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Hardcover | $42.00 Short | £34.95 | 296 pp. | 6 x 9 in | 10 b&w illus. | April 2015 | ISBN: 9780262028974
eBook | $30.00 Short | April 2015 | ISBN: 9780262327480
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Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention

Overview

In this book, Carlos Montemayor and Harry Haladjian consider the relationship between consciousness and attention. The cognitive mechanism of attention has often been compared to consciousness, because attention and consciousness appear to share similar qualities. But, Montemayor and Haladjian point out, attention is defined functionally, whereas consciousness is generally defined in terms of its phenomenal character without a clear functional purpose. They offer new insights and proposals about how best to understand and study the relationship between consciousness and attention by examining their functional aspects. The book’s ultimate conclusion is that consciousness and attention are largely dissociated.

Undertaking a rigorous analysis of current empirical and theoretical work on attention and consciousness, Montemayor and Haladjian propose a spectrum of dissociation—a framework that identifies the levels of dissociation between consciousness and attention—ranging from identity to full dissociation. They argue that conscious attention, the focusing of attention on the contents of awareness, is constituted by overlapping but distinct processes of consciousness and attention. Conscious attention, they claim, evolved after the basic forms of attention, increasing access to the richest kinds of cognitive contents.

Montemayor and Haladjian’s goal is to help unify the study of consciousness and attention across the disciplines. A focused examination of conscious attention will, they believe, enable theoretical progress that will further our understanding of the human mind.

About the Authors

Carlos Montemayor is an Associate Professor of Philosophy at San Francisco State University.

Harry Haroutioun Haladjian is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Laboratoire de Psychologie de la Perception, Université Paris Descartes.

Endorsements

“Easily the most impressive, judicious, and comprehensive presentation of the latest empirical and theoretical work about consciousness, attention, and the relation between them. After showing that attention and consciousness occur largely independently of one another, the authors develop a challenging original account of why attention does sometimes occur consciously. This is required reading for anybody interested in consciousness or attention.”
David Rosenthal, Professor of Philosophy and Coordinator of Cognitive Science, Graduate Center, City University of New York; author of Consciousness and Mind
Consciousness, Attention, and Conscious Attention is a useful addition to the growing cross-disciplinary research on the mind. Montemayor and Haladjian apply empirical findings in attention research to philosophical questions about consciousness. Their proposed dissociation of attention from consciousness offers a new perspective on debates about phenomenal and access consciousness, higher-order theory, self-awareness, and the function of consciousness.”
Paula Droege, Pennsylvania State University; author of Caging the Beast: A Theory of Sensory Consciousness
“Montemayor and Haladjian provide a nuanced and layered analysis of the relationship, and dissociation, between attention and consciousness that is of great value to the field of consciousness research.”
Jeroen J.A. van Boxtel, Associate Professor in Cognitive Neuroscience, Monash University