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Amijee, Fatema, , . The Role of Attention in Russell’s Theory of Knowledge
2013, British Journal for the History of Philosophy 21 (6):1175-1193.
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Added by: Chris Blake-Turner, Contributed by: Dominic Alford-Duguid

Abstract: In his Problems of Philosophy, Bertrand Russell distinguished knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge of truths. This paper argues for a new interpretation of the relationship between these two species of knowledge. I argue that knowledge by acquaintance of an object neither suffices for knowledge that one is acquainted with the object, nor puts a subject in a position to know that she is acquainted with the object. These conclusions emerge from a thorough examination of the central role played by attention in Russell’s theory of knowledge. Attention bridges the gap between knowledge by acquaintance and our capacity to form judgements about the objects of acquaintance.

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Masuda, Takahiko, , others. Culture and aesthetic preference: comparing the attention to context of East Asians and Americans
2008, Personality and social psychology bulletin 34(9): 1260-1275.
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Added by: Simon Fokt, Contributed by:

Abstract: Prior research indicates that East Asians are more sen- sitive to contextual information than Westerners. This article explored aesthetics to examine whether cultural variations were observable in art and photography. Study 1 analyzed traditional artistic styles using archival data in representative museums. Study 2 investigated how contemporary East Asians and Westerners draw landscape pictures and take portrait photographs. Study 3 further investigated aesthetic preferences for portrait photographs. The results suggest that (a) traditional East Asian art has predominantly context-inclusive styles, whereas Western art has predominantly object- focused styles, and (b) contemporary members of East Asian and Western cultures maintain these culturally shaped aesthetic orientations. The findings can be explained by the relation among attention, cultural resources, and aesthetic preference.

Comment: This text is an excellent example of experimental aesthetics and psychology of art: it presents evidence that what seems natural or aesthetically pleasing can differ across cultures. This makes it useful in classes focusing on non-Western art or on the universality vs. relativity of taste. Since the text is focused on the psychology, it will likely be best used as a background reading alongside more philosophical works.

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