The Eyes Don’t Have It: Fracturing the Scientific and Manifest Images
Wilfrid Sellars famously argued that we find ourselves simultaneously presented with the scientific and manifest images and that the primary aim of philosophy is to reconcile the competing conceptions of ourselves and our place in the world they offer. I first argue that Sellars’ own attempts at such a reconciliation must be judged a failure. I then go on to point out that Sellars has invited us to join him in idealizing and constructing the manifest and scientific images by conflating a number of importantly distinct contrasts between heterogeneous forms of representation we employ and to argue that we are better off declining this invitation. Recognizing the important differences between these contrasts does not simply obviate the problems of integrating, connecting, and reconciling the various sorts of representations we have of various parts of the world and our own place within it, but it reveals as misguided the notion that there is just a single, fundamental problem of such reconciliation to be solved. It also suggests a potentially far more promising starting point for trying to satisfy the fundamental ambition Sellars attributes to philosophical inquiry itself.
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