Reading room in a library

Works in progress (2022):

8. Unstructured consciousness.


Conscious experience comes with different kinds of structures: spatial, temporal, subject-object, and also attentional (think of the way attending to someone's voice in a loud party brings her voice "to the foreground" of your experience). But, is conscious experience necessarily so? Is it possible for human beings to have structureless experiences?

7. If attention is graded, can consciousness be all-or-nothing? 


You can pay more or less attention to things (compare: watching a movie while also playing on your phone, as opposed to focusing solely on the movie). Does this mean that you can also be "more" or "less" conscious of things? Or is there, instead, a sharp divide between being conscious of something and not being conscious of it at all? Come to the upcoming Conscious and Unconscious Mind conference to hear more!

6. Mind wandering as diffuse attention. 

Why does mind wandering improve our ability to perceive things in our environment? Shouldn't it have the opposite effect? And what does this have to do with creative thinking? Jocelyn Yuxing Wang and I propose that diffuse attention is the key for answering these questions. This paper was recently presented at SSPP 2022, and will be presented again at the joint meeting of ESPP & SPP 2022.

5. How attention colours our world. 


What does attention do to our experiences of colors? Is it the same thing to make them more vivid, more determinate or more precise? Eliška Šimsová and I discuss these questions on the basis of recent experiments in cognitive psychology. Parts of this paper were also presented at SSPP 2022.

In 2021:

4. Attention and the precision of color perception.

Can attention make us perceive more determinate colors? Can it make these percepts more precise? And what exactly does that mean? This paper was presented at  SSPP 2022Read more here.

>> This paper is a stand-alone presentation of two arguments from Attention, precision and the Content Viewsee below.

3. Attentional enhancement and the contents of consciousness. 

If attention enhances information, and if consciousness requires enhancement of information, then, why sometimes attention can make stimuli disappear from consciousness? Three cases in point are motion-induced blindnessTroxler fading, and the attentional blink. Read my proposed explanation of what is going on in these cases here. 

>> This paper is an abridged version of Vicarious attention, degrees of enhancement and the contents of consciousness - see below.

2. Attention, precision and the Content View.

Examines current empirical evidence for and against the view that attention alters representational content, and concludes that the case is more favourable for the representationalist position, even though there are some important open questions. Coming soon in the volume The Roles of Representations in Visual Perception. 

1. Vicarious attention, degrees of enhancement and the contents of consciousness. 

Surveys current behavioural, neuroscientific and evolutionary evidence that attention is essential for consciousness and explains how this body of findings supports (a) the view that attention is an informational enhancer and (b) the view that informational enhancement is (in different degrees) necessary and sufficient for consciousness. Read this work in Philosophy and the Mind Sciences!

In 2020:

a. Information Gating and the structure of consciousness

Ph.D. dissertation; lays down an unifying model of attention at the sub-personal (neuro-functional) level, and uses this model to throw new light on behavioural studies exploring the relations between attention and consciousness (summary here; full text here).

b.  Metaphysical and modal dependence in priority monism: Two challenges.

M.A. dissertation; assesses the coherence of the view that the whole is more fundamental than its parts, when "the whole" = the entire concrete universe. It raises problems regarding the notions of metaphysical dependence and intrinsicality at work in this view (full text in Spanish here)