Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind by Wilfrid Sellars

By Wilfrid Sellars

An important paintings by means of one in all America's maximum twentieth-century philosophers, Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain is either the epitome of Wilfrid Sellars' complete philosophical procedure and a key record within the heritage of philosophy. First released in essay shape in 1956, it helped result in a sea switch in analytic philosophy. It broke the hyperlink, which had sure Russell and Ayer to Locke and Hume--the doctrine of "knowledge via acquaintance." Sellars' assault at the delusion of the Given in Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain used to be a decisive flow in turning analytic philosophy clear of the foundationalist explanations of the logical empiricists and raised doubts concerning the very concept of "epistemology."

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Impression of . ” were assimilated to such mentalistic contexts as “. . believes . . , ” “. . desires chooses . . ,” in short to contexts which are either themselves ‘propositional attitudes’ or in­ volve propositional attitudes in their analysis. This assim ila­ tion took the form of classifying sensations with ideas or thoughts. Thus Descartes uses the word “thought” to cover not only judgm ents, inferences, desires, volitions, and (occurrent) ideas o f abstract qualities, but also sensations, feelin gs, and images.

On the other hand, the idea that sense contents are theoretical entities is not obviously ab su rd —so absurd as to preclude the above interpretation of the plausibility of the “anotherlanguage” approach. For even those who introduce the ex­ pression "sense content" by means of the context “. . is directly known to be . ” may fail to keep this fact in mind when putting this expression to use —for example, by devel­ oping the idea that physical objects and persons alike are patterns of sense contents.

Of course, if I say “X m erely looks green to S ” I am not only failing to endorse the claim, I am rejecting it. Thus, when I say “X looks green to me now” I am reporting the fact that my experience is, so to speak, intrinsically, as an experience, indistinguishable from a veridical one of seeing that x is green. ' I may have reason to think that x may not after ail be green. " Notice that I w ill only say “I see that x is green” (as opposed to "X is green”) when the question "to endorse or not to endorse” has come up.

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