Budapest, Hungary

The Ethics of Attention

when 1 July 2024 - 5 July 2024
language English
duration 1 week
credits 1 EC
fee EUR 300

This five-day intensive course investigates the ethical dimensions of attention. We live in the attention economy, where attention is commodified and manipulated. Attentional crises abound: big tech, social media, and the pandemic have eroded people’s attentional capacities. Attention, though, is paramount to personal and institutional flourishing. Attending to people, places, and projects is at the heart of love, community, justice, good relationships, creativity, art, education, and mental health. It is also a central, but overlooked, component of justice. We can wrong each other with attention patterns. Improper attention can also create unfair and dangerous social disparities; scientists might overlook medical differences between women and men, for example, and fail to notice this oversight. And yet theorists lack adequate frameworks for conceptualising and assessing this. There is a dearth of research on attention, and the ethics of attention is seldom featured in university courses.

The summer school aims to remedy this. Participants first survey major theories of attention, including Asian philosophy, analytic philosophy, and psychology. They then apply these frameworks to real-life case studies about technology, media, advertising, power, prejudice, bias, colonialism, art, love, religion, self-improvement, mental health, science research, and skepticism about vaccines, pandemics, and climate change.

Course leader

Georgi Gardiner, Philosophy Department, University of Tennessee, Knoxville, USA

Cathy Mason, Department of Philosophy, Central European University, Vienna, Austria

Ella Whiteley, Sheffield Methods Institute, University of Sheffield, UK

Target group

The program encourages applications from students and researchers at the graduate, postdoctoral, and early career levels, in philosophy and related fields, including but not limited to psychology, neuroscience, media, and politics. We particularly welcome individuals with a proposed research project significantly involving the normativity of attention, which they can develop during the course. We also welcome those simply with a keen interest in the ethics of attention. We also invite applications from advanced undergraduate students who have adequate prior study or engagement experience on the subject and make a compelling case in their application/statement of interest. We have a particular interest in encouraging those from the Global South to apply.

Credits info

1 EC
Upon successful completion of the course, a certificate of attendance is also awarded.

Fee info

EUR 300: payable until May 28


The Open Society University Network is offering scholarships on a competitive basis for currently enrolled students and employees of OSUN member institutions. If admitted, fee waivers are available for students of CIVICA institutions.