Naturalism, the Autonomy of Reason, and Pictures
Sellars was committed to the irreducibility of the semantic, the intentional, and the normative. Nevertheless, he was also committed to naturalism, which is prima facie at odds with his other theses. This paper argues that Sellars maintained his naturalism by being linguistically pluralistic but ontologically monistic. There are irreducibly distinct forms of discourse, because there is an array of distinguishable functions that language and thought perform, but we are not ontologically committed to the array of apparently non‐natural entities or relations mentioned in the metalanguage. However, there is an underlying relation between language and world presupposed by all empirically meaningful language. In his early work Sellars sought to describe this relation in linguistic terms as a form of ‘pure description’, but inadequacies in that notion drove him towards the naturalistic relation between language and world that he came to call ‘picturing’.
International Journal of Philosophical Studies
Taylor & Francis
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
“Naturalism, the Autonomy of Reason, and Pictures” International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3) (2010): 395-413
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