Perception, Imagination, and Demonstrative Reference: A Sellarsian Account

Paul Coates

in Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism

Published in print November 2009 | ISBN: 9780199573301
Published online February 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722172 | DOI:

Series: Mind Association Occasional Series

Perception, Imagination, and Demonstrative Reference: A Sellarsian Account

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In an important late essay, ‘The Role of the Imagination in Kant's Theory of Experience’, Sellars brings together ideas about the complex nature of perceptual consciousness and the content of perceptual demonstratives. In a development of his previous ideas about perception, he clarifies the key role played by the imagination in unifying the conceptual and sensory (or phenomenal) components of perceptual consciousness. This chapter proposes a modification of Sellars's views on the imagination, and shows how the resulting conception can explain the different ways in which experiences can be conceptualized. The account enables us to understand exactly how, according to the Sellarsian critical realist analysis of experience, we are able to make demonstrative judgments about physical objects, while avoiding a problematic appeal to neo-Russellian notions of acquaintance.

Keywords: Sellars; Kant; perceptual experience; critical realism; unity of consciousness; imagination; conceptual component; demonstrative judgment; acquaintance

Chapter.  12354 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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