What Is the Role of Consciousness in Demonstrative Thought?

Journal of Philosophy 108 (1):5-34 (2011)
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Perception enables us to think demonstrative thoughts about the world around us, but what must perception be like in order to play this role? Does perception enable demonstrative thought only if it is conscious? This paper examines three accounts of the role of consciousness in demonstrative thought, which agree that consciousness is essential for demonstrative thought, but disagree about why it is. First, I consider and reject the accounts proposed by Gareth Evans in The Varieties of Reference and by John Campbell in Reference and Consciousness before offering an alternative proposal of my own. My proposal is that consciousness plays an essential epistemic role in explaining the capacity for demonstrative thought about an object by enabling the subject to form immediately justified beliefs about the object


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Declan Smithies
Ohio State University

Citations of this work

The Role of Consciousness in Grasping and Understanding.David Bourget - 2017 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 95 (2):285-318.
Consciousness and Intentionality.Angela Mendelovici & David Bourget - 2020 - In Uriah Kriegel (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of the Philosophy of Consciousness. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 560-585.
The Limitations of the Open Mind.Jeremy Fantl - 2018 - Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press.
Predication and the Frege–Geach problem.Indrek Reiland - 2019 - Philosophical Studies 176 (1):141-159.
Experience and Evidence.Susanna Schellenberg - 2013 - Mind 122 (487):699-747.

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