Entitled to Attention? Cooperativity, Context, and Standing

Journal of Philosophical Research 47:199-210 (2022)
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Attention is a finite, morally significant good. Attention is a precondition for healthy human relationships, and its absence can wrong others by cutting them off from vital human goods. At the same time, human persons have limited powers of attention. And so the question arises, when does someone legitimately command my attention? In Conversational Pressure, Sanford Goldberg argues that the competent speaker has a default entitlement to normatively expect the addressee to attend, even if only for a short while. If the addressee fails to attend, the speaker is wronged. I argue that the conditions under which attention is owed to another are more restricted than Goldberg allows, and are sensitive to context and standing.

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A. K. Flowerree
Texas Tech University

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