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CLEA SEMINAR. Using a Myth to Kill a Myth - by Carl B. Sachs

Location: VUB Etterbeek campus - room D.1.07
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Using a Myth to Kill a Myth: Cognitive Science and the Myth of the Given

by Carl B. Sachs


The American philosopher Wilfrid Sellars has become well-known for his criticism of "the Myth of the Given". But what the Myth is, and how it should be overcome, remain controversial. In this seminar, Carl B.Sachs will argue that overcoming the Myth requires what Sellars called "an adequate psychology of the higher processes" because we need an account of the causal processes that underpin and make possible our scientific achievements. Such an account would also need to illustrate the continuity between "preconceptual patterns of behaviour" and "conceptual thinking", and between the first episodes of conceptual thinking and the subsequent development of the science of mind. At the end of "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," Sellars introduces what he calls "the Myth of Jones" but adds, "but is my myth really a myth?". Sachs will argue that Sellars's philosophy of mind requires understanding the history of the sciences of the mind, including both how science itself emerged from earlier forms of human culture and how human culture evolved from earlier forms of hominid social behaviour. 

About the Speaker:

Carl B. Sachs is Associate Professor of Philosophy at Marymount University (USA). His research interests include philosophy of mind, philosophy of nature, American pragmatism, and the Frankfurt School of critical theory. He has published articles on Sellars, Rorty, C. I. Lewis, McDowell, Adorno, and Merleau-Ponty. He is the author of "Intentionality and the Myths of the Given" (Routledge 2015) and a founding member of the Wilfrid Sellars Society.


The CLEA seminars are taking place simultaneously at the VUB campus in Etterbeek, Brussels, and online (via Zoom) and are open to everyone interested!

When. Friday November 18, 2022 from 14:00 until 16:00h

Where (live). VUB campus Etterbeek, room D.1.07

Online. You can also follow online via Zoom:

Carl Sachs seminar 10.02.2023