Hi! I'm Carolyn Dicey Jennings.

Philosopher and Cognitive Scientist.

Carolyn Dicey Jennings

About Me

I am Professor of Philosophy and will be visiting Berkeley for Fall 2024, but my home institution is University of California, Merced. My work is based in philosophy, psychology, and neuroscience and aims at understanding the nature of attention and its impact on the mind (e.g. on perception, consciousness, and action). Distinctive about my work is the claim that attention is directed by a subject, or self. I defend this view, for example, in The Attending Mind (CUP 2020): I argue that evidence from neuroscience points to the existence of an emergent subject that directs attention, which I define in natural terms. I also have a long-standing research project that tracks employment for philosophy PhDs, Academic Philosophy Data and Analysis, funded for much of its existence by the American Philosophical Association. Outside of work I am a certified yoga teacher and an uncertified (but keen) gardener. I live with my husband and two dogs in Merced.

Upcoming Talks

"Can Zombies Pay Attention?" Submitted Talk for ASSC, July 2024

"The Attention Mechanism," Invited Talk for AI, Consciousness, and Culture Workshop, April 2025



  • The Attending Mind
  • Introduction
  • The Philosophical Landscape on Attention
  • Attention, Mental Causation, and the Self
  • Attention, Perception, and Knowledge
  • Attention, Consciousness, and Habitual Behavior
  • Attention, Action, and Responsibility
  • Conclusion
  • 2020

    Cambridge University Press
  • Mind, Cognition, and Neuroscience: A Philosophical Introduction
  • Introduction
  • Part 1: Background Knowledge
  • Part 2: Classical Debates
  • Part 3: Consciousness
  • Part 4: Crossing Boundaries
  • Glossary
  • 2022

  • Attention and Mental Control
  • Prologue
  • What is Mental Control?
  • Attention and Mental Control
  • Meditation and Mind Wandering
  • Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
  • The Emergence of Control
  • Epilogue
  • 2022

    Cambridge University Press

Book Reviews

CUP logo

Nico Silins. CUP Review.

“While centered on attention, the self, and action, the breadth of Carolyn Dicey Jennings’ rich work is extraordinary, with important discussions of a wide range of subfields of philosophy (not to mention Cat Power), informed by an uncommon openness to a diverse range of resources in past and present philosophy and psychology.”

Choice logo

J. R. Shook. Choice Reviews.

"In this concise, lucid book … Jennings offers a reconciliation between agent-centered freedom and compatibilism. Philosophical psychology is enriched by this valuable exploration."

Philosophical Review logo

Jesse Prinz. The Philosophical Review.

"Jennings offers fresh perspective on the nature of attention, and its role in meaningful perception, consciousness, action, and responsibility. Each chapter can be read separately, but they hang together well, and each reflects her thesis that attention is essentially linked to the self."

Videos and Papers

Consciousness Live! Interview with Richard Brown on The Attending Mind (Nov. 2019)

Mind, Technology, and Society Talk at UC Merced on The Attending Mind (Sep. 2020)

UC Merced's Faculty Author Series Talk on The Attending Mind (Mar. 2022)

"Does Consciousness Emerge?" Talk at Models of Consciousness Conference, Stanford (Sep. 2022)

Brain Inspired Interview with Paul Middlebrooks on The Attending Mind (Nov. 2022)

Reason Through Interview with Jacob Garcia on The Attending Mind (Dec. 2022)

Idea Cast Interview with Justin McSweeny on Attention and Mental Control (Mar. 2023)

New Books Network Interview with Owen Bennett-Jones on Attention, Technology, and Creativity (Oct. 2023)

Paper Downloads

Consciousness and Mind (forthcoming) Cambridge Handbook of Analytic Philosophy, Cambridge University Press

Attention, Technology, and Creativity (2023) Scenes of Attention: An Interdisciplinary Inquiry, Columbia University Press

Dynamic Attentional Mechanisms of Creativity (2023) Philosophy and the Mind Sciences.

Attention and The Mind (2022), a comic collaboration with Pino Cao on The Attending Mind

Attention and Mental Control (2022) Cambridge University Press

Networks in philosophy: Social networks and employment in academic philosophy (2022) Metaphilosophy

Academic Placement Data and Analysis (APDA) 2021 survey of philosophy Ph.D. students and recent graduates: Demographic data, program ratings, academic job placement, and nonacademic careers (2022) Metaphilosophy

The Racial, Ethnic, and Gender Diversity of Philosophy Students and Faculty in the United States: Recent Data from Several Sources (2021) Philosophical Topics

Attention in Skilled Behavior: an Argument for Pluralism (2021) Review of Philosophy and Psychology

Too much attention, too little self? (2020) Philosophy and Phenomenological Research

Practical Realism about the Self (2020) Common Sense Metaphysics: Themes From the Philosophy of Lynne Rudder Baker

The Diversity and Inclusivity Survey: Final Report (2019) APA Funded Projects

The Diversity and Inclusivity Survey for Philosophy PhD Students and Graduates: Preliminary 2018 Report APA Funded Projects

Toward a Neurophysiological Foundation for Altered States of Consciousness (2018) Brain and Behavioral Sciences

I Attend, Therefore I Am (2017) Aeon

Academic Placement Data and Analysis: 2017 Final Report APA Funded Projects

Women in Philosophy (2017) Public Affairs Quarterly

Action without Attention (2016) Analysis

Academic Placement Data and Analysis: 2016 Final Report APA Funded Projects

Consciousness without Attention (2015) Journal of the American Philosophical Association

Attention and Perceptual Organization (2015) Philosophical Studies

The Standard Theory of Conscious Perception (2015)Proceedings of the Cognitive Science Society

Academic Placement Data and Analysis: 2015 Report Update APA Funded Projects

Academic Placement Data and Analysis: 2015 Final Report APA Funded Projects

Attention by Wayne Wu (2014) Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

The Subject of Attention (2012) Synthese

Inductive Parsimony and the Methodological Argument (2012) Consciousness & Cognition

Properly Pragmatic: A Response to Corns and Campbell (2012) Consciousness & Cognition

The Ego Tunnel by Thomas Metzinger (2010) Journal of Consciousness Studies

It Takes Two: Ethical Dualism in the Vegetative State (2009) Neuroethics

Contact Me

5200 N. Lake Road, Merced CA 95343

Phone: +1 209 600 9654

Email: cjennings3@ucmerced.edu