CFA: Mind and Attention in Indian and Contemporary Western Philosophy

Conference date: September 21-22, 2013. Harvard
University.

Submission due
date: March 30, 2013

The goal of the workshop is to bring into focus philosophical work
in Indian traditions that address the role of attention of all kinds in mental
life. Papers should address any of the following questions in the context of
Indian philosophy:

  • What factors determine how the stream of consciousness unfolds?
  • By what processes do we bring a subject-matter (an external item, or an idea) into focus? 
  • What factors can determine what the mind is focused on?
  • What kinds of things can be attended to?
  • What is the role of attention in mediating between sensation and cognition?
  • How are capacities for attention related to other capacities such as perception or skills?
  • What
    is the role of considerations about attention or the directing or
    redirection of the mind in arguments for or against the permanence of
    inanimate objects?
  • What kinds of methods can be used to redirect attention or mental focus?
  • What are the practical, epistemic, and ethical benefits or drawbacks of redirecting attention?
  • What is the role of attention in mediating between sensation and cognition?
  • Can attention or focusing capacities be trained? If so, how? What are the upshots and the significance of such training?
  • Are
    subjects necessarily aware of how their attention is directed? Can they
    become aware of it? If so, what is the nature of this form of
    awareness? What role does it play in redirecting attention or the
    development of the capacity for attention?

Accepted papers must discuss at least some of these questions. Submissions should be a précis of a paper indicating which questions will be
addressed and how. Maximum length: 1000 words. Please include a cover sheet
identifying which questions your submissions addresses.

Sessions will include 45 minutes for presentation of the main paper,
15 minutes for a commentary, and the rest of the time for discussion. The end
of the workshop will feature a round-table discussion.

If your submission is accepted, you will be assigned a commentator.
Full drafts of papers (or handouts or slides) are due to the commentator by
late August.

Submissions by graduate students and early career scholars are
especially encouraged. Funding for travel and lodging will probably be
available for every speaker, and will definitely be available for graduate
students. If your submission is accepted, we will have more information about funding
at the time of acceptance.

In addition to speakers and commentators, the workshop will feature
a number of Participants-At-Large, including Ned Block (NYU), Alex Byrne (MIT),
David Chalmers (NYU), Christain Coseru (Charleston), Imogen Dickie (Toronto),
Jonardon Ganeri (Sussex), Sheridan Hough (Charleston), Sharon Street (NYU), and
John Taber (New Mexico).

Organized by: Susanna Siegel (Philosophy, Harvard), Parimal Patil (Religion
and South Asian Studies, Harvard), and Sebastian Watzl (Centre for the Study of
Mind in Nature, Oslo).

Submission due
date: March 30, 2013.
Submissions should be sent by email to all three organizers:

  • Susanna Siegel               ssiegel
    <at sign> fas.harvard.edu
  • Parimal Patil                    ppatil
    <at sign> fas.harvard.edu
  • Sebastian Watzl              sebastian
    dot watzl <at sign> csmn.uio.no