Abstract

abstract:

When a philosopher and a dog play Frisbee, do they cognize the same Frisbee? Is Fido subject to the "myth of the given"? The questions are not silly, for as Marjorie Grene quipped, "Epistemology is a branch of ethology." What follows accepts what is usually called a "correspondence" theory of truth and a "realist" account of human knowledge. Nothing new, but what will be distinctive is that it seeks to exploit an unusual naturalism deriving from the American philosophical tradition. It will particularly address the epistemic relation of sensing to knowing. A currently widespread view among those who object to realism can be traced to Wilfrid Sellars's 1956 critique of the "myth of the given." Sellars argued that the normative "order of reasons" in which beliefs are adjudicated is discontinuous with the causal order of sensation or perception, so the former cannot be grounded in the latter. My claim will be that Sellars was half wrong, and the wrong half can be addressed by contemporary cognitive science and anthropology. The permission to employ the latter is granted by a special version of naturalism, "ordinal naturalism," formed from the American philosophical tradition.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1527-9383
Print ISSN
0891-625X
Pages
pp. 463-477
Launched on MUSE
2020-11-20
Open Access
No
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