Essay by Fredriksson & Panizza for the Journal of the British Society for Phenomenology, online in advance of print edition.
Antony Fredriksson and Silvia Panizza – ‘Ethical Attention and the Self in Iris Murdoch and Maurice Merleau-Ponty’: JBSP (Originally published online: 29 October 2020).
Abstract: As attention, in philosophy, is mainly discussed in the philosophy of mind, its ethical aspects have remained relatively unexplored. One notable exception is Iris Murdoch. Another philosopher, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, considers attention to be central for his phenomenology of perception, with important ethical implications. This paper explores the role of attention in ethics by drawing on both Murdoch and Merleau-Ponty and uses the resources they variously offer to address two questions relating to the enigmatic role of the self in attention: how should we understand agency in the attending subject? And: to what extent is the subject responsible for the quality of her attention? Addressing these difficulties about the self is the key to articulating its ethical value, as well as the main apparent difference between the ethical concept and the one in ordinary language and philosophy of mind.
Antony Fredriksson, Centre for Ethics as Study in Human
Value, University of Pardubice, Pardubice, Czechia
Silvia Panizza, School of Philosophy, University College Dublin, Ireland
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