manifest image

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Term introduced by Sellars in papers collected in his Science, Perception, and Reality (1963), for the common way of thinking of oneself in the world, as a perceiving person and agent, amongst other similar persons inhabiting a single space of coloured, threedimensional objects. The manifest image contrasts with the scientific image, which deals in the behaviour of conglomerates of the physical particles postulated by scientific theory. What Sellars called the ‘perennial philosophy’ from Plato onwards accepts the reality of the elements and features of the manifest image, but it is also a perennial problem to compare and reconcile its claims with that of the scientific image, which is in reality the arbiter ‘of what is, that it is, and of what is not that it is not’. Similar contrasts are found throughout philosophy. See also colour, eliminativism, intentionality, primary/secondary qualities.

Subjects: Philosophy.

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