The Alien World, Attention and the Habitual

Antony Fredriksson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

This article examines the role of attention in encounters with the unknown. By examining this process of the unknown becoming known through a reading of some seminal works, notably by Merleau-Ponty, Wittgenstein, and Waldenfels, the article focuses on the existentially sig- nificant characteristics of the function of attention that are disclosed by the encounter with an alien environment. Thereby, attention is considered as being neither fully under the control of the subject, nor completely the result of the external conditioning of our sense perception. Rather, attention will be seen to reside within a reciprocal field of tension between the familiar and the alien. This is related to Merleau-Ponty’s concept of ‘intentional arch’, describing the process of transition from the indeterminate to the determinate. Endorsing this account of at- tention will allow us to understand the limits of approaches to enacted and embodied cogni- tion that still understand the process of getting to know something new, and even something alien, as a form of ‘domestication’.

Original languageUndefined/Unknown
Pages (from-to)117–134
JournalPhänomenologische Forschungen
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

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