PSIM passages 09-10-18 f

PSIM passages 09-10-18 f - Sellars: “Philosophy and the...

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Unformatted text preview: Sellars: “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man” Section I: The Philosophical Quest 1) The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term. [369] 2) Philosophy in an important sense has no special subject-matter which stands to it as other subject-matters stand to other special disciplines…. What is characteristic of philosophy is not a special subject-matter, but the aim of knowing one’s way around with respect to the subject-matters of all the special disciplines. [370] [BB: It is not clear how this sits with the distinction between being a researcher (in a special discipline) and being an intellectual (caring about how it all fits together). For, surely, not all intellectuals are philosophers, nor vice versa . One possibility is that he thinks that our research specialty is being intellectuals. But this is not plausible: sociologists, historians, journalist-pundits, culture critics, and so on have an equal claim to that distinction. WS might be thinking of philosophers as exclusively concerned with the cognitive enterprise, allowing intellectuals more generally to worry about, e.g., politics. But this is a pre- Hegelian way of thinking about things that is very implausible. I have my own take on this (cf. “Reason, Expression, and the Philosophic Enterprise”, Ch. 4 of RiP ).] 3) Reflection on any special discipline can soon lead one to the conclusion that the ideal practitioner of that discipline would see his special subject-matter and his thinking about it in the light of a reflective insight into the intellectual landscape as a whole. [370] [BB: Intellectuals vs. researchers.] 4) It is therefore, the ‘eye on the whole’ which distinguishes the philosophical enterprise. [371] [BB: For reasons canvassed above, I think that while this is one of the necessary differentia, it is not sufficient .] 5) For he is confronted not by one picture, but, in principle, by two and, in fact, by many … For the philosopher is confronted not by one complex many-dimensional picture, the unity of which, such as it is, he must come to appreciate; but by two pictures of essentially the same order of complexity, each of which purports to be a complete picture of man-in-the-world, and which, after separate scrutiny, he must fuse into one vision. Let me refer to these two perspectives, respectively, as the manifest and the scientific images of man-in-the-world….. First, by calling them images I do not mean to deny to either or both of them the status of ‘reality’. [372] [BB: The emphasized claim is provocative and puzzling . It is reminiscent of Spinoza’s claim that there are (in principle?) an infinite number of attributes, though only two, thought and extension, are we in a position to discuss in detail. What might the “many” be that Sellars is talking about? What lies methodologically beyond the move from correlational...
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This note was uploaded on 02/15/2012 for the course PHIL 2245 taught by Professor Staff during the Fall '11 term at Pittsburgh.

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PSIM passages 09-10-18 f - Sellars: “Philosophy and the...

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