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Meditative Attention to Bodily Sensations: Conscious Attention without Selection?

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Prominent figures in the philosophical literature on attention hold that the connection between attention and selection is essential (Mole, 2011), necessary (Wu, 2011; 2014), or conceptual (Smithies, 2011). I argue that selection is neither essentially, necessarily, nor conceptually tied to attention. I first isolate the target conception of selection that I deny is so tightly coupled with attention: graded intramodal selection within consciousness. I analyse two visual cases: analysis of the first case shows that there can be attention without a connection to tasks or action; analysis of the second case shows that there can be attention without a phenomenal foreground/background structure. Finally, I extend the argument into the domain of the body by considering a form of meditative absorption in body sensations to recapitulate the conclusions drawn from the two visual cases.

Keywords: attention; bodily sensation; meditative attention; selection

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Department of Philosophy, Ashoka University, Sonipat, Haryana, India., Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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