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Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and RealismEssays on Wilfrid Sellars$
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Willem A. deVries

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573301.001.0001

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Why Is Sellars's Essay Called “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”?

Why Is Sellars's Essay Called “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”?

Chapter:
(p.9) 1 Why Is Sellars's Essay Called “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind”?
Source:
Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism
Author(s):

John McDowell

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573301.003.0002

‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’ (EPM) is sometimes read as attacking empiricism in general. But Sellars's announced target is traditional empiricism. In traditional empiricism, experience yields knowledge in a way that does not presuppose other empirical knowledge, so that the knowledge provided by experience can serve as foundations, in a straightforward sense, for other empirical knowledge. To accept this conception is to fall into a form of the Myth of the Given. In EPM Sellars works out a different conception of experience, according to which it is a kind of inner episode that, in the best kind of case, yields knowledge, but in a way that presupposes other empirical knowledge. The knowledge provided by experience can still serve as foundations for other empirical knowledge, but now only in a nuanced sense. The chapter concludes that so far from rejecting empiricism altogether, EPM rehabilitates empiricism, but in a non-traditional form.

Keywords:   empirical knowledge, empiricism, EPM, experience, foundations, inner episodes, Wilfrid Sellars, Myth of the Given

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