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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

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

Willem A. deVries (Contributor Webpage)

Paul Coates

Oxford University Press

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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