In Stefan Brandt & Anke Breunig (eds.), Wilfrid Sellars and Twentieth-Century Philosophy. New York: Routledge. pp. 110–29 (2020)

James O'Shea
University College Dublin
ABSTRACT: In this chapter I argue that Sellars’s philosophy was deeply pragmatist both in its motivation and in its content, whether considered conceptually, historically, or in his own estimation, and that this is the case even in the important respects in which his views differ from most pragmatists. However, this assessment has been rejected by many recent pragmatists, with “classicalist” pragmatists frequently objecting to Sellars’s analytic-pragmatist privileging of language at the alleged expense of experience, while many analytic pragmatists themselves emphasize that Sellars’s philosophy arguably runs against the grain of pragmatism in central respects, with Brandom for instance recently remarking that “Sellars never explicitly identified himself with pragmatism.” Part I explores the classical pragmatist influences on the development of Sellars’s philosophy, with reference to aspects of the intellectual background in which those views formed. Part II then outlines more abstractly some of the enduring pragmatist themes in Sellars’s philosophy, including his conceptions of the myth of the given, the space of reasons, and his normative-inferentialist theory of meaning. I conclude in Part III with Sellars’s views on truth and “picturing,” which present a complex case for the question of “how pragmatist” Sellars’s views both were and ought to be.
Keywords Pragmatism  Wilfrid Sellars  Brandom  Peirce  Dewey  truth  meaning  myth of the given  perception
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book Find it on
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

PhilArchive copy

 PhilArchive page | Other versions
External links

Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

No references found.

Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

The Realist Challenge to Conceptual Pragmatism.Peter Olen - 2015 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 7 (2):152-167.
Peirce and Sellars on Nonconceptual Content.Catherine Legg - 2018 - In Luca Corti & Antonio Nunziante (eds.), Sellars and the History of Modern Philosophy. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 125-143.
Wilfrid Sellars.William A. Rottschaefer - 2009 - Teaching Philosophy 32 (1):96-102.
Wilfrid Sellars and His Legacy.James R. O'Shea - 2016 - Oxford University Press UK.
Sellars and His Legacy Ed. By James R. O'Shea. [REVIEW]Niels Skovgaard-Olsen - 2017 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 55 (2):358-359.
Sellars and Quine on Empiricism and Conceptual Truth.Stefan Brandt - 2017 - British Journal for the History of Philosophy 25 (1):108-132.


Added to PP index

Total views
305 ( #33,868 of 2,497,818 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
40 ( #21,477 of 2,497,818 )

How can I increase my downloads?


My notes