Attunement: On the Cognitive Virtues of Attention

In Social Virtue Epistemology (forthcoming)
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Abstract

I motivate three claims: Firstly, attentional traits can be cognitive virtues and vices. Secondly, groups and collectives can possess attentional virtues and vices. Thirdly, attention has epistemic, moral, social, and political importance. An epistemology of attention is needed to better understand our social-epistemic landscape, including media, social media, search engines, political polarisation, and the aims of protest. I apply attentional normativity to undermine recent arguments for moral encroachment and to illuminate a distinctive epistemic value of occupying particular social positions. A recurring theme is that disproportionate attention can distort, mislead, and misrepresent even when all the relevant claims are true and well supported by evidence. In the informational cacophony of the internet age, epistemology must foreground the cognitive virtues of attunement.

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