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Attention explains the transition to unlimited associative learning better than consciousness

Authors
  • Montemayor, Carlos1
  • 1 San Francisco State University, 1600 Holloway Avenue, San Francisco, CA, 94132, USA , San Francisco (United States)
Type
Published Article
Journal
Biology & Philosophy
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Publication Date
Mar 17, 2021
Volume
36
Issue
2
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1007/s10539-021-09794-2
Source
Springer Nature
Keywords
License
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Abstract

This commentary focuses on the importance of attention skills in the development of universal associative learning (UAL), and it explains why the centrality of attention in UAL presents a considerable difficulty for the UAL approach. Attentional abilities are not just developmentally related to UAL but are in fact explanatory (or even constitutive) of UAL. The main problem is that all the types of attention involved in UAL can be dissociated from consciousness. This means that while attention skills for UAL might be necessary for consciousness, they are not sufficient because they can all occur unconsciously. Thus, the possibility that UAL capacities might not be sufficient for consciousness cannot be eliminated, thereby challenging the key claim of the UAL approach.

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