Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind by Wilfrid Sellars

By Wilfrid Sellars

An important paintings by way of one in every of America's maximum twentieth-century philosophers, Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain is either the epitome of Wilfrid Sellars' complete philosophical approach and a key record within the heritage of philosophy. First released in essay shape in 1956, it helped result in a sea swap in analytic philosophy. It broke the hyperlink, which had certain Russell and Ayer to Locke and Hume--the doctrine of "knowledge through acquaintance." Sellars' assault at the delusion of the Given in Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain used to be a decisive movement in turning analytic philosophy clear of the foundationalist factors of the logical empiricists and raised doubts concerning the very suggestion of "epistemology."

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But my purpose here is not to develop a commentary on the shortcomings of Locke's treatment of abstract ideas, but to emphasize that something which is a problem for us was not a problem for him.

Thus, the very nature of “looks talk” is such as to raise questions to which it gives no answer: W hat is the intrinsic character of the common descriptive content of these three experiences? and How are they able to have it in spite of the tact that whereas in the case of (a) the perceiver must be in the presence of a red object over there, in (b) the object over there need not be red, while in (c) there need be no object over there at all? 23. Now it is clear that if we were required to give a more direct characterization of the common descriptive content of these experiences, we would begin by trying to do so in terms of the quality red.

And sometimes it is red at the surface by having what we would not hesitate to call a "part” which is red through and through —thus, a red table which is red by virtue of a layer of red paint. But the red paint is not itself red by virtue of a component—a 'surface’ or ‘expanse’; a particular with no thickness —which is red. There may, let me repeat, turn out to be some place in the total philosophical picture for the statement that there ‘really are ” such particulars, and that they are elements in perceptual experience.

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