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.
MIT Press Scholarship Online requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books within the service. Public users can however freely search the site and view the abstracts and keywords for each book and chapter.
If you think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.
To troubleshoot, please check our FAQs, and if you can't find the answer there, please contact us.