The Owl of Minerva 17 (2):181-194 (1986)
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Hegel introduced the Phenomenology of Mind as a work on the problem of knowledge. In the first chapter, entitled “Sense Certainty, or the This and Meaning,” he concluded that knowledge cannot consist of an immediate awareness of particulars ). The tradition discusses sense certainty in terms of this failure of immediate knowledge without, however, specifically addressing the problem of reference. Yet reference is distinct from knowledge in the sense that while there can be no knowledge of objects without reference, there may be reference without knowledge. If that is the case, then the failure of immediate knowledge does not entitle us to conclude anything about the success or failure of reference. It is not surprising, then, that a few scholars have begun to examine sense certainty primarily as a thesis about reference.



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