Skip to main content
padlock icon - secure page this page is secure

Attention as Experience: Through 'Thick' & 'Thin'

Buy Article:

$22.62 + tax (Refund Policy)

Is our experience of the world 'rich' or 'thin'? In other words, are we aware of unattended sensory stimuli, or are the contents of our consciousness constrained by what we attend to? A recent, ingenious, attempt to address this issue offers us a seemingly unavailable, 'moderate' option; our experience is somewhere between the two. But before we make our minds up about this conclusion, we should see that it resulted from conflating two ways of construing the relevant concepts. I claim that, one way of reading 'rich' vs. 'thin', echoes the psychologists' distinction between 'early' vs. 'late' accounts of selective attention, and I argue that 'perceptual load theory', a recent response to this empirical issue, offers us a satisfying solution to our philosophical problem. Ultimately, we are only aware of what we attend to, so we can conclude that our experience of the world is philosophically 'thin'. Nonetheless, the second way of reading 'rich' vs. 'thin' relates to the range of sensory stimuli that we can be aware of. I claim that this range depends upon the attentional load that our sensory systems are placed under. The 'moderate' position, then, merely marks out one possible degree of sensory awareness on a continuum that runs from 'rich' to 'thin'.
No References
No Citations
No Supplementary Data
No Article Media
No Metrics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Email: [email protected]

Publication date: January 1, 2010

  • Access Key
  • Free content
  • Partial Free content
  • New content
  • Open access content
  • Partial Open access content
  • Subscribed content
  • Partial Subscribed content
  • Free trial content
Cookie Policy
Cookie Policy
Ingenta Connect website makes use of cookies so as to keep track of data that you have filled in. I am Happy with this Find out more