JBSP Online: Diego D’Angelo – William James on Attention

journal update

Available now online, a new article by Diego D’Angelo (Universität Würzburg) for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology.

Diego D’Angelo – ‘William James on Attention. Folk Psychology, Actions, and Intentions’: JBSP (Originally published online: 12 January 2022).

Abstract: This paper addresses three main concerns about William James’s understanding of attention. In the first section, I will consider the question whether or not James’s famous claim that “every one knows what attention is” should be understood as implying that his theory is a folk psychological theory of attention. After arguing against this interpretation, the second part of the paper spells out four main tenets in James’s theory: attention is presented as transcendental, active, structuring, and embodied. Particular emphasis will be laid on the key role of bodily movements. The third and final section draws some conclusions concerning the intentionality of agency. According to James, the genesis of the intentions to act has to be located in attentional movements and comportments towards the surrounding world. At variance with some readings of James as a full-fledged phenomenologist, I suggest to complement his essentially pragmatist approach with the aid of phenomenology as providing useful input for further inquiries.

Full article: https://doi.org/10.1080/00071773.2021.2020596

Diego D’Angelo, Institut für Philosophie, Universität Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

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