The Realist Challenge to Conceptual Pragmatism

Although commonly cited as one of the philosophers responsible for the resurgence of interest in pragmatism, Wilfrid Sellars was also the son of Roy Wood Sellars, one of the most dedicated critical realists of the early 20th century. Given his father’s realism and his own ‘scientific realism,’ one might assume that the history of realism – and, despite contemporary interest, not pragmatism – would best serve as the historical background for Wilfrid Sellars’ philosophy. I argue that Wilfrid Sellars, far from being the adherent to classical pragmatism assumed by some, holds more in common with critical realism - specifically, a realism that was framed in opposition to pragmatism – than one finds amongst the writings of Charles Sanders Peirce, William James, or John Dewey. I support this claim by examining Wilfrid Sellars’ adoption of his father’s criticisms of C.I. Lewis, and offer various arguments and historical considerations against thematic accounts that insist on a strong connection between Wilfrid Sellars and pragmatism
Keywords Pragmatism  Wilfrid Sellars  C. I. Lewis  American Philosophy  Perception  Roy Wood Sellars
Categories (categorize this paper)
DOI 10.4000/ejpap.413
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Request removal from index
Revision history

Download options

Our Archive
Through your library

References found in this work BETA

Physical Realism.Wilfrid Sellars - 1954 - Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 15 (1):13-32.
Realism or Phenomenalism?C. I. Lewis - 1955 - Philosophical Review 64 (2):233-247.

View all 6 references / Add more references

Citations of this work BETA

No citations found.

Add more citations

Similar books and articles

Wilfrid Sellars.Willem deVries - 2011 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Action, Knowledge, and Reality.Wilfrid Sellars & Hector-Neri Castañeda (eds.) - 1975 - Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill.
The Middle Does Not Hold.William A. Rottschaefer - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:361-369.
Back to Roy Wood Sellars: Why His Evolutionary Naturalism is Still Worthwhile.Pouwel Slurink - 1996 - Journal of the History of Philosophy 34 (3):425-449.


Added to PP index

Total downloads
308 ( #14,653 of 2,308,514 )

Recent downloads (6 months)
75 ( #4,728 of 2,308,514 )

How can I increase my downloads?

Monthly downloads

My notes

Sign in to use this feature