The phenomenology of embodied attention

  • Diego D’AngeloEmail author


This paper aims to conceptualize the phenomenology of attentional experience as ‘embodied attention.’ Current psychological research, in describing attentional experiences, tends to apply the so-called spotlight metaphor, according to which attention is characterized as the illumination of certain surrounding objects or events. In this framework, attention is not seen as involving our bodily attitudes or modifying the way we experience those objects and events. It is primarily conceived as a purely mental and volitional activity of the cognizing subject. Against this view, the phenomenology of Maurice Merleau-Ponty shows that attention is a creative activity deeply linked with bodily movements. This paper clarifies and systematizes this view and brings it into dialogue with current empirical findings as well as with current theoretical research on embodied cognition. By doing this, I spell out three main claims about embodied attention: the transcendentalism of embodiment for attention, the bodily subjectivity of attention, and the creativity of embodied attention.


Phenomenology Embodiment Enactivism Attention Merleau-Ponty 



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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institut für PhilosophieUniversität WürzburgWürzburgGermany

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