Aesthetics and Ethics of Attention

Attention is a necessary capacity of our mind; we need it in our everyday life to focus on certain things and withdraw from others in order to effectively navigate our environment. However, as studies have shown, we seem less and less able to concentrate on something and not to get distracted. On average a person checks 74 times a day her email, and each time she checks it, she spends about 32 seconds on average. Especially in western societies attention has become an indispensable resource or currency. Various socio-psychological phenomena such as the rise of Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Burn-Outs or the influence of social media networks such as Instagram or Facebook are just some examples of a general feature of today’s accelerated and condensed life where attention becomes a difficult issue. How do we attend to our environment, to art, to nature, to other people? And why should we attend? Which kinds of attention are there? Apart from focused attention, we know distributed attention, full attention, but also attentiveness, mindfulness, and immersion. At the Departement of Philosophy at the University of Fribourg a team of advanced researchers investigates such issues from various perspectives. The leading project behind that is the SNSF-PRIMA-Project Aesthetics and Ethics of Attention, with Susanne Schmetkamp (PI) and her team. The project collaborates among others with the Chair of Aesthetics and Philosophy of Art of the University of Fribourg, the EXRE research group and the research workshop Aesthetics and Critique.


July 2020 „Modes of Attention”, First Workshop of the Aesthetics & Ethics of Attention Research Project SNSF, MEX (VS), 27.-29.07.2020
More infos here.