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Attention, psychology and pluralism

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Taylor, JH 


There is an overriding orthodoxy amongst philosophers that attention is a ‘unified phenomenon’, subject to explanation by one monistic theory. In this paper, I examine whether this philosophical orthodoxy is reflected in the practice of psychology. I argue that the view of attention that best represents psychological work is a variety of conceptual pluralism. When it comes to the psychology of attention, monism should be rejected and pluralism should be embraced. 1. The Monistic Consensus 2. The Varieties of Pluralism 3. Three Concepts 3.1 Blindsight 3.2 Executive attention 3.3 Alerting 4. Pluralism 4.1 Methodological conceptual pluralism 4.2 Three monist interpretations 5. Philosophical Monism? 6. Conclusion



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British Journal for the Philosophy of Science

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Oxford University Press

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I am grateful to the Royal Institute of Philosophy for a Jacobsen Fellowship, which supported me while research for the paper was carried out , and during the initial writing phase. I am also grateful to the Leverhulme Trust and Isaac Newton Trust for an Early Career Fellowship (ECF-2015-088), which supported me while the paper was revised.