Suppose your conscious life were surgically excised, but everything else left intact, what would you miss? In this situation you would not have the slightest idea what was going on. You would have no idea what there is in the world around you; what the grounds are of the potentialities and threats are that you are negotiating. Experience of your surroundings provides you with knowledge of what is there: with your initial base of knowledge of what the things are that you are thinking and talking about. But this connection between consciousness of the objects and properties around you, and knowledge of the references of the basic terms you use, has proven difficult to articulate. The connection cannot be recognized so long as you think of consciousness as a kind of glow with which representations are accompanied or enlivened. It is, though, also possible to think of perceptual experience as fundamentally a relation between the subject and the things experienced; and given such a conception, we can make visible the link between consciousness and reference.
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