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Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and RealismEssays on Wilfrid Sellars$
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Willem A. deVries

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780199573301

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2010

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573301.001.0001

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Brandom's Two‐Ply Error

Brandom's Two‐Ply Error

Chapter:
(p.131) 5 Brandom's Two‐Ply Error
Source:
Empiricism, Perceptual Knowledge, Normativity, and Realism
Author(s):

Willem A. deVries (Contributor Webpage)

Paul Coates

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573301.003.0006

In his Tales of the Mighty Dead, Robert B. Brandom's discussion of Sellars's two-ply account of observation and critique of Cartesian philosophies of mind makes several crucial errors that would render Sellars's analysis of ‘looks’-sentences incoherent. Brandom does not recognize the difference in ‘level’ between observation reports concerning physical objects and ‘looks’-reports, and he denies that ‘looks’-sentences are reports or even make claims. Furthermore, he does not recognize the importance of the nonconceptual content of experiential states. This chapter argues that a careful reading of ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’ does not support Brandom's interpretation, and show how to read Sellars properly on the analysis of such sentences.

Keywords:   Wilfrid Sellars, Robert B. Brandom, observation report, looks-sentences, Cartesian philosophy of mind, nonconceptual content

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