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Reference and Consciousness by John Campbell

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By John Campbell

John Campbell investigates how attention of the realm explains our skill to contemplate the realm; how our skill to contemplate items we will be able to see is determined by our capability for awake visible realization to these issues. He illuminates classical difficulties approximately suggestion, reference, and adventure via taking a look at the underlying mental mechanisms on which unsleeping consciousness relies.

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28 What is Knowledge of Reference? Suppose you are shown a diagram with a figure containing a number of loops and an 'X', and you have to determine whether the 'X' is enclosed by the boundaries of the figure. In some cases this will be hard and in some cases it will be easy, but you are always exercising a visual skill. How are we to think of this visual skill? One proposal—from Ullman 1996—is that we think of the operation as involving a kind of 'colouring' process, so that from a given starting point, such as the 'X', there can be a spread of activation to neighbouring places, which stops when a discontinuity is encountered.

That is, your identification of the person about whom you wish to interrogate Sally has to be one that she can use to find the further information you have requested. Not just any way of uniquely identifying the thing you have in mind will do. Likewise, when you instruct Sally to act on a particular individual about whom she has given you information, you have to identify the individual in such a way that Sally can go about acting on that person; not just any way of uniquely identifying the thing will do.

Suppose you have two figures, spatially overlapping and each continuously changing shape. People can track one of the figures, apparently to the exclusion of the other overlapping figure (Neisser and Becklen 1975). Or again, people are better—faster and more accurate—at judging two attributes of a single object than at judging two attributes of different objects (Duncan 1984). Again, suppose subjects are set the task of responding to a central object, while ignoring an object beside it. Interference from the irrelevant object can be increased when it and the target are grouped by Gestalt principles— for example, by moving in the same direction, or by having the same colour (Driver and Baylis 1989; Baylis and Driver 1992).

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