Sellars: “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man”

2) Philosophy in an important sense has no special subject-matter which stands to it as other subject-matters stand to other special disciplines…. What is characteristic of philosophy is not a special subject-matter, but the aim of knowing one’s way around with respect to the subject-matters of all the special disciplines. [370] [BB: It is not clear how this sits with the distinction between being a researcher (in a special discipline) and being an intellectual (caring about how it all fits together). For, surely, not all intellectuals are philosophers, nor vice versa. One possibility is that he thinks that our research specialty is being intellectuals. But this is not plausible: sociologists, historians, journalist-pundits, culture critics, and so on have an equal claim to that distinction. WS might be thinking of philosophers as exclusively concerned with the cognitive enterprise, allowing intellectuals more generally to worry about, e.g., politics. But this is a pre- Hegelian way of thinking about things that is very implausible. I have my own take on this (cf. “Reason, Expression, and the Philosophic Enterprise”, Ch. 4 of RiP).].
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