Wilfrid Sellars (1912 - 1989) geconfronteerd met Spinoza

Aanleiding ervoor dat ik een blog over de invloedrijke Amerikaanse filosoof Wilfrid Stalker Sellars maak, is het artikel dat de auteur ervan onlangs op academia.edu plaatste en waar ik graag op wijs:

Dionysis Christias, “Sellarsian Picturing in Light of Spinoza's Intuitive Knowledge.” [In: Philosophia, Philosophical Quarterly of Israel, Springer, forthcoming; First Online: 01 March 2017].  academia.edu  *)

Het is een bepaald niet eenvoudig te consumeren artikel, het vraagt gedegen kennis van het werk van zowel Sellars als Spinoza. Maar juist de confrontatie van fundamentele concepten van beide filosofen, kan helpen bepaalde van hun ideeën beter te begrijpen. Dat stelt de Griek Dionysis Christias zich ten doel.

           

Wilfrid Sellars was een belangrijk en gezaghebbend Amerikaans filosoof, die bijgedragen heeft aan de ontwikkeling van het zgn. kritisch realisme. Hij kwam uit een filosofisch nest: zijn vader was de Canadees-Amerikaanse filosoof  Roy Wood Sellars, een gezaghebbend filosofisch naturalist uit de eerste helft van de 20e eeuw. Er is heel veel over Wilfrid Sellars te zeggen, zoals kan blijken uit onderstaande bronnen. Ik doe hier slechts enige grepen.

Bekend is van hem "The Myth of the Given”: “It was traditionally (and Sellars thinks mistakenly) argued that since not all of our knowledge can be derived by inference from prior knowledge ad infinitum, there must be some basic items of knowledge which are simply ‘given’ in roughly the sense that they are (allegedly) known directly or immediately without presupposing our possession of any other knowledge. Such presuppositionless knowledge would constitute the given element in our knowledge, the rest of our knowledge being built upon that foundation.” [Aldus James R. O'Shea, Wilfrid Sellars. Naturalim with a Normtive turn. Polity Press, 2007, Introduction] Sellars heeft  vergaande kritiek op deze ‘onderbouwing’ van kennis. Sellars wants to show that this widespread idea is a myth: we have no such knowledge. [p. 279]

“manifest image” vs “scientific image”
Sellars doel was het om de algemene intuïtieve manier waarop de wereld te omschreven wordt, zoals de traditioneLe filosofie deed én wij in de common sense doen, te verzoenen met de wetenschappelijke beschrijving van de wereld: om tot een synoptische visie te komen van enerzijds zoals hIj het aanduidde, de “manifest image” met de “scientific image”.
In “manifest images” [“the ‘manifest’ image of man-in-the-world”] menen we percepties van de werkelijkheid te hebben [the framework in terms of which we ordinarily observe and explain our world], maar daarin zitten altijd intenties, verwijzingen naar andere gedachten en verschijnselen verwerkt; er zitten altijd praktische en morele claims in vervat; Sellars duidt dit ook aan als “space of reasons”.  
De “scientific images” beschrijven de wereld in termen van de theoretische natuurwetenschappen en bevatten noties als ‘oorzakelijkheid’ en theorieën over deeltjes en krachten [a new framework that claims to be a complete description and explanation of the world and its processes – ofwel komt tot een ´adequate picturing´].
Deze twee beeldvormingen vullen elkaar soms aan, maar conflicteren ook vaak met elkaar. Sellars staat echter geen  “reductive scientific realism” voor, maar is voorstander van een ”“synoptic vision” in which the descriptive and explanatory resources of the scientific image are united with the “language of community and individual intentions,” which “provide[s] the ambience of principles and standards (above all, those which make meaningful discourse and rationality itself possible) within which we live our own individual lives”

Spinoza maakte volgens Sellars dit onderscheid al.

Zo lezen we in Wilfrid Sellars, PHILOSOPHY AND THE SCIENTIFIC IMAGE OF MAN[ 1962, Reprinted in Wilfrid Sellars, Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind, [London: Routledge & Kegan Paul Ltd, 1963, pp. 1-40 - PDF – ook in Wilfrid Sellars, Science, Perception and Reality. Ridgeview Pub Co; new edition (June 1, 1991); ook in  IN THE SPACE OF REASONS. Selected Essays of Wilfrid Sellars EDITED BY Kevin Scharp & Robert B. Brandom. HARVARD UNIVERSITY PRESS, Cambridge, Massachusetts, London, England, 2007 PDF

 “[..] Spinoza, who contrasted man as he falsely conceives himself to be with man as he discovers himself to be in the scientific enterprise. It might well be said that Spinoza drew a distinction between a 'manifest' and a 'scientific' image of man, rejecting the former as false and accepting the latter as true.”

But if in Spinoza's account, the scientific image, as he interprets it, dominates the stereoscopic view (the manifest image appearing as a tracery of explainable error), the very fact that I use the analogy of stereoscopic vision implies that as I see it the manifest image is not overwhelmed in the synthesis.” [p. 8,9]

[…]

Whether the adoption of the synoptic view would transform man in bondage into man free, as Spinoza believed, or man free into man in bondage, as many fear, is a question that does not properly arise until the claims of the scientific image have been examined. [p. 18]

Ook wijdde hij nog aandacht aan Spinoza in zijn

Kant and Pre-Kantian Themes: Lectures by Wilfrid Sellars, edited by Pedro Amaral, (Ridgeview Publishing Co.; Atascadero, CA: 2002). [A transcription of Sellars' Kant lectures, plus essays on Descartes, Locke, Spinoza, and Leibniz.]

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Uit het artikel van Dionysis Christias, “Sellarsian Picturing in Light of Spinoza's Intuitive Knowledge,” citeer ik de laatste paragraaf waarin hij een samenvatting geeft.

6 Concluding Remarks

The structure of this article can be summarized as follows: It was first suggested that not only are there important structural similarities between Sellars notion of an adequate picturing of individuals by ‘basic singular statements’ and Spinoza’s intuitive knowledge of singular essences, but that, what is more, Spinoza’s account can illuminate some ‘dark’ and not so well understood features of Sellarsian picturing. However, it was pointed out that, despite first appearances, there remain some deep differences between Sellars’  and Spinoza’s philosophy, especially with regard to their notion of adequacy and the sense in which an idea can be said to ‘correspond’ with its object. Specifically, it was suggested that Spinoza confuses the ontological relation of the identity of an idea with its object (its bodily counterpart) with the semantical relation of an agreement or correspondence between an idea and its object. I argued that this confusion lies behind serious problematic features of Spinoza’s parallelism doctrine as well as his conception of the truth and adequacy of ideas as co-extensional, and I also showed how this confusion makes Spinoza’s notion of intuitive knowledge a version of the myth of the Given. Yet, it was also pointed out that Sellars’ own proposed way out of the Myth has problematic consequences by Sellars’ own lights: specifically, his sharp distinction between the conceptually shaped ‘space of reasons’ and the non-normatively structured level of picturing relations (which is precisely his proposed way out of the Myth) makes the Sellarsian vision of the ‘ stereoscopic fusion’ of the normative and the non-normative level virtually unintelligible. Finally, I argued that a certain non-standard interpretation of Spinoza’s intuitive knowledge -proposed in Baltas (2012) and based on Dreyfus’ notion of expert knowledge-, combined with a Sellars-inspired bifurcated understanding of this expert knowledge, can provide the means 1) for constructing a notion of intuitive knowledge that evades the myth of the Given, and, 2) for making sense of the claim that ‘space of reasons’ intelligibility can in principle be fused with the ‘picturing’ dimension and provide us with a single complex coherent experience of reality and our place in it.

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*) Cf. ook Dionysis Christias, “Does Brandom's 'Kant-Sellars' Thesis about Modality Undermine Sellars' Scientific Naturalism?” In: David Pereplyotchik & Deborah R. Barnbaum (Eds.), Sellars and Contemporary Philosophy. Routledge Taylor & Francis, 2017 [1.12.2016]] – academia.edu

 

Hij bracht dit als lezing, waarbij Brandom zelf aanwezig was en hem van repliek diende, cf. Youtube  

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wilfrid_Sellars

plato.stanford.edu/entries/sellars/ door Willem deVries,

Willem A. DeVries, Timm Triplett, Knowledge, Mind, and the Given: Reading Wilfrid Sellars's "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," Including the Complete Text of Sellars's Essay. Hackett Publishing, 2000 - books.google

JAY F. ROSENBERG, [ CHAPTER] 19 Wilfrid Sellars (1912-1989) 239 - 253, in: A. P. MARTINICH & DAVID SOSA [Eds.], A Companion to Analytic Philosophy. Blackwell Publishers Ltd 2001 - PDF - archive.org

James R. O'Shea, Wilfrid Sellars. Naturalim with a Normtive turn. Polity Press, 2007 - PDF - review op NDPR -

Sellars and his Legacy. Edited by James R. O'Shea. OUP, 2016