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A Critical Examination of Sellars’s Theory of Perception

  • Anil Gupta
Chapter
Part of the The Western Ontario Series in Philosophy of Science book series (WONS, volume 78)

Abstract

It is a central thesis in Sellars’s theory of perception that the given is mythical, that the non-conceptual element in perception has no rational force. Sellars thus offers a coherence theory of the reasonableness of perceptual judgments. I suggest that Sellars is right in rejecting the idea that the non-conceptual element provides knowledge; more generally, he is right in rejecting the propositional given. I argue, however, that Sellars’s coherence theory is unable to make sense of basic features of perceptual judgments. Sellars is not right, I argue, in denying all rational role to the non-conceptual element in perception. The given exists, but it is not propositional.

Keywords

Perceptual Experience Empirical Rationality Perceptual Judgment Perceptual Faculty Perceptual Belief 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgement

I wish to thank Derek H. Brown, Erhan Demircioglu, William Eck, Christopher Frey, Robert Kraut, Preston Stovall, and Miloš Vuletić for their comments on this essay.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PhilosophyUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA

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