Wilfrid Sellars by James R. O’Shea
Daniel Fernandez gets to know Wilfrid Sellars, US Chief of Epistemology.
For the non-sellars-specialist, Robert Brandom’s recent on-line declaration that “Wilfrid Sellars is the greatest American philosopher since Charles Sanders Peirce… [and] the most profound and systematic epistemological thinker of the 20th Century” might seem rather baffling. Even though a quick glance at his disciples reads like a who’s who of contemporary American philosophers, mentioning Sellars is more likely to evoke images of a certain English actor. Thankfully this is all set to change, with the publication of four major books in the last four years devoted entirely to Wilfrid Sellars. Hardly merely the latest in transient academic fads, understanding Sellars instead gives much insight into the paths American philosophy took in the twentieth century. With his pioneering insights in the philosophy of mind and language and in epistemology, Sellars may also provide a glimpse of where American philosophy is heading.