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About the project

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What is good attention? Much public discussion about social media, public health, and political debates is focused on versions of this question. What deserves our attention and how we should regulate attention in the face of distraction occupies the debate. What is missing is a philosophical investigation of attention norms and a framework for thinking about them. This is what GOODATTENTION provides.


GOODATTENTION integrates research in psychology, neuroscience and linguistics with the philosophical fields of decision theory, epistemology, ethics, and political philosophy. It investigates the cognitive and social mechanisms of norm-guided attention. And it integrates attention into normative philosophy.

Contemporary societies face challenges in organizing and sharing information, in mental health, collective action, and new media landscapes. GOODATTENTION studies normative questions about attention in this context. This study will help to develop principles that can guide legal scholars and policymakers.


Our central hypothesis is that there are substantial and irreducible attention norms. Their study can be a rich philosophical field that intersects with and informs debates in moral philosophy, the theory of rationality, and epistemology. The investigation of attention norms can help integrate research in evolutionary biology, cognitive and social psychology, linguistics, sociology, economics, and political theory.


In our work, we will use the novel priority structure framework (Watzl 2017). By using this tool, we can study how attention norms emerge within our individual psychology and in the social domain. Through the priority structure framework, we can also evaluate attention norms by subjecting them to philosophical scrutiny and by integrating them into normative philosophy.


From 01.09.2021 to 31.08.2026.

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GOODATTENTION: Attention norms and their role in practical reason, epistemology, and ethics - is funded by the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement no. 101003208 (ERC Consolidator Grant 2020).


Published July 13, 2021 12:12 PM - Last modified June 10, 2022 10:21 AM