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By Wilfrid Sellars

An important paintings by way of considered one of America's maximum twentieth-century philosophers, Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain is either the epitome of Wilfrid Sellars' whole philosophical procedure and a key record within the heritage of philosophy. First released in essay shape in 1956, it helped lead to a sea switch in analytic philosophy. It broke the hyperlink, which had certain Russell and Ayer to Locke and Hume--the doctrine of "knowledge via acquaintance." Sellars' assault at the delusion of the Given in Empiricism and the Philosophy of brain used to be a decisive movement in turning analytic philosophy clear of the foundationalist reasons of the logical empiricists and raised doubts concerning the very inspiration of "epistemology."

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Sample text

A young man, whom 1 shall call John, works in a necktie shop. He has learned the use of color words in the usual way, with this exception. I shall suppose that he has never looked at an object in other than standard conditions. , and such of his linguistic peers as happen to be present nod their heads approvingly. I>et us suppose, now, that at this point in the story, electric lighting is invented. His friends and neighbors rapidly adopt this new means of illumination, and wrestle with the prob­ lems it presents.

Is directly known to be . ” may fail to keep this fact in mind when putting this expression to use —for example, by devel­ oping the idea that physical objects and persons alike are patterns of sense contents. In such a specific context, it is possible to forget that sense contents, thus introduced, are essentially sense data and not merely items which exemplify sense qualities. Indeed, one may even lapse into thinking of the sen sin g ot sense contents, the givenness of sense data, as non-epistem ic facts.

15. ” It occurs to us that perhaps in learning to say "This tie looks green” when in the shop, he has learned to make a new kind of report. Thus, it might seem as though his linguistic peers have helped him to notice a new kind of objective fact, one which, though a relational fact involving a perceiver, is as logically independent of the beliefs, the con­ E mpiri cism and t h e P h i l o s o p h y o f Mind 39 ceptual framework of the perceiver, as the fact that the necktie is blue; but a m inim al fact, one which it is safer to report because one is less likely to be mistaken.

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