aware of objects that we are not visually attending to. In this thesis I provide a novel defence of the pre-theoretical conception of visual attention as sufficient, but not necessary, for visual awareness. Some psychologists have interpreted evidence, in particular from experiments involving subjects with blindsight, as proof that visual attention to an object is possible in the absence of any visual awareness of it. I argue we should not think of these results as proving that attention is not sufficient for awareness, but instead see them as motivation for a distinctively philosophical inquiry into the role of visual attention. I examine different explanations of the significance of visual attention for thought and action, ending with my own. Other psychologists have claimed, on the basis of experimental data, that visual attention is necessary for visual awareness. I argue this is inconsistent with the phenomenology of visual experience, and with other experimental data. I conclude that visual attention is sufficient but not necessary for visual awareness.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: BF Psychology