On the Structure of Sellars's Naturalism with a Normative Turn

James R. O'Shea

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

On the Structure of Sellars's Naturalism with a Normative Turn

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This chapter explores the difficult question of the nature of the relationship between the natural and the normative as it was conceived by Sellars. Sellars's view represented an attempt to defend both the irreducibility of the normative space of reasons and yet, simultaneously and in another sense, its comprehensive reducibility from the perspective of an ideal scientific conception of the nature of reality and of the human being. An early distinction in Sellars between ‘logical’ vs. ‘causal’ reducibility is exploited to explain the relationship between the manifest and scientific images. There is a complex norm/nature presuppositional structure that runs throughout Sellars's views on the ‘Janus-faced’ nature of meaning, intentionality, knowledge, and truth. This interpretation makes it possible to reconcile some of the differences that have divided the so-called ‘left-wing’ and ‘right-wing’ Sellarsians.

Keywords: Wilfrid Sellars; naturalism; normativity; space of reasons; meaning; intentionality; ought; rules; reduction

Chapter.  8361 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind

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