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Józef BremerCorresponding authorORCID id

Wilfrid Sellars' Semantic Solution of the Mind-Body Problem

5 – 2000, pages 177-199
Date of online publication: 30 November 2020
Date of publication: 30 November 2000


In his philosophical works Wilfrid Sellars (1912-1989) - like Ludwig Wittgenstein - clearly distinguishes the domain of philosophy from that of empirical sciences. Within the framework of this differentiation he
insists on a further sharp distinction between the concepts of empirical or factual linguistics and those of pure semiotic. It is quite clear - thus Sellars's example - that formal logic and pure mathematics are not
empirical sciences nor do they constitute branches of any such science. This distinction was historically gained from the development of pure syntax. According to Sellars, pure syntaxis concerned with „rules
defining the formal structure of calculi rather than languages'' (Sellars, PPE 182). In a syntactic system understood in this sense we use neither the concepts of designation or truth, nor of verifiability or meaningfulness. The concepts used in logic and mathematics - taken as examples of such systems - are clarified through identification with concepts which occur in the formation and transformation of definitive rules of calculi. In this context, logic and mathematics are normative rather than factual sciences. The basis of their norms is grounded in humanly conceived rules.

Cite this article

Bremer, Józef. "Wilfrid Sellars' Semantic Solution of the Mind-Body Problem." Forum Philosophicum 5 (2000): 177–99. doi:10.35765/forphil.2000.0501.8.