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Abstract: What are the relations between preattentive feature-placing and states of perceptual awareness? For the purposes of this paper, states of "perceptual awareness" are confined to the simplest possible exemplars: states in which one is aware of some aspect of the appearance of something one perceives. Subjective contours are used as an example. Early visual processing seems to employ independent, high-bandwidth, preattentive feature "channels", followed by a selective process that directs selective attention. The mechanisms that yield subjective contours are found very early in this processing. An experiment by Greg Davis and Jon Driver is described; it seems to show that multiple subjective figures can be coded in these preattentive, parallel stages of visual processing. I propose that some of these preattentive states might register the very same differences that, were one aware of them, would be phenomenal differences. Some arguments pro and con on this possibility are assessed
Abstract: The processes whereby our brains continue to learn about a changing world in a stable fashion throughout life are proposed to lead to conscious experiences. These processes include the learning of top-down expectations, the matching of these expectations against bottom-up data, the focusing of attention upon the expected clusters of information, and the development of resonant states between bottom-up and top-down processes as they reach an attentive consensus between what is expected and what is there in the outside world. It is suggested that all conscious states in the brain are resonant states and that these resonant states trigger learning of sensory and cognitive representations. The models which summarize these concepts are therefore called Adaptive Resonance Theory, or ART, models. Psychophysical and neurobiological data in support of ART are presented from early vision, visual object recognition, auditory streaming, variable-rate speech perception, somatosensory perception, and cognitive-emotional interactions, among others. It is noted that ART mechanisms seem to be operative at all levels of the visual system, and it is proposed how these mechanisms are realized by known laminar circuits of visual cortex. It is predicted that the same circuit realization of ART mechanisms will be found in the laminar circuits of all sensory and cognitive neocortex. Concepts and data are summarized concerning how some visual percepts may be visibly, or modally, perceived, whereas amodal percepts may be consciously recognized even though they are perceptually invisible. It is also suggested that sensory and cognitive processing in the What processing stream of the brain obey top-down matching and learning laws that are often complementary to those used for spatial and motor processing in the brain's Where processing stream. This enables our sensory and cognitive representations to maintain their stability as we learn more about the world, while allowing spatial and motor representations to forget learned maps and gains that are no longer appropriate as our bodies develop and grow from infanthood to adulthood. Procedural memories are proposed to be unconscious because the inhibitory matching process that supports these spatial and motor processes cannot lead to resonance
Abstract: The naive realist takes a veridical visual experience to be an immediate relation to external entities. Is this how such an experience is phenomenally, by its phenomenal character? Only if there can be phenomenal error, since a hallucinatory experience phenomenally matching such a veridical experience would then be phenomenally but not in fact such a relation. Fortunately, such phenomenal error can be avoided: the phenomenal character of a visual experience involves immediate awareness of a sort of picture of external entities, as on a representative theory of perception. The attraction of naive realism results from an erroneous projection of the immediacy of the subject's awareness of this picture onto the external entities pictured.
Abstract: This somewhat odd paper argues against a representational view of visual experience using an intricate "inversion" type thought experiment involving double vision: two subjects could represent external space in the same way while differing phenomenally due to different "spread" in their double images. The spatial structure of the visual field is explained not by representation of external space but functionally, in terms of the possible locations of an attentional spotlight.
I'm fond of the ideas in this paper but doubt I'll be returning to it soon.
Abstract: Before a general cognitive model for recurrent complex visual hallucinations (RCVH) is accepted, there must be more research into the neuropsychological and cognitive characteristics of the various disorders in which they occur. Currently available data are insufficient to distinguish whether the similar phenomenology of RCVH across different disorders is in fact produced by a single or by multiple cognitive mechanisms
Abstract: _The Sub ject of Con scious ness_ is a rich, strik ingly orig i nal and ambi tious work. It makes an impor tant and timely con tri bu tion to cur rent debates on a num ber of issues which over the last few years have been tak ing cen tre stage in the phi los o phy of mind: for exam ple, self-consciousness, selec tive atten tion and the nature of bodily aware ness. What makes this achieve ment some what unusual, and all the more remark able, is that _The Sub ject of Con scious ness_ was pub lished thirty years ago (Evans, 1970). The reviews it received at the time ranged from the hos tile to the deri sory
Abstract: Perceptual attention is essential to both thought and agency, for there is arguably no demonstrative thought or bodily action without it. Psychologists and philosophers since William James have taken attention to be a ubiquitous and distinctive form of consciousness, one that leaves a characteristic mark on perceptual experience. As a process of selecting specific perceptual inputs, attention influences the way things perceptually appear. It may then seem that it is a specific feature of perceptual representation that constitutes what it is like to consciously attend to an object. In fact conscious attention is more complicated. In what follows, I argue that the phenomenology of conscious attention to what is perceived involves not just a way of perceptually locking on to a specific object. It necessarily involves a way of cognitively locking on to it as well.
Abstract: I argue that when perception, indeed perceptual attention, plays a guiding role in intentional bodily action, it is a necessary part or constituent of that action. The argument begins with a challenge that necessarily arises for embodied agents, what I call the Many-Many Problem: in the context of action, agents face too many perceptual inputs and too many possible behavioral outputs. Action requires that the Many-Many Problem be solved by reducing the many-many set of options to a specific mapping between target and response. Throughout the execution of action, the agent must continue to perceptually select, and hence attend to, relevant information so as to guide the execution of specific movements. Since perceptual attention is a necessary part of solving the Many-Many Problem, it is a necessary part of action. Indeed, the whole of the process of implementing a solution to the Many-Many Problem, as constrained by the agent’s motivational state, just is the agent’s acting in a bodily way.