Functions of Attention workshop

The GoodAttention project is pleased to announce a workshop on the Functions of Attention, 16-17 February, 2024, to be held in Oslo, Norway. Please find details on the workshop and a call for abstracts below. The CFA can also be found on the GoodAttention webpage and on philevents.

Attention has long been a major research focus in cognitive science. While there is a wealth of empirical research on attention, some foundational questions remain unsettled. Recent philosophical work has made progress by advancing accounts of the nature of attention. Philosophers have also recently been engaged with normative questions about attention, including moral, political, epistemic, and rational norms of attention, in connection with recent concerns about the ‘attention economy’ and manipulation of attention in our digital environments.

The goal of this workshop is to contribute to a better understanding of attention by investigating another set of foundational questions, concerning the functions and natural norms of attention. Attention is involved in the operation of various other mental capacities—but how does attention contribute to the functioning of other capacities, and what is the function of attention itself? Prioritizing questions about attentions function can help in developing accounts of its nature; for to understand what a thing is, we will want to know what it does, or what it is for. In addition, identifying the function(s) of attention will enable us to say what it is for attention to function well or poorly as such, or to provide natural norms for attention. This has the potential to ground explanations of what is ‘disordered’ about attention, if anything is, in conditions such as ADHD and addiction. Moreover, considering the function of attention can contribute to an understanding of its natural origins, by identifying the effects that attentional mechanisms have had in evolutionary history for which attention may have been selected.

This workshop will bring together researchers interested in a variety of areas to discuss the functions of attention. The workshop will have a mix of invited and contributed presentations. We invite submissions of abstracts that speak to some aspect of the workshop themes, broadly understood.

Call for Abstracts

We invite submissions of abstracts of no more than 500 words (excluding notes and references), broadly connected to the workshop themes. Presentations will be 30-35 minutes, with 15-20 minutes Q+A, for 50 minutes total.

Abstracts should be prepared for anonymous review. Please remove all identifying information from the abstract, and include a separate title page with presentation title, name, contact email, and institutional affiliation.

Possible topics include, but are not limited to,

  • the function(s) of cognition that involve attention, including but not limited to reasoning, perception, and cognition in non-human animals
  • the natural origins of attentional and other basic cognitive capacities
  • identifying natural norms for attention, and their relation to moral, political, and epistemic norms for attention
  • theories of malfunction in attention, including analyses of disorders such as ADHD and addiction
  • the role of attention in agency, perception, learning, communication, etc.

Please submit abstracts as a word or pdf document to with subject line “Function of Attention Workshop Submission”.

Deadline for submission: 15 October, 2023.

Notification of acceptance: 15 November, 2023.

We would prefer that those giving presentations attend the workshop in person, but an option for remote participation will also be available. Some funds are available to cover accommodation (but not flights) during the workshop for accepted papers. Please contact or for questions concerning travel arrangements.

If you are interested to participate remotely, please contact or for a zoom link.

This workshop is funded by the GoodAttention project (ERC Consolidator Grant 2020, grant agreement no. 101003208)

CFA: Philosophy of Action at 12th Congress of Polish Philosophy

University of Łódź, Polish Philosophical Society and the Committee for Philosophical Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences invite philosophers and philosophy enthusiasts to participate in the XII Polish Congress
of Philosophy, which will be held in September 11-16th, 2023 (on the 100th anniversary of the First Polish Congress in Philosophy).

The section Philosophy of Action especially welcomes submissions that aim to discuss
foundational issues and most recent themes related to action and agency. Rigorous and well-elaborated
300-word abstracts may cover a full range of topics in various perspectives and traditions.

Deadline for submissions: April 15th, 2023 (00:00 CET)
decisions: May 15th,
event: September 11-16th 2023;

Submissions via EasyChair:

Drew and Nimra will present at Practical Mental Representations

ECOM members Nimra Asif and Drew Johnson have been selected to give talks at an upcoming conference titled “Practical Mental Representation” (February 16-17, Chapman University, Orange, CA There were only two slots available for contributed talks! They will both be discussing aspects of Ruth Millikan’s work. The conference will be in hybrid format.

Eiling Offers a Course in Spring: Language and Thought Seminar

Dear ECOM community,

Just trying to get the word out about a seminar that I’ll be holding in the spring (Wed 12:30-3:20) that may be of interest to some in the community. Please feel free to share with anyone who may be interested!

Course Title: (PSYC 5570) Language and Thought: From sound symbolism to abstract concepts

Course Description: How does language shape thought? Are there thoughts that we cannot have without the support of language? Can the language you speak (or sign) affect what and how you think? In this seminar we will explore the relationship between language and thought, touching on topics like sound symbolism (do some sounds naturally tend to be associated with certain meanings?), how labels shape conceptual development (and perhaps help us form concepts we would otherwise not have), and more broadly, linguistic relativity (e.g., the relationship between language and perception).

Time: Wednesdays 12:30-3:20 PM

More info can be found here (and this is a dynamic page which I will be adding more info to).

Happy new year!