On Perception and Attention

Thom Constable


In this paper I argue that paying attention to an object is a necessary condition of being aware of that object. We can perceive all (or at least most) of the objects within a perceptual field, while only being aware of those objects that are essential to our navigation through the world. We need not only awareness for successful navigation through the world, but also a passive perception that allows us to automatically perceive seemingly unimportant stimuli. Thus, I argue that a successful theory of perception must include an account of perceptual attention.


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University of Victoria