How to Be a Kantian and a Naturalist about Human Knowledge

Abstract
The contention in this paper is that central to Sellars’s famous attempt to fuse the “manifest image” and the “scientific image” of the human being in the world was an attempt to marry a particularly strong form of scientific naturalism with various modified Kantian a priori principles about the unity of the self and the structure of human knowledge. The modified Kantian aspects of Sellars’s view have been emphasized by current “left wing” Sellarsians, while the scientific naturalist aspects have been championed by “right wing” Sellarsians, the latter including William Rottschaefer’s constructive criticisms of my own reconciling interpretation of Sellars. In this paper I focus first on how (1) Sellars’s Kantian conception of the necessary a priori unity of the thinking self does not conflict with his ideal scientific naturalist conception of persons as “bundles” or pluralities of scientifically postulated processes. This then prepares the way for a more comprehensive discussion of how (2) Sellars’s modified Kantian account of the substantive a priori principles that make possible any conceptualized knowledge of a world does not conflict with his simultaneous demand for an ideal scientific explanation and evolutionary account of those same conceptual capacities. Sellars’s own attempted via media synthesis—what I call his “Kantian scientific naturalism”—merits another look from both the left and the right
Keywords Contemporary Philosophy  General Interest
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ISBN(s) 1053-8364
DOI 10.5840/jpr_2011_21
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References found in this work BETA

Normativity and Scientific Naturalism in Sellars’ ‘Janus‐Faced’ Space of Reasons.James R. O’Shea - 2010 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 18 (3):459-471.
Coherence, Certainty, and Epistemic Priority.Roderick Firth - 1964 - Journal of Philosophy 61 (19):545-557.
Why Wilfrid Sellars Is Right.William A. Rottschaefer - 2011 - Journal of Philosophical Research 36:291-325.

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Citations of this work BETA

The 'Theory Theory' of Mind and the Aims of Sellars' Original Myth of Jones.James R. O'Shea - 2012 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 11 (2):175-204.

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