Wilfrid Sellars
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Wilfrid Sellars : Naturalism with a Normative Turn

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Description

The work of the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars continues to have a significant impact on the contemporary philosophical scene. His writings have influenced major thinkers such as Rorty, McDowell, Brandom, and Dennett, and many of Sellars basic conceptions, such as the logical space of reasons, the myth of the given, and the manifest and scientific images, have become standard philosophical terms. Often, however, recent uses of these terms do not reflect the richness or the true sense of Sellars original ideas. This book gets to the heart of Sellars philosophy and provides students with a comprehensive critical introduction to his lifes work. The book is structured around what Sellars himself regarded as the philosophers overarching task: to achieve a coherent vision of reality that will finally overcome the continuing clashes between the world as common sense takes it to be and the world as science reveals it to be. It provides a clear analysis of Sellars groundbreaking philosophy of mind, his novel theory of consciousness, his defense of scientific realism, and his thoroughgoing naturalism with a normative turn. Providing a lively examination of Sellars work through the central problem of what it means to be a human being in a scientific world, this book will be a valuable resource for all students of philosophy.show more

Product details

  • Hardback | 272 pages
  • 154 x 230 x 26mm | 521.64g
  • Polity Press
  • Oxford, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Annotated
  • Revised
  • 0745630022
  • 9780745630021

Review quote

"Besides providing an introduction to Sellars' philosophy, Wilfrid Sellars also provides a succinct and illuminating biographical sketch of a man raised in an intensely intellectual environment." Philosophy Now "I know that a review without any critical comments looks like an apology rather than a real review ... and to my embarrassment, there is little I can say by way of criticism about James O'Shea's book. The depth and colorfulness of the depiction of Sellars' philosophy as presented by O'Shea [is] remarkable." Erkenntnis "Not only does this book present a comprehensive picture of Sellars's philosophical system in its breadth, its depth and subtlety, it does so with a freshness and lucidity that I have not seen before in commentaries on Sellars, including my own." Tom Vinci, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews "A pellucid introduction to the systematic thought of one of the deepest, most important, and least understood of twentieth-century philosophers." Robert Brandom, University of Pittsburgh "Jim O'Shea's compact book is an extremely valuable addition to the burgeoning literature on the philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars, presenting the essential elements of his dialectically intricate work in a relatively brief and eminently readable form. The book offers clear and accessible accounts of many of Sellars' most challenging ideas, embedded in a lucid expository structure that captures and effectively conveys the deeply systematic character of his philosophical vision. O'Shea insightfully traces the implications of Sellars' "naturalism with a normative turn" for the innovative conceptions of meaning, knowledge, representation, and truth in terms of which he undertook to reconcile our "manifest image" of ourselves as unitary subjects of sensation, thought, and action with the continually-developing "scientific image" of a world composed only of imperceptible impersonal entities and forces." Jay F. Rosenberg, University of North Carolinashow more

About James O'Shea

James O'Shea, Lecturer in Philosophy, University College, Dublinshow more

Back cover copy

The work of the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars continues to have a significant impact on the contemporary philosophical scene. His writings have influenced major thinkers such as Rorty, McDowell, Brandom, and Dennett, and many of Sellars basic conceptions, such as the logical space of reasons, the myth of the given, and the manifest and scientific images, have become standard philosophical terms. Often, however, recent uses of these terms do not reflect the richness or the true sense of Sellars original ideas. This book gets to the heart of Sellars philosophy and provides students with a comprehensive critical introduction to his lifes work. The book is structured around what Sellars himself regarded as the philosophers overarching task: to achieve a coherent vision of reality that will finally overcome the continuing clashes between the world as common sense takes it to be and the world as science reveals it to be. It provides a clear analysis of Sellars groundbreaking philosophy of mind, his novel theory of consciousness, his defense of scientific realism, and his thoroughgoing naturalism with a normative turn. Providing a lively examination of Sellars work through the central problem of what it means to be a human being in a scientific world, this book will be a valuable resource for all students of philosophy.show more

Table of contents

Dedication. Preface. Introduction. Chapter One: The Philosophical Quest and the Clash of the Images. The quest for a stereoscopic fusion of the manifest and scientific images. The clash of the images and the status of the sensible qualities. Sensing, thinking, and willing: persons as complex physical systems?. Chapter Two: Scientific Realism and the Scientific Image. Empiricist approaches to the interpretation of scientific theories Sellars' critique of empiricism and his defense of scientific realism. The ontological primacy of the scientific image. Chapter Three: Meaning and Abstract Entities. Approaching thought through language: is meaning a relation?. Sellars' alternative functional role conception of meaning. The problem of abstract entities: introducing Sellars' nominalism. Abstract entities: problems and prospects for the metalinguistic account. Chapter Four: Thought, Language, and the Myth of Genius Jones. Meaning and pattern-governed linguistic behavior. Bedrock uniformity and rule-following normativity in the space of meanings. Our Rylean ancestors and genius. Jones's theory of inner thoughts. Privileged access and other issues in Sellars' account of thinking. Chapter Five: Knowledge, Immediate Experience, and the Myth of the Given. The idea of the given and the case of sense-datum theories. Toward Sellars' account of perception and appearance. Epistemic principles and the holistic structure of our knowledge. Genius Jones act two: the intrinsic character of our sensory experiences. Chapter Six: Truth, Picturing, and Ultimate Ontology. Truth as semantic assertibility and truth as correspondence. Picturing, linguistic representation, and reference. Truth, conceptual change, and the ideal scientific image. The ontology of sensory consciousness and absolute processes. Chapter Seven: A Synoptic Vision: Sellars' Naturalism with a Normative Turn. The structure of Sellars' normative 'copernican revolution.'. Intentions, volitions, and the moral point of view. Persons in the synoptic vision.show more

Rating details

13 ratings
4 out of 5 stars
5 46% (6)
4 15% (2)
3 31% (4)
2 8% (1)
1 0% (0)
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