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Lecture 2

Lecture 2 - Sellars

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Patrice Philie

Sept. 12, 2013 SELLARS – THE MYTH OF THE GIVEN I Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind  Sellars (S1-S7) attacks a form of empiricism  Intermediaries  Dominant conception  For empiricist, everything starts with sensations  Sellars wants to criticize empiricism – criticize the view that sensations are foundational  Sensations and their role in knowledge – sensations happen in the mind  Empiricists – we perceive the world, but we do not know it directly. We see the world through sensations; we do not experience objects directly. My mind only has access to those sensations, not the world in itself.  Empirical knowledge is based on these intermediaries between my mind and the world  Locke, Barkley, Hume, etc.  Sellars wants to discuss whether these intermediaries can really be the foundation of knowledge  PROBLEMS – contradictions  The mind’s eye (Descartes’ idea – Cartesian view of the mind) [sensations] WORLD That which is given (S2)  Sense data is what we sense  When we “sense” some of the sense content, what we sense is called sense data (same as sensation, impression, whatever you want to call it)  Empiricism would say that knowledge starts with this sense datum The fundamental problem here is that according to the classical empiricists, we are in a cognitive relation with sense data. A problem with sense data  The Problem: Sense data is a particular. We can’t know particulars in the same way we know facts. Ex: I know it’s raining VS I know Jack Savoir VS Connaitr
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