Thesis ID: CBB001561425

An Essay Concerning Subjectivity and Scientific Realism: Some Fancies on Sellarsian Themes and Onto-politics (2007)


Garnar, Andrew Wells (Author)

Virginia Polytechnic Institute
Pitt, Joseph C.

Publication Date: 2007
Edition Details: Advisor: Pitt, Joseph C.
Physical Details: 129 pp.
Language: English

I develop a framework for making visible the impacts that science has on human subjectivity, along with demonstrating how these transformations support the existing social order. In order to develop this framework, I critique the work of Wilfrid Sellars. Sellars is one of the few analytic philosophers of science who directly addresses the connections between science and subjectivity. What makes Sellars particularly interesting is the way he sought to preserve a strong conception of normativity alongside a quasi-eliminativist scientific realism. I set the stage for my critique of Sellars by contrasting two different accounts of subjectivity, one Cartesian, the other pragmatic. I argue in favor of the pragmatic because it completely grounds the subject in the world (a point with which Sellars basically agrees). I begin my critique of Sellars by explaining his scientific realism. This is then connected to his vision of the interconnections between science and subjectivity. I then argue that Sellars' scientific realism is fundamentally incoherent, which leads his system into nihilism. From this I trace out the role that science can play with respect to subjectivity in a nihilistic world. To partially counter this nihilism, I articulate an alternative to scientific realism that is based, in part, on my pragmatic account of subjectivity. I conclude by re-appropriating elements of Sellars' philosophy, routed through my alternative scientific realism, in order to complete the framework discussed above.


Description Cited in Diss. Abstr. Int. A 69/05 (2008). Pub. no. AAT 3310179.

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Authors & Contributors
DeVries, Willem A.
Triplett, Timm
Uus, Undo
Mouzelis, Nicos
Webster, W. R.
Bostrom, Nick
History of the Human Sciences
British Journal for the Philosophy of Science
Acta Philosophica
Hackett Publishing Company
Presses Universitaires de France
Prometheus Books
Routledge India
Philosophy of science
Methodology of science; scientific method
Sellars, Wilfrid
Jeffreys, Harold
Ramsey, Frank Plumpton
Fleck, Ludwik
Weyl, Hermann
Copernicus, Nicolaus
Time Periods
20th century
18th century
20th century, early

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