Article ID: CBB833195589

On Sellars' Exam Question Trilemma: Are Kant's Premises Analytic, or Synthetic a priori, or a posteriori? (2019)


Wilfrid Sellars argued that Kant’s account of the conceptual structures involved in experience can be given a linguistic turn so as to provide an analytic account of the resources a language must have in order to be the bearer of empirical knowledge. In this paper I examine the methodological aspects of Kant’s transcendental philosophy that Sellars took to be fundamental to influential themes in his own philosophy. My first aim here is to clarify and argue for the plausibility of what I claim is Sellars’ interpretation of Kant’s ‘analytic’ transcendental method in the first Critique, based ultimately on non-trivial analytic truths concerning the concept of an object of our possible experience. Kant’s ‘transcendental proofs’ thereby avoid a certain methodological trilemma confronting the candidate premises of any such proof, taken from Sellars’ 1970s undergraduate exam question on Kant. In part II of the essay I conclude by highlighting in general terms how Kant’s method, as interpreted in the analytic manner explained in part I, was adapted by Sellars to produce some of the more influential aspects of his own philosophy, expressed in terms of what he contends is their sustainable reformulation in light of the so-called linguistic turn in twentieth-century philosophy.

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Article Gabriele Gava (2019) What is Kant Good for? Making Sense of the Diversity in the Reception of Kant's Philosophical Method. British Journal for the History of Philosophy (pp. 243-254). unapi

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Authors & Contributors
Lefèvre, Wolfgang
DeVries, Willem A.
Fedi, Laurent
Salanskis, Jean-Michel
Olen, Peter
Gabbey, Alan
British Journal for the History of Philosophy
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science
Acta Philosophica
Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part C: Studies in History and Philosophy of Biological and Biomedical Sciences
Historical Studies in the Natural Sciences
Metascience: An International Review Journal for the History, Philosophy and Social Studies of Science
Oxford University Press
Kluwer Academic
Hackett Publishing Company
Presses Universitaires de France
ENS Editions
Philosophy of science
Kant, Immanuel
Sellars, Wilfrid
Leibniz, Gottfried Wilhelm von
Newton, Isaac
Clarke, Samuel
Alembert, Jean le Rond d'
Time Periods
20th century
18th century
19th century
20th century, early
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry

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