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In my Ph.D. dissertation I address two clusters of questions:

  • What is attention? Is there any hope for finding a neuronal or functional essence of attention? Is there any hope for finding a factor that unifies the attentional mechanisms currently explored by the empirical sciences?

  • How is attention related to consciousness? Is attention in a special relation to consciousness, perhaps of a constitutive kind? How can we use what we know of attention to make progress in the empirical investigation of consciousness? How are the things we attend to related to the things we consciously experience?

Highlights:

  • Attention can be conceptualised as an operation on information, which results on representations that are improved with respect to specific goals. This might give us at least the starting point for articulating an essence of attention and a unifying basis for the known attentional correlates. 

  • Attention is a more ubiquitous process than it is often thought to be. In fact, we have reason to consider attention as the most fundamental mental act.​

  • There are kinds of attention that are sufficient for consciousness, and there are kinds of attention that are necessary for consciousness. In virtue of this, the empirical study of attention might indeed stand in a privileged position with respect to the empirical study of consciousness.

If you are interested, you can find the full text here.