Sellars Week 2 Notes
Introductory comment for IM:
WS loved the
form of organizing our
peculiar genre of creative nonfiction writing.
It contrasts with the
In the former, you don’t know what the main thesis that will be defended is
until the very end.
In the latter, you tell them what you’re going to tell them, tell them, and
then tell them what you’ve told them.
Roughly, IM introduces crucial elements of an
introduces crucial elements of a
Themes for IM:
Inference vs. mere association.
The difference is in part the
inference, about which more in SRLG (plus account there of language-language
Logic, substitution, and form (logical, theological, and geological forms).
Bolzano-Frege method for moving from material goodness of inference to logical
goodness of inference (need a way to identify logical vocabulary: cf. two classical issues
of philosophy of logic).
Materially good inferences essentially depend on the occurrence
of nonlogical vocabulary.
Premises from which to reason vs. Principles in accordance
with which to reason.
Lewis Carroll, Achilles and the Tortoise point on the side of logic.
Its analog for material case.
Subjunctive conditionals, and what they express.
WS’s claim seems to be: need to
proprieties of inference in order to underwrite reasoning from
counterfactual or subjunctive premises.
Q: But why are these different from inferences
underwritten simply by contingent regularities?
be understood as
enthymematic, by supplying so-called (confusingly, in this context) “material”
conditionals (that is, two-valued, classical, truth-functional conditionals).
is the only rule of inference.
That is formally elegant, but implausible for brutes
and children—cf. the attribution of mastery of disjunctive syllogism to dog who sniffs
one fork of a road, not finding what he seeks, and immediately, without checking, dashes
down the other fork.
But the latter
also be understood enthymematically, by
supplying a suitable counterfactual conditional.
What is the difference that makes a
difference between these cases?
Q: What kind of inferentialism is Sellars endorsing?
Candidates include at least
(The last is ruled out by SRLG’s discussion of language
entry and exit transitions.)