Sellars Intro plan 09-9-2 m

Sellars Intro plan 09-9-2 m - Brandom Sellars Intro Plan On...

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Brandom Sellars Intro Plan On the 20 th anniversary of his death in 1989 1. Claim: Wilfrid Sellars is the greatest American philosopher of the 20 th century. Put this way, Brits are out of contention (Russell etc.), as are Germans and Austrians (Wittgenstein, Heidegger, Carnap). Competitors might be: a) Dewey b) Quine c) Davidson d) Kripke e) David Lewis f) Rawls 2. Q: Why? A: a) He was essentially alone in his generation (and among the contestants above) in his deep knowledge of and the importance he attached to the history of philosophy. The world- spirit is moving his way. b) He was essentially alone in his generation (and among the contestants above) in his systematic ambitions (“the synoptic vision”). Davidson and Lewis ended up being systematic philosophers, but it was a surprise to them that things evolved that way. (The same could be said of Searle, and maybe Quine.) Again, there is at least hope that Sellars was ahead of his time in this respect. c) His aim was, he said, “to move analytic philosophy from its Humean into its Kantian phase.” This is a move beyond empiricism and naturalism (as it were, from logical empiricism to logical kantianism ). Rawls, too, with Strawson, contributed greatly to the reappropriation of Kant by the analytic tradition. It is easy to forget that Kant was anathema to the founders of the analytic movement. To Russell and Moore, not to mention later folks like Ayer and Quine, he was where the idealist rot set in. (Kripke is an interesting exception—but he’s never written about Kant, and it’s a good question what he understands of him.) They saw, I think correctly, that one could not open the door wide enough to let Kant in, and shut it quickly enough to keep Hegel out. Sellars is officially, and in fact, on the Kant side of the Kant/Hegel divide, but has serious Hegelian sympathies. Rorty describes me as aiming to move analytic philosophy from its incipient Kantian to its inevitable Hegelian phase. d) It is above all Sellars’s appreciation of Kant’s lesson about the essentially normative character of intentionality—of mind, meaning, and rationality—that sets him apart from his (20 th century) cohort. [Tell my Kant story in brief, from first Woodbridge lecture (in RiP ).] Wittgenstein, too, appreciated this point, as Sellars acknowledges. The transition to a “Kantian phase of analytic philosophy” is the replacement of a cartesian framework with a
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Brandom kantian one, from certainty to necessity , from mind/body problem to prescription/description or norm/fact problem 3. Aim of the course: to try to see how Sellars views, in the largest sense of the term, hang together, in the largest sense of the term. 4.
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Sellars Intro plan 09-9-2 m - Brandom Sellars Intro Plan On...

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