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Carl B. Sachs [21]Carl Sachs [16]
  1. Intentionality and the Myths of the Given: Between Pragmatism and Phenomenology: Between Pragmatism and Phenomenology.Carl Sachs - 2014 - Brookfield, Vermont: Routledge.
    Intentionality is one of the central problems of modern philosophy. How can a thought, action or belief be about something? Sachs draws on the work of Wilfrid Sellars, C. I. Lewis and Maurice Merleau-Ponty to build a new theory of intentionality that solves many of the problems faced by traditional conceptions. In doing so, he sheds new light on Sellars’s influential arguments concerning the ‘Myth of the Given’ and shows how we can build a productive discourse between American pragmatism, analytical (...)
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  2. A Cybernetic Theory of Persons: How and Why Sellars Naturalized Kant.Carl B. Sachs - 2022 - Philosophical Inquiries 10 (1).
    I argue that Sellars’s naturalization of Kant should be understood in terms of how he used behavioristic psychology and cybernetics. I first explore how Sellars used Edward Tolman’s cognitive-behavioristic psychology to naturalize Kant in the early essay “Language, Rules, and Behavior”. I then turn to Norbert Wiener’s understanding of feedback loops and circular causality. On this basis I argue that Sellars’s distinction between signifying and picturing, which he introduces in “Being and Being Known,” can be understood in terms of what (...)
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  3. In defense of picturing; Sellars’s philosophy of mind and cognitive neuroscience.Carl B. Sachs - 2019 - Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 18 (4):669-689.
    I argue that Sellars’s distinction between signifying and picturing should be taken seriously by philosophers of mind, language, and cognition. I begin with interpretations of key Sellarsian texts in order to show that picturing is best understood as a theory of non-linguistic cognitive representations through which animals navigate their environments. This is distinct from the kind of discursive cognition that Sellars called ‘signifying’ and which is best understood in terms of socio-linguistic inferences. I argue that picturing is required because reflection (...)
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  4. A Conceptual Genealogy of the Pittsburgh School.Carl Sachs - 2019 - In Kelly Becker & Iain D. Thomson (eds.), The Cambridge History of Philosophy, 1945–2015. New York, NY, USA: Cambridge University Press. pp. 664-676.
    This chapter explores the unifying themes of “the Pittsburgh School” of Sellars, Brandom, and McDowell: a social pragmatist account of intentionality, the rejection of the Myth of the Given, and the partial rehabilitation of Hegel for analytic philosophy. In addition this chapter also discusses three points of disagreement within the Pittsburgh School: whether or not we should posit sense-impressions, whether perceptual intentionality is world-relational, and whether the natural sciences have epistemic authority over other ways of thinking about nature. The chapter (...)
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  5. Resisting the Disenchantment of Nature: McDowell and the Question of Animal Minds.Carl B. Sachs - 2012 - Inquiry: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Philosophy 55 (2):131-147.
    Abstract McDowell's contributions to epistemology and philosophy of mind turn centrally on his defense of the Aristotelian concept of a ?rational animal?. I argue here that a clarification of how McDowell uses this concept can make more explicit his distance from Davidson regarding the nature of the minds of non-rational animals. Close examination of his responses to Davidson and to Dennett shows that McDowell is implicitly committed to avoiding the following ?false trichotomy?: that animals are not bearers of semantic content (...)
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  6.  37
    Quine’s critique of C. I. Lewis: pragmatism, psychologism, and naturalism—a response to Quine, conceptual pragmatism, and the analytic-synthetic distinction (Robert Sinclair, 2022).Carl B. Sachs - 2023 - Asian Journal of Philosophy 2 (2):1-7.
    I argue that Quine’s naturalization of Lewis’s Kantian pragmatism should be understood in terms of Lewis’s attempt to de-psychologize pragmatist epistemology. Lewis wants epistemology to be a priori in order to be distinct from psychology. Quine’s criticisms of Lewis result in a picture that weakens the distinction between epistemology and psychology. Nevertheless, Quine’s naturalized Kantian pragmatism remains far more Kantian than is widely recognized, due to what Quine retains from Lewis.
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  7. The Role of Picturing In Sellars’s Practical Philosophy.Jeremy Randel Koons & Carl B. Sachs - 2022 - Journal of Philosophical Research 47:147-176.
    Picturing is a poorly understood element of Sellars’s philosophical project. We diagnose the problem with picturing as follows: on the one hand, it seems that it must be connected with action in order for it to do its job. On the other hand, the representational states of a picturing system are characterized in descriptive and seemingly static terms. How can static terms be connected with action? To solve this problem, we adopt a concept from recent work in Sellarsian metaethics: the (...)
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  8. Discursive and Somatic Intentionality: Merleau-Ponty Contra 'McDowell or Sellars'.Carl B. Sachs - 2014 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 22 (2):199-227.
    Here I show that Sellars’ radicalization of the Kantian distinction between concepts and intuitions is vulnerable to a challenge grounded in Merleau-Ponty’s phenomenology of embodiment. Sellars argues that Kant’s concept of ‘intuition’ is ambiguous between singular demonstrative phrases and sense-impressions. In light of the critique of the Myth of the Given, Sellars argues, in the ‘Myth of Jones’, that sense-impression are theoretical posits. I argue that Merleau-Ponty offers a way of understanding perceptual activity which successfully avoids both the Myth of (...)
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  9. What Is To Be Overcome? Nietzsche, Carnap, and Modernism as the Overcoming of Metaphysic.Carl B. Sachs - 2011 - History of Philosophy Quarterly 28 (3):303-318..
    I examine why Carnap ended his "The Overcoming of Metaphysics" with admiration for Nietzsche, and contextualize his admiration for Nietzsche within their shared commitment to 'modernism.' I show that Carnap's modernism helps explain his enthusiasm for symbolic logic and his attitude towards metaphysics. However, I also argue that Nietzsche's critique of metaphysics may also apply to Carnap's own distinction between what is essential to language and how language appears.
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  10. Naturalized Teleology: Cybernetics, Organization, Purpose.Carl Sachs - 2023 - Topoi 42 (3):781-791.
    The rise of mechanistic science in the seventeenth century helped give rise to a heated debate about whether teleology—the appearance of purposive activity in life and in mind—could be naturalized. At issue here were both what is meant by “teleology” as well as what is meant “nature”. I shall examine a specific episode in the history of this debate in the twentieth century with the rise of cybernetics: the science of seemingly “self-controlled” systems. Against cybernetics, Hans Jonas argued that cybernetics (...)
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  11. The acknowledgement of transcendence: Anti-theodicy in Adorno and Levinas.Carl B. Sachs - 2011 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 37 (3):273-294.
    It is generally recognized that Adorno and Levinas should both be read as urging a rethinking of ethics in light of Auschwitz. This demand should be understood in terms of the acknowledgement of transcendence. A phenomenological account of the event of Auschwitz developed by Todes motivates my use of Cavell’s distinction between acknowledgement and knowledge. Both Levinas and Adorno argue that an ethically adequate acknowledgement of transcendence requires that the traditional concept of transcendence as represented in theodicy must be rejected. (...)
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  12. The shape of a good question: McDowell, evolution, and transcendental philosophy.Carl B. Sachs - 2011 - Philosophical Forum 42 (1):61-78.
    I examine John McDowell's attitude towards naturalism in general, and evolutionary theory in particular, by distinguishing between "transcendental descriptions" and "empirical explanations". With this distinction in view we can understand why McDowell holds that there is both continuity and discontinuity between humans qua rational animals and other animals -- there is continuity with regards to empirical explanations and discontinuity with regards to transcendental descriptions. The result of this examination is a clearer assessment of the strengths and weaknesses of McDowell's contribution (...)
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  13. What’s at stake in the debate over naturalizing teleology? An overlooked metatheoretical debate.Carl Sachs & Auguste Nahas - 2023 - Synthese 201 (4):1-22.
    Recent accounts of teleological naturalism hold that organisms are intrinsically goaldirected entities. We argue that supporters and critics of this view have ignored the ways in which it is used to address quite different problems. One problem is about biology and concerns whether an organism-centered account of teleological ascriptions would improve our descriptions and explanations of biological phenomena. This is different from the philosophical problem of how naturalized teleology would affect our conception of nature, and of ourselves as natural beings. (...)
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  14.  41
    Editors’ Introduction to ‘Hegel and Sellars’: A Special Issue of International Journal of Philosophical Studies.Carl Sachs & Paul Giladi - 2019 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 27 (3):359-362.
    In our Introduction to the special issue on Hegel and Sellars, we explain why there needs to be a more detailed analysis of the similarities and differences between Hegel and Sellars. Sellars is usually regarded as closer to Kant than to Hegel, but this obscures the more Hegelian features of his theoretical and practical philosophy. We briefly describe each article in the special issue.
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  15. Rorty's Debt to Sellarsian Metaphysics.Carl B. Sachs - 2013 - Metaphilosophy 44 (5):682-707.
    Rorty regards himself as furthering the project of the Enlightenment by separating Enlightenment liberalism from Enlightenment rationalism. To do so, he rejects the very need for explicit metaphysical theorizing. Yet his commitments to naturalism, nominalism, and the irreducibility of the normative come from the metaphysics of Wilfrid Sellars. Rorty's debt to Sellars is concealed by his use of Davidsonian arguments against the scheme/content distinction and the nonsemantic concept of truth. The Davidsonian arguments are used for Deweyan ends: to advance secularization (...)
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  16.  50
    The Role of Non-reductive Naturalism: Cognitive Science or Phenomenology?Carl B. Sachs - 2018 - Australasian Philosophical Review 2 (2):229-233.
    Shaun Gallagher argues that we need a new philosophy of nature that accommodates the insights of existential phenomenology. On his view existential phenomenology needs a philosophy of nature that is holistic, relational, and non-reductionist. I argue that his reasoning is based on a misunderstanding of the difference between the manifest image and the scientific image. The reasons why we should prefer a non-reductionist philosophy of nature are internal to the historical development of the scientific image itself. We have good reasons (...)
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  17.  80
    Critical notice of Robert Brandom, A Spirit of Trust. A Reading of Hegel’s Phenomenology.Carl B. Sachs - 2020 - European Journal of Pragmatism and American Philosophy 12 (2).
    A critical review of "The Spirit of Trust". The review provides a very compressed overview of Brandom's project and concludes with a minor criticism of how Brandom addresses "the masters of suspicion" (Marx, Nietzsche, Freud).
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  18. "We pragmatists mourn Sellars as a Lost Leader": Sellars's Pragmatist Distinction between Signifying and Picturing.Carl Sachs - 2018 - In Luca Corti & Antonio Nunziante (eds.), Sellars and the History of Modern Philosophy. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 157-177.
    I argue that Richard Rorty was mistaken to argue that Sellars's commitment to picturing undermined his commitment to pragmatism. Instead, I argue that Sellarsian picturing, correctly interpreted, is itself continuous with pragmatism's emphasis on organism-environment interaction. I trace the origins of Rorty's misunderstanding of picturing to his misunderstanding of Kant, and hence to a misunderstanding of what it would mean to naturalize Kant.
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  19. Discursive Intentionality as Embodied Coping: A Pragmatist Critique of Existential Phenomenology.Carl Sachs - 2017 - In Svec Ondrej & Jakub Čapek (eds.), Pragmatic Perspectives in Phenomenology. pp. 87-102.
    I use the distinction between sentience and sapience to reconstruct the debate between Hubert Dreyfus and John McDowell. I argue that Dreyfus's critique of McDowell's conceptualism relies on conflating detached contemplation with conceptual activity as such. I then argue that McDowell's conceptualism can be enriched and brought into deeper conversation with pragmatism and phenomenology if we take reasons to be a special kind of affordance. Contra Dreyfus, reasons need not disrupt affordances but do so only in specific contexts. I conclude (...)
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  20. Natural Agents: A Transcendental Argument for Pragmatic Naturalism.Carl Sachs - 2009 - Contemporary Pragmatism 6 (1):15-37.
    I distinguish between two phases of Rorty’s naturalism: “nonreductive physicalism” (NRP) and “pragmatic naturalism” (PN). NRP holds that the vocabulary of mental states is irreducible to that of physical states, but this irreducibility does not distinguish the mental from other irreducible vocabularies. PN differs by explicitly accepting a naturalistic argument for the transcendental status of the vocabulary of agency. Though I present some reasons for preferring PN over NRP, PN depends on whether ‘normativity’ can be ‘naturalized’.
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  21.  47
    Nietzsche’s Daybreak.Carl B. Sachs - 2008 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (1):81-100.
    Any interpretation of Nietzsche’s criticisms of morality must show whether or not Nietzsche is entitled both to deny free will and to be concerned with furtheringhuman freedom. Here I will show that Nietzsche is entitled to both claims if his theory of freedom is set in the context of a naturalistic drive-psychology. The drive-psychology allows Nietzsche to develop a modified but recognizable account of freedom as autonomy. I situate this development in Nietzsche’s thought through a close reading of Daybreak (Morgenröte). (...)
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  22.  83
    Nietzsche’s Daybreak.Carl B. Sachs - 2008 - Epoché: A Journal for the History of Philosophy 13 (1):81-100.
    Any interpretation of Nietzsche’s criticisms of morality must show whether or not Nietzsche is entitled both to deny free will and to be concerned with furtheringhuman freedom. Here I will show that Nietzsche is entitled to both claims if his theory of freedom is set in the context of a naturalistic drive-psychology. The drive-psychology allows Nietzsche to develop a modified but recognizable account of freedom as autonomy. I situate this development in Nietzsche’s thought through a close reading of Daybreak (Morgenröte). (...)
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  23.  11
    Pragmatism in Transition: Contemporary Perspectives on C.I. Lewis.Peter Olen & Carl Sachs (eds.) - 2017 - Palgrave Macmillan.
    This collection is an attempt by a diverse range of authors to reignite interest in C.I. Lewis’s work within the pragmatist and analytic traditions. Although pragmatism has enjoyed a renewed popularity in the past thirty years, some influential pragmatists have been overlooked. C. I. Lewis is arguably the most important of overlooked pragmatists and was highly influential within his own time period. The volume assembles a wide range of perspectives on the strengths and weaknesses of Lewis’s contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, (...)
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  24. Sentience and Sapience: The Place of Enactive Cognitive Science in Sellarsian Philosophy of Mind.Carl Sachs - 2017 - In David Pereplyotchik & Deborah R. Barnbaum (eds.), Sellars and Contemporary Philosophy. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 104-119.
    I argue that Sellars's philosophy of perception can be reconciled with recent work in enactive cognitive science. Sellars's critical realism holds that we perceive physical objects with perceptible properties as causally mediated by how these objects affect our sensory receptors. I argue that this theory, while basically right, downplays the role of embodiment in perception: perception essentially involves sensorimotor abilities. I argue that embodied critical realism can resolve the debate between Coates and Noe.
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  25. Phenomenology vs the Myth of the Given: A Sellarsian Perspective on Husserl and Merleau-Ponty.Carl B. Sachs - 2020 - Discipline filosofiche. 30 (1):287-301.
    I argue that phenomenology should take seriously what Wilfrid Sellars calls “the Myth of the Given”. Phenomenologists have either ignored this idea or misunder-stood it. I argue that the Myth of the Given, if understood correctly, could be an objection to phenomenological method. Specifically I argue that Husserl’s static phenomenology is vulnerable to a Sellarsian criticism. However, I also show that Merleau-Ponty is not vulnerable to a Sellarsian criticism because of how he navigates the relationship between phenomenology and science. This (...)
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  26. Speculative Materialism or Pragmatic Naturalism? Sellars contra Meillassoux.Carl Sachs - 2018 - In Fabio Gironi (ed.), The Legacy of Kant in Sellars and Meillassoux. New York, NY, USA: pp. 85-105.
    Meillassoux's criticism of correlationism and the alternative he proposes are compared with Sellars's rationalistic pragmatism. I argue that Meillssoux's rejection of the principle of sufficient reason undermines the intelligibility of science itself, contra Meillassou'x own intentions. Sellars shows how to accept what is true about 'weak' correlationism within a materialistic metaphysics that upholds the PSR.
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  27.  14
    Is Sympoiesis Compatible with Phenomenology?Carl B. Sachs - 2023 - Constructivist Foundations 18 (3):376-378.
    Open peer commentary on the article “Beyond Individual-Centred 4E Cognition: Systems Biology and Sympoiesis” by Mads Julian Dengsø & Michael David Kirchhoff. Abstract: I concur with Dengsø and Kirchhoff that if we are to ground cognition more deeply in contemporary biology, we need to focus on the organism-environment relationship as the unit of biological explanation most relevant to cognitive science. This entails questioning the individualistic bias that has pervaded 4E cognitive science. However, can we overcome that bias while retaining a (...)
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  28.  86
    The ideology of modernity and the Myth of the Given.Carl Sachs - 2015 - Philosophy and Social Criticism 41 (3):249-271.
    In his most recent work, McDowell argues that the oscillation between the Myth of the Given and coherentism can be avoided only by an ‘equipoise’ between the objective and the subjective. However, I argue that Adorno’s ‘cognitive utopia’ is a genuine 4th option distinct from equipoise and from the oscillation between the Myth of the Given and coherentism. McDowell’s inability to acknowledge the cognitive utopia is traced to his overly abstract conception of the disenchantment of nature, in contrast to Adorno’s (...)
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  29. Rorty’s Aversion to Normative Violence: The Myth of the Given and the Death of God.Carl B. Sachs - 2017 - Contemporary Pragmatism 14 (3):277-291.
    Among the deeper strata of Rorty’s philosophy is what I call his aversion to normative violence. Normative violence occurs when some specific group presents itself as having a privileged relation to reality. The alternative to normative violence is recognizing that cultural politics has priority over ontology. I trace this Rortyan idea to its origins in Nietzsche and Sellars. Rorty’s contribution is to combine Nietzsche on the death of God and Sellars on the Myth of the Given. However, I conclude with (...)
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  30.  93
    Adorno: The Recovery of Experience (review).Carl B. Sachs - 2007 - Journal of Speculative Philosophy 21 (4):330-332.
  31.  35
    A Precis of Intentionality and the Myths of the Given.Carl Sachs - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (4):547-551.
    This precise provides an synopsis of my book "Intentionality and the Myths of the Given" (Routledge 2014). I describe the problem of intentionality in terms of the need to (1) do justice to both discursive intentionality (the intentionality of 'sapient' thought and talk) and somatic or bodily intentionality while also (2) avoiding the various Myths of the Given, including the epistemic and semantic Myths. I locate an early version to accomplish this project in C. I. Lewis. The argument shows why (...)
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  32.  33
    Joseph K. Schear (ed.) , Mind, Reason, and Being-in-the-World: The McDowell-Dreyfus Debate . Reviewed by.Carl Sachs - 2014 - Philosophy in Review 34 (3-4):167-170.
    Here I review the essays by McDowell, Dreyfus, and many others edited by Schear for "The McDowell/Dreyfus Debate". Topics include the relation between conceptuality and "non-conceptual content", the role of embodied coping in human life, the extent of continuity and discontinuity between humans and other animals, and the legacies of German Idealism and phenomenology.
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  33.  44
    Response to Critics: Sapience and Sentience Reconsidered.Carl Sachs - 2016 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 24 (4):575-579.
  34.  60
    Response to ‘Somatic Intentionality Bifurcated: A Sellarisan Response to Sachs’s Merleau-Pontyan Account of Intentionality.Carl B. Sachs - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):562-565.
    Christia (2015) argues that my criticism of Sellars -- that for Sellars, all intentionality is what I call "discursive intentionality" -- relies on a misunderstanding of Sellarsian intuitions (see Sachs 2014). Here I respond to Christias by pointing that that while is correct that Sellars has a distinction between full-blown linguistic intentionality and perceptual takings, Sellars's theory of perceptual takings cannot do justice to the figure/ground structure of embodied perception stressed by Merleau-Ponty.
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  35.  51
    Normativity, Lifeworld, and Science in Sellars’ Synoptic Vision: by Dionysis Christias, London, Palgrave Macmillan, 2023, vii + 321 pp., €128.39 hbk, €96.29 Ebook, ISBN 978-3-031-27025-3; ISBN 978-3-031-27026-0 (eBook). https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-031-27026-0. [REVIEW]Carl B. Sachs - 2023 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 31 (5):739-744.
    Once upon a time, academic philosophy in the Global North was characterized by a dichotomy between ‘analytic philosophy’ and ‘Continental philosophy.’ This distinction often determined not just one...
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  36.  41
    The Single-Minded Animal: Shared Intentionality, Normativity, and the Foundations of Discursive Cognition. [REVIEW]Carl B. Sachs - 2022 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 30 (4):446-452.
    Stovall’s overall project in The Single-Minded Animal is to develop a new theory of discursive normativity: our ability to judge what we ought to think and what we ought to do according to rules. His account draws on primate psychology, cognitive science, and recent work in possible world semantics to flesh out an account of what it is to engage in rational choice.
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  37.  33
    Autonomy After Auschwitz: Adorno, German Idealism, and Modernity. [REVIEW]Carl Sachs - 2015 - International Journal of Philosophical Studies 23 (4):595-599.