, Volume 38, Issue 4, pp 715-731

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Pragmatic Concerns and Images of the World

  • Fernando BirmanAffiliated withDepartment of Philosophy, Delft University of Technology Email author 


I defend a pragmatist reinterpretation of Sellars’s famous manifest-scientific distinction. I claim that in order to do justice to this important distinction we must first recognize, despite what philosophers—including, arguably, Sellars—often make of it, that the distinction does not draw an epistemological or metaphysical boundary between different kinds of objects and events, but a pragmatic boundary between different ways in which we interact with objects and events. Put differently, I argue that the manifest-scientific distinction, in my view, can be best understood, not as a metaphysical distinction between apparent and real objects and events, or an epistemological distinction between perceptible and imperceptible objects and events, but rather as a distinction, which is not necessarily rigid over time, between distinct ways in which we collectively deal, in practice, with objects and events.


Pragmatism Eliminativism Manifest image Scientific image Perceptibles Imperceptibles