Phil. 2245: Analytic Philosophy
Analytic Philosophy:
Wilfrid Sellars
University of Pittsburgh, Fall 2009
In this course we will read Wilfrid Sellars's most important papers, other than "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind." It is assumed that students will already have read EPM.
Please Note:
The seminar will not meet on November 4.
  Course Information
  • Course syllabus

  • Seminar Meetings:

    Wednesdays, 2:00-5:00
    Wilfrid Sellars Seminar Room ("The Space of Reasons")
    1001 Cathedral of Learning

  • Instructor Information:

    Prof. Robert Brandom
    Office: 1001E CL
    Office Hours: tba and by appointment
    Phone: 412-624-5776

Most readings are collected in In the Space of Reasons: Selected Papers of Wilfrid Sellars (HUP 2008). The remainder are available for download in the "Supplementary Material" section below. Lecture notes and handouts for each week's meeting will also be posted below.
9/2/09 Introduction and Overview Lecture Notes
9/9/09 Language and Meaning I "Inference and Meaning" (1953), SoR, ch. 1
"Some Reflections on Language Games" (1954), SoR, ch. 2
Lecture Notes
Passages from "Inference and Meaning"
Passages from "Some Reflections on Language Games"
9/16/09 Language and Meaning II "Language as Thought and Communication" (1969), SoR, ch. 3
"Meaning as Functional Classification" (1974), SoR, ch. 4
Notes on "Language as Thought and Communication"
Notes on "Meaning as Functional Classification"
Recommended: Notre Dame Lectures, pp. 85-130
9/23/09 Modality "Counterfactuals, Dispositions, and Causal Modalities" (1958)
Lecture Notes
Passages from "Counterfactuals, Dispositions, and Causal Modalities"
9/30/09 Abstract Entities I "Naming and Saying" (1962), SoR, ch. 5
Lecture Notes
Seminar Notes
Note on "Naming and Saying"
10/7/09 Abstract Entities II "Grammar and Existence: A Preface to Ontology" (1960), SoR, ch. 6.
"Grammar and Existence" Topics
Passages from "Grammar and Existence"
Grammar and Existence Outline
10/14/09 Abstract Entities III "Abstract Entities" (1963), SoR, ch. 7
Recommended: Notre Dame Lectures, pp. 337-404
Lecture Notes
Notes on "Abstract Entities"
A Botanization of Abstract Entities
10/21/09 Mind and World I "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man" (1963), SoR, ch. 14
Passages from "Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man"
Lecture Notes
Recommended: Notre Dame Lectures, pp. 155-241, 313-336, 407-435
10/28/09 Mind and World II "Being and Being Known" (1960), SoR, ch.8
"The Lever of Archimedes" (1981), SoR, ch. 9
Lecture Notes
Passages from "Being and Being Known"
Passages from "The Lever of Archimedes"
11/4/09 No Class
11/11/09 Mind and World III "Some Reflections on Thoughts and Things" (1967) SoR, ch. 10
"Mental Events" (1980), SoR, ch. 11
11/18/09 Mind and World IV "Phenomenalism" (1958) SoR, ch. 12
"Identity Approach to the Mind-Body Problem" (1965), SoR, ch. 13
Recommended: Notre Dame Lectures, pp. 267-283
11/25/09 No Class (Thanksgiving)
12/2/09 Kant "Some Remarks on Kant's Theory of Experience" SoR Ch. 16
  Audio Recordings of the Seminar
An mp3 recording of each meeting of the seminar is available for download.
  Supplementary Material
  • Wilfrid Sellars, "Counterfactuals, Dispositions, and Causal Modalities" (doc)
  • Sellars, The Notre Dame Lectures, the Bootleg Version (pdf)
  • Robert Brandom, "Pragmatism, Inferentialism, and Modality in Sellars's Arguments against Empiricism" (doc)
  • Brandom, "The Centrality of Sellars's Two-Ply Account of Observation to the Arguments of 'Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind'" (doc
NB: If you have trouble opening the Notre Dame Lectures it's likely that your PDF-viewing software is out of date.
  Sellars Research Materials
  • The main Sellars research website
  • Definitive Sellars bibliography
  • Sellars papers at the Archive for Scientific Pilosophy at Pitt
  Recommended Books on Sellars
  • C.F. Delaney, ed., The Synoptic Vision: Essays on the Philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars (University of Notre Dame Press, 1977)
  • James R. O'Shea, Wilfrid Sellars: Naturalism with a Normative Turn (Polity Press, Cambridge, 2007).
  • Willem DeVries, Wilfrid Sellars (McGill-Queens University Press, 2005)
  • Paul Coates, The Metaphysics of Perception: Wilfrid Sellars, Perceptual Consciousness, and Critical Realism (Routledge, 2009)
  • Jay Rosenberg, Wilfrid Sellars: Fusing the Images (Oxford University Press, 2007)