Socialized Attention and Situated Agency

Bryce Huebner (Georgetown University)

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Across numerous sub-fields in philosophy, people are beginning to address the impact of evaluative expectations on what we know, and how we experience the world. Philosophers working on pragmatic encroachment, epistemic risk, and cognitive permeation, have all highlighted the social contingency and normativity of human thought. But there’s a great deal of dispute over how evaluative expectations affect cognitive processing, if they actually do. My goal in this paper is to explore a perspective that places evaluative cognition, social scaffolding, and ongoing risk assessment at the center of human cognition, but does so in a way that doesn’t presuppose the more exciting claims of philosophers who defend synchronic forms of cognitive permeation. I build on my earlier argument for the claim that our evaluative attitudes gradually attune to local environmental regularities (Huebner 2015; 2016); but here, I expand on the variety of important (though not exhaustive) roles that culturally learned expectations can play in shaping attentional strategies, producing culturally situated affordances, and constraining judgments about what we should do and how we should act. Continue reading Socialized Attention and Situated Agency