Brandom's Two‐Ply Error

Willem A. deVries and 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

Brandom's Two‐Ply Error

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In his Tales of the Mighty Dead, Robert B. Brandom's discussion of Sellars's two-ply account of observation and critique of Cartesian philosophies of mind makes several crucial errors that would render Sellars's analysis of ‘looks’-sentences incoherent. Brandom does not recognize the difference in ‘level’ between observation reports concerning physical objects and ‘looks’-reports, and he denies that ‘looks’-sentences are reports or even make claims. Furthermore, he does not recognize the importance of the nonconceptual content of experiential states. This chapter argues that a careful reading of ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’ does not support Brandom's interpretation, and show how to read Sellars properly on the analysis of such sentences.

Keywords: Wilfrid Sellars; Robert B. Brandom; observation report; looks-sentences; Cartesian philosophy of mind; nonconceptual content

Chapter.  4853 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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