Szczecin University , Poland
Spring Term 2010
Philosophy and Science: The Metaphilosophy of Wilfrid Sellars
Tadeusz Szubka is Professor and Head of the Institute of Philosophy at Szczecin University, Poland. Before moving in 2003 to Szczecin he was for many years a member of teaching staff of Faculty of Philosophy at the Catholic University of Lublin, where he also obtained his Ph.D. in 1992 and his Habilitation in 2002. He enjoyed several research fellowships in various universities and countries, including Great Britain (University of Cambridge, University of Oxford, University of Edinburgh), Australia (University of Queensland) and the USA (University of Notre Dame, University of Pittsburgh, Ohio State University).
Drawing especially upon the resources of Archives of Scientific Philosophy, Szubka would like to devote most of his time in the Center to chronological and systematic study of the metaphilosophy of Wilfrid Sellars, perspicuously expounded in his two lectures, given at the University of Pittsburgh in 1960, on philosophy and the scientific image, and alluded to and deployed in other publications and correspondence. Although in a certain respect Sellars was a paradigmatic analytic philosopher, he remained firmly attached to the traditional vision of philosophy as a systematic discipline aiming at a synoptic theory of the world and our place in it. For him the main obstacle of succeeding in this enterprise was the clash between the manifest and the scientific images of the world. Although Sellars was inclined to give precedence to the scientific image, he wanted also to retain the manifest image and somehow integrate it into his philosophical system. This moderate view was unattractive to proponents of scientific philosophy as being to concessive to the ordinary picture of the world, and unappealing to their opponents as embracing too much of scientism and naturalism. This made Sellars a philosopher of compromise, without any firm affiliation to a distinctive school or trend within analytic philosophy. Sellars was also unusual in drawing on various historical sources, from Plato to Hegel, in constructing his philosophical system. For more orthodox analytic philosophers, notorious for keeping selective and loose ties with the philosophical tradition, he has always looked in this respect as too syncretic and attached to the past.
While working on Sellarsian metaphilosophy Szubka hopes to find some time to continue his work on the relationship between analytic philosophy and pragmatism, as well as on the varieties of recent neopragmatism, with special emphasis on analytic pragmatism of Robert B. Brandom and Huw Price. He will also be attending the APA Central Division meeting, to be held in Chicago in February 2010, with a colloquium paper on Rorty’s earlier and later views on analytic philosophy.
In general Szubka is fond of pursuing his academic goals, including his teaching and research. However, he hates his administrative duties, which have firmly convinced him that people are more often mean than it usually supposed, and that philosophers are more autistic and unworldly than it is widely assumed. In his spare time Szubka enjoys a form of bloodless hunting: picking edible wild mushrooms.