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Conscious attention and demonstrative thought

Williams, TE; (2014) Conscious attention and demonstrative thought. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London). Green open access

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Abstract

This thesis is concerned with the relation between attention and demonstrative thought. It focuses on John Campbell’s view of this relation which he defends in his book Reference and Consciousness and some other work. Campbell’s view is that conscious perceptual attention to an object explains how we are able to think perceptual demonstrative thoughts about that object. I will label this view ‘Campbell’s Thesis’. The main aim of this thesis is to assess Campbell’s Thesis by identifying the issues upon which the question of whether we should accept or reject it turns, and by revealing some of the commitments that must be taken on by those who wish to reject it. The first main claim of this thesis is that Campbell’s own arguments for his thesis are not entirely successful (largely because of his reliance on his notion of ‘knowledge of reference’). The second main claim is whether we should accept or reject Campbell’s Thesis really turns upon: (i) whether conscious perceptual attention is a unified psychological phenomena (I’ll argue there is a strong argument for Campbell’s thesis if this is so); (ii) whether it is acceptable to deny conscious perceptual experience of objects has an explanatory role with respect to our capacities to think perceptual demonstrative thoughts about objects (I’ll argue those who reject Campbell’s Thesis are committed to denying this). I won’t claim to have settled the question of whether we should accept or reject Campbell’s Thesis here. However I will claim to have clarified the issues upon which this question turns and revealed some of the commitments that must be taken on by those who wish to reject Campbell’s Thesis.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: Conscious attention and demonstrative thought
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Arts and Humanities > Dept of Philosophy
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1460054
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