Foucault, Sellars, and the “conditions of possibility” of science
(2022) Philosophy and Social Criticism
Foucault and Sellars are representatives of conflicting philosophical traditions: whereas Foucault famously insisted that “power is everywhere,” Sellars proposed the well-known scientia mensura dictum. The tension between the two perspectives seems to be so strong that each of them ends up reducing the other to an epiphenomenal illusion. In this article, I shall attempt to show that the works of Sellars and Foucault are not necessarily irreconcilable. The common ground for this dialogue is what I shall define as a historico-practical conception of science. I will build this concept by tracing a connection between the Foucauldian notion of “conditions of possibility” of science and Sellars’s thesis about the “indispensability” of the manifest image. Finally, I will argue that this conception of science problematizes the clash between the scientific and manifest images of the world, paving the way for a different relationship between naturalism and critical theory. © The Author(s) 2022.
critical theory; Foucault; naturalism; science; Sellars