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What Is Living and What Is Dead in Attention?

In: Research in Phenomenology
Author:
Michael Marder
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Abstract

The goal of this article is to outline a triangular nexus between life, death, and attention. Not only does the act of attending animate or enliven consciousness in the passage from inactional and indeterminate potentiality to the actional determination of a noema but it also coincides with intentionality, itself the form of life proper to consciousness. Upon outlining the “enlivening” element in attention and the overlap between attention and psychic life as such, I will discuss its deadening aspects understood both in terms of the petrifaction resulting from a fixed, attentive, captivated gaze and, more positively, in terms of the potentiality of the inactional mode, in which consciousness lies dormant.

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