Reference and Consciousness

Paperback | August 7, 2003

byJohn Campbell

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What explains our ability to refer to the objects we perceive? John Campbell argues that our capacity for reference is explained by our capacity to attend selectively to the objects of which we are aware; that this capacity for conscious attention to a perceived object is what provides uswith our knowledge of reference. When someone makes a reference to a perceived object, your knowledge of which thing they are talking about is constituted by your consciously attending to the relevant object. Campbell articulates the connections between these three concepts: reference, attentionand consciousness. He looks at the metaphysical conception of the environment demanded by such an account, and at the demands imposed on our conception of consciousness by the point that consciousness of objects is what explains our capacity to think about them. He argues that empirical work on thebinding problem can illuminate our grasp of the way in which we have knowledge of reference, supplied by conscious attention to the relevant object.Reference and Consciousness illuminates fundamental problems about thought, reference, and experience by looking at the underlying psychological mechanisms on which conscious attention depends. It is an original and stimulating contribution to philosophy and to cognitive science.The Oxford Cognitive Science Series is a forum for the best contemporary work in this flourishing field, where various disciplines - cognitive psychology, philosophy, linguistics, cognitive neuroscience, and computational theory - join forces in the investigation of thought, awareness,understanding, and associated workings of the mind. Each book will constitute an original contribution to its subject, but will be accessible beyond the ranks of specialists, so as to reach a broad interdisciplinary readership. The series will be carefully shaped and steered with the aim ofrepresenting the most important developments in the field and bringing together its constituent disciplines.General Editors: Martin Davies, James Higginbotham, Philip Johnson-Laird, Christopher Peacocke, Kim Plunkett

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What explains our ability to refer to the objects we perceive? John Campbell argues that our capacity for reference is explained by our capacity to attend selectively to the objects of which we are aware; that this capacity for conscious attention to a perceived object is what provides uswith our knowledge of reference. When someone ...

John Campbell is Wilde Professor of Mental Philosophy at Oxford University.

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:280 pages, 9.21 × 6.14 × 0.63 inPublished:August 7, 2003Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0199243816

ISBN - 13:9780199243815

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Table of Contents

Introduction1. Experiential Highlighting2. What is Knowledge of Reference?3. Space and Action4. Sortals5. Sense6. The Relational View of Experience7. The Explanatory Role of Consciousness8. Joint Attention9. Memory Demonstratives10. The Anti-Realist Alternative11. Indeterminacy and Inscrutability12. Dispositional vs. CategoricalBibliographyIndex

Editorial Reviews

`It is one of the book's many merits that it opens up exciting and profitable alternatives to the proliferation of thought-experiments about the ineffable which many philosophers are starting to think of as the cul-de-sac of consciousness.'The Philosophical Quarterly