On Sellars's Two Images of the World

Jay F. Rosenberg

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 Sellars's Two Images of the World

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This chapter reviews Sellars's arguments for the ultimate ontological primacy of the ‘scientific image’ over the ‘manifest image’, despite the fact that the manifest image is essential to the constitution of humanity. In order better to understand the relation Sellars takes to hold between the objects of the manifest image and ‘theoretical’ postulates of the sciences, the fundamental conception of scientific explanation in Sellars's philosophy is taken into account. It is argued that ‘already within the manifest image, the epistemology of natural science is arguably best understood in Sellarsian terms as a systematic working out of an ontological dialectic of appearance vs. reality’. In Sellars's view, then, the ontological primacy of the scientific image is simply a consequence of commitments already present in the manifest image.

Keywords: Wilfrid Sellars; scientific image; manifest image; theoretical postulation; scientific explanation; epistemology; appearance; reality; scientific realism

Chapter.  4705 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy of Mind ; Metaphysics

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