Inspirational Wilfrid Sellars Quotes

Wilfrid Stalker Sellars (May 20, 1912 – July 2, 1989) was an American philosopher. This post features some Inspirational Wilfrid Sellars Quotes.

Sellars was a prominent developer of critical realism, who “revolutionized both the content and the method of philosophy in the United States.”

Sellars coined certain now-common idioms in philosophy, such as the “space of reasons”. This idiom refers to two things. It:

(1) Describes the conceptual and behavioral web of language that humans use to get intelligently around their world,
Denotes the fact that talk of reasons, epistemic justification, and intention is not the same as, and cannot necessarily be mapped onto, talk of causes and effects in the sense that physical science speaks of them.

(2) corresponds in part to the distinction Sellars makes between the manifest image and the scientific image.

Sellars’ most famous work is the lengthy and difficult paper, “Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind” (1956). In it, he criticises the view that knowledge of what we perceive can be independent of the conceptual processes which result in perception. He named this “The Myth of the Given,” attributing it to phenomenology and sense-data theories of knowledge.

In his “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man” (1962), Sellars distinguishes between the “manifest image” and the “scientific image” of the world.

The manifest image includes intentions, thoughts, and appearances. Sellars allows that the manifest image may be refined through ‘correlational induction’, but he rules out appeal to imperceptible entities.

The scientific image describes the world in terms of the theoretical physical sciences. It includes notions such as causality and theories about particles and forces.

Wilfrid Sellars Quotes
Wilfrid Sellars Quotes

Wilfrid Sellars Quotes

“The aim of philosophy, abstractly formulated, is to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term. Under ‘things in the broadest possible sense’ I include such radically different items as not only ‘cabbages and kings’, but numbers and duties, possibilities and finger snaps, aesthetic experience and death. To achieve success in philosophy would be, to use a contemporary turn of phrase, to ‘know one’s way around’ with respect to all these things, not in that unreflective way in which the centipede of the story knew its way around before it faced the question, ‘how do I walk?’, but in that reflective way which means that no intellectual holds are barred.”
― Wilfrid Sellars

“The interpretation of thought as “”inner speech” has taken different forms, and has been used to clarify a variety of problems–thus problems pertaining to the logical forms of thought and the connection of thought with things.”
Wilfrid Sellars quotes

“The categories of intentionality are nothing more nor less than the metalinguistic categories in terms of which we talk epistemically about overt speech as they appear in the framework of thoughts construed on the model of over speech.”
Wilfrid Sellars

“To put the matter in Aristotelian terminology, visual impressions are prior in the order of being to concepts pertaining to physical color, whereas the latter are prior in the order of knowing to concepts pertaining to visual impressions.”
― Wilfrid Sellars

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