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Sellars Week 7 AE Plan 09-10-14 l

Sellars Week 7 AE Plan 09-10-14 l - Brandom Sellars Week...

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Brandom Sellars Week 7 “Abstract Entities” Plan 1. Intro: a) Our aim: Kant [A 314?] and Hegel on understanding a philosopher better than he understands himself. T.S. Eliot: “We know so much more than the dead authors.” “Yes, and they are what we know.” (From “Tradition and the Individual Talent”). b) The 4 years (1959-1963) during which Sellars did this work, at the end of the magical period 1956-1963. c) Contemporary work on universals is mostly downstream from David Armstrong’s 1978 Universals and Scientific Realism and his 1989 Universals: An Opinionated Introduction , which does not discuss Sellars’s views (he is mentioned once, in passing). Contemporary trope theory reaches its acme with Mormann’s group in Munich, in their use of mathematical sheaf theory to formulate trope theory. (See John Bacon’s article in the Stanford Encyclopedia.) Sellars and his views are, as far as I can see, totally ignored in the contemporary discussions. An interesting enterprise would be to bring his apparatus to bear on the issues of universals as treated in contemporary analytic metaphysics. d) Plan: I) Setting; II) Abstraction; III) Existence; IV) Nominalism and Nominalization. 2. Can think of the setting WS is working in in four parts (1,2,3,4), putting him in a position to do things the medieval could not do in the hundreds of years they devoted to this problem: a) 1: One overarching idea: Carnap’s from The Logical Syntax of Language (1934 in German, 1937 in English): to say that triangularity is a property is a way of saying in the material mode, the object language, what is said more perspicuously in the formal mode, in the metalanguage, as “‘triangularity’ is a monadic predicate.” Sellars will develop this into his metalinguistic expressivism (here, about s abstract objects s , but elsewhere about modality, logic, and—implicitly—normativity) a view with affinities to second-wave metaethical expressivism (an affinity which WS was not in a position to appreciate), but with the distinctive Carnapian metalinguistic turn that makes it quite different from affective or attitudinal expressivism. b) 2: Two great challenges or objections that that Carnapian idea faces: i. Statements about universals don’t mention linguistic expressions; ii. Just trade nonlinguistic universals for linguistic universals, so instead of a nominalism one gets a kind of linguistic idealism. c) 3: Three constructions Sellars will use to work out the idea, deal with the challenges, and address all the potentially problematic contexts (see (3) below): i. Jumblese ii. Dot quotes iii. Distributive singular terms. d) 4: Four kinds of contexts that must be addressed, each of which gives some reason to think we are committed to the existence of nonlinguistic universals (See the outline of GE from Week 6): i. Ordinary predications (discussed in NS ) (If ‘Fa’ is perspicuously rendered as ‘a exemplifies F-ness.’) 7c71b624c448994493b21a49b2d0e3268ce7b302 1 2/15/12
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Brandom ii. Existential quantification over predicates ( GE ) (“There is something Tom and Tim are: tall.”) iii.
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Sellars Week 7 AE Plan 09-10-14 l - Brandom Sellars Week...

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