Comments on Robert Brandom's 'From Empiricism to Expressivism: Brandom Reads Sellars'

Title: Comments on Robert Brandom's 'From Empiricism to Expressivism: Brandom Reads Sellars'
Other Titles: Author Meets Critics
Authors: O'Shea, James
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Date: 30-Jun-2020
Online since: 2021-08-20T10:38:03Z
Abstract: I am in agreement with most of what is contained in this powerful book. In particular, I find Brandom’s extended defense of his "Kant-Sellars thesis about modality," which is elaborated throughout the central chapters 3 to 6, the constructive heart of the book, to be both innovative and yet interpretively compelling with respect to the real semantic heart of Sellars’ philosophy. I myself agree that one of the deepest of insights elaborated in different ways by Kant, C. I. Lewis, Sellars, and now Brandom is that the objective purport of any empirical concept presupposes the prescription of lawful modal constraints governing the objects themselves, as systematically reflected in our inferential practices. This is Kant’s idea of the categories as concepts that prescribe laws to appearances, and Sellars’ idea of concepts as involving laws, and C.I. Lewis defends this, too-and now I think that Bob has really developed that in a nice way. And I also agree that these sort of normative presuppositional relationships, in general, constitute a key strand running throughout Sellars’ philosophy: Sellars’ idea, for example, that the normative espousal of principles is reflected in uniformities of practice and in certain natural regularities. (I tried to make that the center of my 2007 book on Sellars as well, in not nearly as sophisticated a way, however.) This highlights the pervasive Janus-faced interplay between what is explicitly asserted on the one hand, and the various normative practices and natural regularities that are thereby, Sellars will say, presupposed or conveyed or prescribed on the other.
Type of material: Book Chapter
Publisher: Routledge
Copyright (published version): 2017 Taylor & Francis
Keywords: Kantian categoriesScientific naturalism
Subject LCSH: Kant, Immanuel, 1724-1804
Sellars, Wilfrid, 1912-1989
Brandom, Robert
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Language: en
Status of Item: Peer reviewed
Is part of: Pereplyotchik, D., Barnbaum, D. (eds.). Sellars and Contemporary Philosophy
ISBN: 9780367595630
This item is made available under a Creative Commons License:
Appears in Collections:Philosophy Research Collection

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