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Wilfrid Sellars: Naturalism with a Normative Turn (Key Contemporary Thinkers) [Hardcover]

James O'Shea

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Book Description

April 23, 2007 0745630022 978-0745630021 1
The work of the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars continues to have a significant impact on the contemporary philosophical scene. His writings have influenced major thinkers such as Rorty, McDowell, Brandom, and Dennett, and many of Sellars basic conceptions, such as the logical space of reasons, the myth of the given, and the manifest and scientific images, have become standard philosophical terms. Often, however, recent uses of these terms do not reflect the richness or the true sense of Sellars original ideas. This book gets to the heart of Sellars philosophy and provides students with a comprehensive critical introduction to his lifes work.

The book is structured around what Sellars himself regarded as the philosophers overarching task: to achieve a coherent vision of reality that will finally overcome the continuing clashes between the world as common sense takes it to be and the world as science reveals it to be. It provides a clear analysis of Sellars groundbreaking philosophy of mind, his novel theory of consciousness, his defense of scientific realism, and his thoroughgoing naturalism with a normative turn. Providing a lively examination of Sellars work through the central problem of what it means to be a human being in a scientific world, this book will be a valuable resource for all students of philosophy.

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Editorial Reviews

Review

"Besides providing an introduction to Sellars' philosophy, Wilfrid Sellars also provides a succinct and illuminating biographical sketch of a man raised in an intensely intellectual environment."
Philosophy Now

"I know that a review without any critical comments looks like an apology rather than a real review ... and to my embarrassment, there is little I can say by way of criticism about James O'Shea's book. The depth and colorfulness of the depiction of Sellars' philosophy as presented by O'Shea [is] remarkable."
Erkenntnis

"Not only does this book present a comprehensive picture of Sellars?s philosophical system in its breadth, its depth and subtlety, it does so with a freshness and lucidity that I have not seen before in commentaries on Sellars, including my own."
Tom Vinci, Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews

"A pellucid introduction to the systematic thought of one of the deepest, most important, and least understood of twentieth-century philosophers."
Robert Brandom, University of Pittsburgh

"Jim O'Shea's compact book is an extremely valuable addition to the burgeoning literature on the philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars, presenting the essential elements of his dialectically intricate work in a relatively brief and eminently readable form. The book offers clear and accessible accounts of many of Sellars' most challenging ideas, embedded in a lucid expository structure that captures and effectively conveys the deeply systematic character of his philosophical vision. O'Shea insightfully traces the implications of Sellars' "naturalism with a normative turn" for the innovative conceptions of meaning, knowledge, representation, and truth in terms of which he undertook to reconcile our "manifest image" of ourselves as unitary subjects of sensation, thought, and action with the continually-developing "scientific image" of a world composed only of imperceptible impersonal entities and forces."
Jay F. Rosenberg, University of North Carolina

Book Description

The work of the American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars continues to have a significant impact on the contemporary philosophical scene. His writings have influenced major thinkers such as Rorty, McDowell, Brandom and Dennett, and many of Sellars' basic conceptions such as the 'logical space of reasons', the 'myth of the given', and the 'manifest and scientific images' have become standard philosophical terms. Often, however, recent uses of these terms do not reflect the richness or the true sense of Sellars' original ideas. This book gets to the heart of Sellars' philosophy and provides students with the first critical introduction to his life's work.The book is structured around what Sellars himself regarded as the philosopher's overarching task: to achieve a coherent vision of reality that will finally overcome the continuing clashes between the world as common sense takes it to be and the world as science reveals it to be. It provides a clear analysis of Sellars' groundbreaking philosophy of mind, his novel theory of consciousness, his defence of scientific realism, and his comprehensive naturalism with a normative turn. Providing a lively examination of Sellars' work through the central problem of what it means to be a human being in a scientific world, this book will be a valuable resource for all students of philosophy.

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