Men discuss Sellars

Oh look!  It’s a book on Sellars.  By men.


Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism, and Realism is the first study of its kind to address a range of realist and idealist views inspired by psychological nominalism. Bringing together premier analytic realists and distinguished defenders of German idealism, it reveals why psychological nominalism is one of the most important theories of the mind to come out the 20th century.

The theory, first put forward by Wilfrid Sellars, argues that language is the only means by which humans can learn the types of socially shared practices that permit rationality. Although wedded to important aspects of German idealism, Sellars’ theory is couched in bold realist terms of the analytic tradition. Those who are sympathetic to German idealism find this realist’s appropriation of German idealism problematic. Wilfrid Sellars, Idealism and Realism thus creates a rare venue for realists and idealists to debate the epistemic outcome of the mental processes they both claim are essential to experience. Their resulting discussion bridges the gap between analytic and continental philosophy.

In providing original and accessible chapters on psychological nominalism, this volume raises themes that intersect with numerous disciplines: the philosophy of mind, philosophy of language, epistemology, and metaphysics. It also provides clarity on arguably the best available account of why humans can reason, be self-aware, know, and act as agents.

Table of contents

Abbreviations of Sellars’ Texts
Introduction: Psychological Nominalism and German Idealism, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA
Part I: Psychological Nominalism and Realism
1. “Psychological Nominalism” and the Given, from Abstract Entities to Animal Minds, James R. O’Shea, University College Dublin, Ireland 
2. Hegel and Sellars’ “Myth of Jones”: Can Sellars have more in common with Hegel than Rorty and Brandom suggest?, Paul Redding, University of Sydney, Australia
3. The Metaphysics of Sensation: Psychological Nominalism and the Reality of Consciousness, Ray Brassier, American University of Beirut, Lebanon 
4. Language, Norms, and Linguistic Norms, Willem deVries, University of New Hampshire, USA
Part II: Psychological Nominalism and Idealism
5. On the Pittsburgh School, Kant, Hegel, and Realism, Tom Rockmore, Peking University, China
6. Reading Wilfrid Sellars’ “Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man,” with Robert Brandom
at One’s Side, Joseph Margolis Temple University, USA
7. A Kantian Critique of Sellars’ Transcendental Realism, Johannes Haag, Universität Potsdam, Germany
8. Psychological Nominalism and Conceptual Relativism: an Idealist’s Take, Patrick J. Reider, University of Pittsburgh, USA