and Meaning The Philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars
T, 7:30-10:00, Building 000
Jay L. Garfield, Smith College
Dewey House, Front Parlor
Hours: T, Th 9:00-10:30 or by appt
Required Texts: (Amherst Bookstore)
Science, Perception and Reality
de Vries and Triplett,
Knowledge, Mind, and the Given: A Reading of Sellars' "Empiricism
and the Philosophy of Mind"
Vries' Sellars book
Recommended : (Amherst Bookstore)
ed., Kant and Pre-Kantian Themes: Lectures by Wilfrid Sellars
ed., The Metaphysics of Epistemology: Lectures by Wilfrid Sellars
ed., Kant's Transcendental Metaphysics: Sellars' Cassirer Lectures
and Other Essays
ed.,, Pure Pragmatics and Possible Worlds: Early Essays of Wilfrid
ed., Philosophical Perspectives: Metaphysics and Epistemology
Delaney, Lolus, Gutting and
Solomon, eds., The Synoptic Vision: Essays on the Philosophy of Wilfrid
This seminar will be an exploration of the
philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars, perhaps the single most influential philosopher
of the Twentieth Century, despite being largely unknown outside the
circle of professional philosophy. We will focus on his epistemology
and philosophy of mind. After considering Sellars' approach to
the Kantian problematic and the context this sets for his own work,
we will turn to his account of meaning. The center of the course
will be a close reading of Sellars' influential essay "Empiricism
and the Philosophy of Mind." Following this we will read
some his later essays on the philosophy of mind, meaning and epistemology.
We will consider the many dimensions of Sellars' influence on 20th and
21st Century philosophy of mind, epistemology and philosophy of language.
All students are expected to attend class
regularly, to participate in class discussion, to complete all assigned
reading prior to the class session in which it is to be discussed, and
to come to class prepared with questions raised by the reading.
There are two options for written work. You may choose to write
a single term paper of approx 20 pp due on 6 May. Or you
may choose to write 10 approx 2 pp papers addressing specific problems
raised by the material we are reading. If you take this latter option,
each paper must be completed and posted electronically to the course
website no later than 6:00 PM on the Sunday prior to the relevant class
meeting. All students are expected to read and to comment on all such
papers prior to class. Notify me of the option you choose prior
to 6 February..
Grades will be determined as follows:
Comments on papers and e-discussion contribution 15%
Seminar report 10%
of Readings and Written Work:
Date Text Written work
1/25 Introductory _________________
Part I. Historical and Conceptual Background
2/1 "Berkeley and Descartes: Reflections
on the New Way of Ideas" (reader)
"Kant's Transcendental Idealism"
2/8 "Being and Being Known," (SPR)
"Philosophy and the Scientific Image
of Man" (SPR) paper 1
Reflections on Language Games," (SPR)
"Concepts as Involving Laws and Impossible
Without Them" (reader)
c 2, 3 paper 2
Part II. Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind
c 4 paper 4
3/8 "Empiricism and the Philosophy of
c 5, 6 paper 5
3/22 "Empiricism and the Philosophy of
"The Sellars-Chisholm correspondence
on intentionality" (reader)
c 7 paper 6
Part III. The nature of meaning and the
3/29 "Meaning as Functional Classification"
and replies (reader)
"Language as Thought and as Communication"
(reader) paper 7
4/5 "The Semantic Solution to the Mind-Body
"The Double Knowledge Approach to the
Mind-Body Problem" (reader)
"The Identity Approach to the Mind-Body
c 8 paper 8
Part IV. Later Epistemology and Philosophy
4/12 "The Structure of Knowledge"
I and II (reader) paper 9
4/19 "The Structure of Knowledge"
Vries, c 9 paper 10
4/26 "Behaviorism, Language and Meaning"
with Quine's reply (reader)
"Mental Events" (reader)
5/6 Final Paper due