Sellars Week 4 CDCM notes 09-9-25 a

# Sellars Week 4 CDCM notes 09-9-25 a - Brandom Sellars Week...

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Brandom Sellars Week Four “Counterfactuals, Dispositions, and the Causal Modalities” The essay is (as Sellars says in its Introduction) in two parts. I’m not going to say anything about Part One, save for the following observations: 1. Sellars uses Principia Mathematica dot notation in lieu of (most) parentheses, which makes it difficult for us to read today. And his use of it is not flawless. (I think he leaves a dot out of the last formula in §43, for instance.) Bernard Linsky’s Stanford Encyclopedia article on the Notation of PM offers a good primer. 2. He carefully distinguishes between subjunctive conditionals (“if x were [phi]d it would [psi]”) and counterfactual conditionals (“if x had been [phi]d it would have [psi]d”). 3. His analysis of dispositional talk essentially involves distinguishing four kinds of expressions: thing-kinds (sortals, not just predicates, which typically do not take temporal qualifications), conditions (predicates which do take temporal qualifications), interventions ([phi]ing) and results ([psi]). 4. He distinguishes between dispositions and capacities : capacity claims say that there is a condition and an intervention that will have a result, while disposition claims presuppose that the condition obtains. Plan for discussion of Part Two: 1. Sellars’s motivation for his inferentialism (rationalism) concerns the meaning of modal vocabulary. 2. Kant’s insight about concepts that articulate features of the framework of empirical description and explanation. 3. From labeling to describing, by placing labels in a “space of implications”. 4. Those “implications” essentially, and not just accidentally, include material inferential relations that are counterfactually robust , and would be made explicit by the use of modal vocabulary. [From beginning of Ch. 4 of BSD .] 5. The Kant-Sellars thesis about modality 6. Causal vs. logical or metaphysical modalities. (3 waves of modal revolution) 7. Sellars’s CDCM argument as retailed in PIMSAE 8. K-S Thesis Incompatible with Description in Wide Sense? 9. Revision of the argument in terms of pragmatic metavocabularies and pragmatic dependences, MUDs, as in middle of Ch. 4 of BSD . 10. Premises from which to reason vs. Principles in accordance with which to reason 11. Closing sections of CDCM on conceptual change.

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Brandom 1. Sellars: In an autobiographical sketch, Sellars dates his break with traditional empiricism to his Oxford days in the thirties. It was, he says, prompted by concern with understanding the sort of conceptual content that ought to be associated with “ logical, causal, and deontological modalities. Already at that point he says that he had the idea that what was needed was a functional theory of concepts which would make their role in reasoning, rather than supposed origin in experience, their primary feature . 1
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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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Sellars Week 4 CDCM notes 09-9-25 a - Brandom Sellars Week...

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