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Philosophy Research Archives

Volume 14, 1988/1989

Stephen Friedman
Pages 425-453

Ultimate Homogeneity
A Dialog

Throughout his metaphysical writings, Sellars maintains that current microtheory, with its particulate paradigm, can never depict adequately---even in principle---a universe populated with sentient beings like us. Why not? Experience for us involves the presence of an occurrent perceptual core of ultimately homogeneous secondary qualities. Sellars’ “Grain Argument” demonstrates (1) that physical objects qua clouds of discrete particles cannot instantiate such qualities and (2) that they cannot be assigned to an intrasentient realm construed as clusters of discrete, particulate neurons. Neither, contends Sellars, can they simply be eliminated from the inventory of any theory claiming to be both empirical and conceptually independent of common sense. And since common sense fails to provide an adequate picture of reality, our only course is to abandon the particulate paradigm of current microtheory in favor of a process paradigm. This paper traces and develops, in dialog form, these arguments.