Abstract

abstract:

In this paper, I examine a facet of the under-explored philosophical relationship between Roy Wood Sellars and his son, Wilfrid Sellars, analyzing both their published work and their unpublished correspondence. In particular, I focus, first, on the explicit agreements in epistemological matters between the two philosophers, a consonance in views that highlights Wilfrid's profound debt to his father's philosophy, a debt often ignored or unexamined by Sellarsian scholarship. Secondly, I explore a topic of disagreement between the two regarding the source and the role of Kantian categories and a priori principles. I argue that Wilfrid Sellars's approach, a deeply Kantian, normatively-saturated naturalism, was the result of his assimilation of new philosophical methods—originating in Carnapian and Wittgenstenian analyses of language—unfamiliar and unavailable to his father and his generation. The paper presents this as an exemplar of philosophical progress, but also vouches for a return to a style of philosophical inquiry proper of early twentieth-century philosophy, when systematicity and the embedding of one's stance into extra-philosophical concerns were considered commendable goals.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1538-4586
Print ISSN
0022-5053
Pages
pp. 513-536
Launched on MUSE
2017-07-12
Open Access
No
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