Attention must be paid!
As with every issue of The Hedgehog Review, this one focuses onone big thing: the state of our minds, and particularly attention, and how its condition—parlous, many say, or at least diminished—can be understood as a symptom of much larger cultural predicament. We realize there are other ways of approaching attention. One might go at it with a psychological, neurological, or medical focus, for example, or in relation to technology and the new media. While not ignoring the yield of such approaches, our authors aim to explore the ways in which modern culture—from its origins in early modern science and the Enlightenment up to its current enchantment with neuroscience and its attempts to reduce all things mental to a biological substrate—has shaped our fundamental understandings of the mind, and of the mind’s relationship to the world around it. These transformed understandings, our authors show, have in turn affected what might be called the human practices of attention, which are instilled and cultivated throughout our culture: in our families and communities, in our schools and universities, in our work and leisure and consumer activities. If we are what we eat, we are no less what we attend to. Given its importance, attention rightly merits broad humanistic treatment. We need a metaphysics, aesthetics, and ethics of attention as well as a political economy and ecology of attention. Laying the groundwork for such treatment is precisely what our authors seek to do