Sense and consciousness

In New Essays on the Philosophy of Michael Dummett. Atlanta: Rodopi. 195-211 (1998)
Abstract
On a classical conception, knowing the sense of a proposition is knowing its truth-condition, rather than simply knowing how to verify the proposition, or how to find its implications (whether deductive implications or implications for action). But knowing the truth-condition of a proposition is not unrelated to your use of particular methods for verifying the proposition, or finding its implications. Rather, your knowledge of the truth-condition of the proposition has to justify the use of particular methods for verifying it, or finding its implications. And your knowledge of the truth-condition of the proposition has to be what causes your use of particular methods for verifying it or finding its implications. So on a classical picture, we do not appeal to knowledge of sense only in explaining the informativeness of identities. We have to think of knowledge of sense as what causes, and justifies, your use of particular ways of verifying or finding the implications of a proposition. I argue that in the case of a perceptual demonstrative, like 'that star' or 'that mountain', it is conscious attention to the object that causes, and justifies, your use of particular ways of verifying or finding the implications of propositions involving the demonstrative. So conscious attention to the object is what constitutes your grasp of the sense of the demonstrative. This runs counter to the philosophical tradition since Locke, which takes it that the role of experience in understanding has to do solely with the verification of propositions. I argue that once we think of conscious attention as a pre-intentional acquaintance with the object itself, we can see how it is possible to think of understanding as consisting in knowledge of classical truth-conditions
Keywords Consciousness  Sense  Truth Condition  Verification  Dummett, M
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