A Myth to Kill a Myth? On McDowell's Interpretation of Sellars' Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind



According to McDowell, in Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind the myth of Jones has the purpose of completing the account of experience that Sellars needs to argue against traditional empiricism. In particular, on McDowell's view the myth of Jones should explain how to conceive of non-inferentially knowable experiences as containing propositional claims. This article argues that the myth of Jones does not succeed in providing such an account, especially on McDowell's own terms: assuming McDowell's epistemological distinction between inferential and non-inferential knowledge, it turns out that in Sellars' thought experiment perceptual experiences can contain propositional claims only at the price of being known inferentially rather than non-inferentially. Therefore McDowell's Sellars' attack fails against traditional empiricism.