- The notes that follow were developed over the years to help my graduate and advanced undergraduate students at the University of Pittsburgh to see their way through the textual trees to the Sellarsian forest. They are meant to provide only a first take on the material, to indicate the most general outlines of the structure of the essay and of the thought behind it. To that end, many philosophically interesting issues and discussions have been brushed past. In particular, I have sedulously avoided discussing genuinely esoteric issues — such as the philosophical significance some have professed to find in the distinction between ‘red’ paragraphs and ‘green’ paragraphs. The formulations and characterizations that are provided are not intended to be definitive or authoritative. They aim to provide a place to start in reading this rich and difficult text.
- The idea for such a document, and the notes to the concluding sections, had their origins in a handout Rorty circulated for similar purposes when I was a graduate student at Princeton in the '70s. I am grateful to my colleague John McDowell, and to our former student Danielle Macbeth, for many suggestions and improvements. It should be noted, though, that where their comments evidenced substantive disagreements about what Sellars is (and ought to be) saying — concerning in particular the intricacies of ‘looks’ talk in relation to reports of the presence of secondary qualities, and the various theses and commitments involved in scientific realism — I have stuck to my own readings. The errors that remain, both those of omission and of commission, should be charged to my account alone.
Text Colour Conventions (see disclaimer)
- Blue: Text by me; © Theo Todman, 2019
- Mauve: Text by correspondent(s) or other author(s); © the author(s)