Sellars Contra McDowell on Intuitional Content and the Myth of the Given

Philosophia 43 (4):975-998 (2015)

Dionysis Christias
University of Patras
The aim of this paper is to properly situate and contrast McDowell’s and Sellars’ views on intuitional content and relate them to their corresponding views on the myth of the Given. Although McDowell’s and Sellars’ views on what McDowell calls ‘intuitional’ content seem at first strikingly similar, at a deeper level they are radically different. It will be suggested that this divergence is intimately related to their different understanding of what the myth of the Given consists in and how it should be best avoided. It will also be argued that certain McDowell-inspired objections against the viability of the Sellarsian concept of the Categorial Given actually misconstrue the place of this notion in Sellars’ system. If the myth of the Categorial Given can be considered as a genuine version of the Myth then McDowell’s account of intuitional content does indeed fall prey to it. I shall further argue that a McDowell-inspired objection against Sellars to the effect that his account of proper sensibles compromises the openness of intuitional content to the world ultimately fails, and, finally, I shall suggest that Sellars’ views on proper sensibles and intuitional content provide a more promising account of the way our thought and experience can be rationally open to the world itself than McDowell’s position
Keywords Sellars  McDowell  Intuitional content  Myth of the Categorial Given  Proper and common sensibles  Rational ‘openness’
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DOI 10.1007/s11406-015-9632-4
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References found in this work BETA

Science, Perception and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars - 1963 - New York: Humanities Press.
Wilfrid Sellars: Fusing the Images.Jay F. Rosenberg - 2007 - Oxford University Press.

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Citations of this work BETA

Sellars's Synoptic Vision.Dionysis Christias - 2017 - Res Philosophica 94 (1):135-163.
Sellars and McDowell on Objectivity.Patrice Philie - 2015 - Kriterion - Journal of Philosophy 29 (3):63-92.

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