Attention & inscrutability: A commentary on John Campbell, Reference and Consciousness for the Pacific APA meeting, pasadena, california, 2004

Philosophical Studies 127 (2):167-193 (2006)
We assemble here in this time and place to discuss the thesis that conscious attention can provide knowledge of reference of perceptual demonstratives. I shall focus my commentary on what this claim means, and on the main argument for it found in the first five chapters of "Reference and Consciousness". The middle term of that argument is an account of what attention does: what its job or function is. There is much that is admirable in this account, and I am confident that it will be the foundation, the launching-pad, for much future work on the subject. But in the end I will argue that Campbell's picture makes the mechanisms of attention too smart: smarter than they are, smarter than they could be. If we come to a more realistic appraisal of the skills and capacities of our sub-personal minions, the "knowledge of reference" which they yield will have to be taken down a notch or two
Keywords Attention  Classification  Knowledge  Metaphysics  Reference  Visual  Campbell, John
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Austen Clark (2000). A Theory of Sentience. New York: Oxford University Press.

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