Consciousness and Reference - Oxford Handbooks
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date: 01 December 2015

Abstract and Keywords

Russell was the first to articulate the connection between consciousness and a recognizably modern conception of reference, using his notion of acquaintance. The idea of ‘acquaintance’ is the idea of a kind of epistemic contact with a thing or property. Many theorists would agree that reference to something requires a particular kind of epistemic contact with it. Yet you might agree that the notion of ‘epistemic contact with a particular’ is needed to characterize reference, while arguing that epistemic contact is to be explained as possession of a body of propositional knowledge.

Keywords: notion of acquaintance, consciousness, reference, epistemic contact, propositional knowledge, knowledge of truth

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