Sellars on Hume and Kant on representing complexes

European Journal of Philosophy 17 (2):224-246 (2009)
No Abstract In his graduate-seminar lectures on Kant—published as Kant and Pre-Kantian Themes (Sellars, 2002)—Wilfrid Sellars argues that because Hume cannot distinguish between a vivacious idea and an idea of something vivacious he cannot account for the human ability to represent temporally complex states of affairs. The first section of this paper aims to show that this argument is not properly aimed at the historical Hume who can, on a proper reading, distinguish these kinds of representations. This is not, however, Sellars’ only argument for this conclusion. The next section of this paper continues with a discussion of an argument that Sellars presents on Kant’s behalf in Science and Metaphysics, and its key Kantian premise that, contra Hume, only conceptual representations can represent any complex states of affairs as such. The conclusion of this discussion is that Sellars does indeed present compelling reasons for rejecting a Humean account, reasons centered on the ambiguity of the associative structure of mental representation (which Sellars subsequently replaces with inferential structure). The paper concludes with an examination of the sense in which non-conceptual representations—such as those that Hume considers—represent and the role that these play in conceptual representation for both Sellars and Kant.
Keywords No keywords specified (fix it)
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2008.00301.x
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
Download options
PhilPapers Archive

Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 22,046
External links
Setup an account with your affiliations in order to access resources via your University's proxy server
Configure custom proxy (use this if your affiliation does not provide a proxy)
Through your library
References found in this work BETA
Immanuel Kant (2007). Critique of Pure Reason. In Elizabeth Schmidt Radcliffe, Richard McCarty, Fritz Allhoff & Anand Vaidya (eds.), Philosophy and Phenomenological Research. Blackwell Pub. Ltd. 449-451.

View all 11 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA
David Landy (2013). What Incongruent Counterparts Show. European Journal of Philosophy 21 (4):507-524.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Monthly downloads

Added to index


Total downloads

52 ( #85,850 of 1,934,424 )

Recent downloads (6 months)

3 ( #195,835 of 1,934,424 )

How can I increase my downloads?

My notes
Sign in to use this feature

Start a new thread
There  are no threads in this forum
Nothing in this forum yet.