Philosophy 290-6

Spring 2023

Number Title Instructor Days/time Room
290-6 Graduate Seminar: Sellars MacFarlane Th 2-4 Moses 234

Wilfrid Sellars memorably said that the aim of philosophy is “to understand how things in the broadest possible sense of the term hang together in the broadest possible sense of the term.” We will try to understand his attempt to do that, reading a selection of his classic papers from the 1950s and 60s. Among other topics, we will discuss Sellars’ inferentialist account of meaning, his critique of traditional empiricism and its “Myth of the Given,” his expressivist accounts of the language of appearance and modality, his nominalist metaphysics, his scientific realism, and his Kantianism. We will try to understand his work in relation to earlier thinkers who influenced him, and we will see how different aspects of his thought influenced later thinkers with diverse philosophical views. Our overarching aim will be to think about what is still alive in Sellars’ thought, what might have been overlooked by the subsequent tradition, and what looks different in light of contemporary developments.