Paying Attention: Philosophy and Literature as strong therapy for the Information Age

Dominic Smith (Lead / Corresponding author)

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

    74 Downloads (Pure)


    In a world saturated with information, paying attention is a lot to ask and to offer. This chapter’s aim, however, is to dissent from these rules. If paying attention is in crisis today, the capacity to be silent emerges as both a threat and an opportunity. It is a threat because it stands to let the loudest and most distracting statements and narratives shape the world’s accepted character; it is an opportunity because it allows us to recognise and step outside the terms of the crudely economic grammar. The aim in switching contexts to cognitive psychology is to observe the ways in which the ostensibly everyday grammar of paying attention is trans-disciplinary. The grammar of attention as music is a way of framing attention that has developed, alongside that of ‘paying attention’, as part of what Wittgenstein called the ‘natural history’ of our language, in a kind of ‘counterpoint’ to it.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationWorld Literature and Dissent
    EditorsLorna Burns, Katie Muth
    Place of PublicationAbingdon
    Number of pages15
    ISBN (Electronic)9780203710302
    ISBN (Print)9781138561854 (hbk), 9781138561861 (pbk)
    Publication statusPublished - 3 Sept 2019


    • Philosophy of Technology
    • Literature
    • Attention

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Philosophy


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