NATURE AND NORMS IN A STEREOSCOPIC VIEW
27-28 May 2022
MTA BTK Lendület Morals and Science Research Group
Danielle Macbeth (Haverford College)
Willem deVries (University of New Hampshire)
Michael Esfeld (University of Lausanne)
David Landy (San Francisco State University)
Peter Olen (Lake-Sumter State College)
James O'Shea (University College Dublin)
Wilfrid Sellars is arguably one of the most important philosophers of the second half of the 20th century. His writings have influenced the views of many philosophers with different metaphilosophical backgrounds, from ontology through philosophy of language to philosophy of mind. Opinions, of course, differ as to what exactly makes a position or attitude Sellarsian in these philosophical areas of study, and what was the stance of Sellars himself regarding scientific realism, empiricism, conceptual frameworks or the mental.
The leitmotif of our conference is Sellars’s critique of logical atomism and positivism and the question of what exactly is “Sellars’s role in bringing about the collapse of sense data empiricism” (Rorty’s introduction to EPM). This question, however, is intertwined with a broader and more familiar distinction of Sellars, the distinction of the manifest and the scientific image. And although Sellars gives ontological priority to the descriptive image of nature expressed in theories, he also considers the essentially norm-governed manifest image methodologically and epistemically ineliminable. This broadening of the theme also opens up a wide range of topics of Sellars’ thought. We would therefore welcome papers on all areas of Sellars’s philosophy.
There is one more dimension of Sellars’s thinking that we should highlight, namely that Sellars’s writings are pervaded “through and through” with allusions to the history of philosophy as Sellars saw his own philosophy as a contribution to a philosophical dialogue that spans the ages. Accordingly, the Sellarsian attitude should not be confined to contemporary issues and there may be ample scope for Sellarsian interpretations in the history of philosophy. We would also encourage papers based on such an approach.
This is by no means a representative list of possible Sellarsian or Sellarsian-related topics:
- what is the role of philosophy, how it is related to science
- scientific realism and anti-realism
- the role of models in theory construction
- Sellarsian ideas in philosophy of mind (fictionalism, realism, "sensa", introspection)
- the relationship between the manifest and the scientific image
- the difference in ontology and in principles of conceptual frameworks, their significance in addressing different philosophical issues
- the Sellarsian interpretation of the concepts of person and we-intentionality
- Sellars and the history of philosophy
We invite abstracts – roughly 500 words, excluding references – of short papers, suitable for a 25-30 minutes presentation. Abstracts should be prepared for blind review and include the title of the paper.
Depending on the state of the pandemic, the event will take place in Budapest, Hungary. Should the organization of an in-person conference not be possible, it will be held online of which all participants will be informed in due time.