The Role of Attention in the Perceptual Model of Self-Knowledge

  • Anita Pacholik-Żuromska Instytut Filozofii, Uniwersytet Mikołaja Kopernika w Toruniu
Słowa kluczowe: attention, self-consciousness, introspection, self-knowledge, inner perception


This article is addressed to the problem of the psychological constitution of self-knowledge, considered in the light of its perceptual model. The starting point is the hypothesis that attention, understood here as a psychological element of the mental ability that is self-knowledge, plays an important role in the process of gaining self-knowledge. According to this assumption, we need to build a model of self-knowledge that can adequately explain the path that leads from attention to self-knowledge. Thus the second claim made here is that the perceptual model of self-knowledge can help us with this task. While this model has been criticized in philosophy, the metaphor of the mind's eye has been successfully used in psychology to define a special kind of attention. The perceptual model should explain how it happens that inner mental states to which attention is paid appear in the field of consciousness due to the special kind of self-reflection that stems from the intentional character of consciousness. Paying attention to one's own mental states is understood here as a type of introspection, whereas paying attention to higher-level mental states involves creating compositions from mental and phenomenal components to develop a self-representation of the subject of these states. Observations of one's own mental states constitute the subject of these states, i.e. the self. Introspection is, therefore, a psychological method for exploring self-consciousness that leads to self-knowledge, which is, however, described in philosophical terms. The former is an object of psychological - hence empirical - research; the latter is an object of philosophical consideration. But the question of introspection - and consciousness itself as a basis for gaining self-knowledge - determines the psychological account of self-knowledge. Thus the aim of this paper is to argue that, first, attention is the most important component of inner perception, and second, that attention plays a crucial role in gaining self-knowledge.
Jak cytować
Pacholik-Żuromska, A. (2015). The Role of Attention in the Perceptual Model of Self-Knowledge. Filozofia Nauki, 23(4), 55-69.