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Volume 45 Issue 3 (July 2014), Pages 325-474

An Interpretation and Extension of Sellars's Views on the Epistemic Status of Philosophical Propositions (pages 348-371)

Abstract

This article examines Wilfrid Sellars's views on the epistemic status of philosophical propositions. It suggests that according to Sellars philosophical propositions are normative and practically oriented. They do not form a theory for the description of reality; their function is, rather, that of motivating actions which aim at changing reality. The article argues that the role of philosophical propositions can be illuminated if they are understood as a special kind of (proposed) “material” rules of inference, provided that the latter are construed as being firmly entrenched in practice. To this end, a distinction between “theoretical” and “practical” anomalies is drawn to better elucidate—and in some cases criticize and further expand—Sellars's position on the relation between the theoretical and practical dimensions of philosophical activity. In this connection, the Weberian notion of the “disenchantment of the world” is used to throw light on the relation between these two dimensions.

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