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Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention$
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Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haroutioun Haladjian

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780262028974

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: September 2015

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262028974.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM MIT PRESS SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.mitpress.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright The MIT Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in MITSO for personal use.date: 28 September 2021

Conscious Attention

Conscious Attention

(p.141) 4 Conscious Attention
Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention

Carlos Montemayor

Harry Haroutioun Haladjian

The MIT Press

This chapter examines the theoretical possibility of having systematic forms of overlap between consciousness and attention—what has been termed ‘conscious attention.’ This is a possibility that is compatible only with views that dissociate consciousness and attention, but without denying that they can overlap in regular ways. The views that preclude such an overlap are identity theories and full dissociation theories. For identity theories, by assumption, all forms of consciousness are automatically forms of attention. At the opposite end of the spectrum, there is no possible overlap between consciousness and attention for full dissociation theories; although they might seem to occur in tandem, such theories must claim that there are no systematic overlaps between them. In this chapter, several forms of conscious attention are described, including those related to phenomenal experiences, dreams, self-awareness, autobiographical memories, reflexive thoughts, epistemic seeing, and effortless attention. The chapter’s conclusion is that conscious attention is an important form of attention that requires further study and will ultimately help us better understand the purpose of consciousness.

Keywords:   autobiographic memory, conscious attention, dreams, effortless attention, empathic understanding, epistemic traces, phenomenal traces, Proustian flooding, self-awareness, visualization

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