Ethics, Practical Reasoning, Agency: Sellars' Practical Philosophy

August 12-13, 2021

Grand Valley State University PEW Campus

Keynotes/Invited Speakers:

Allan Gibbard (Emeritus, University of Michigan)

Danielle Macbeth (Haverford College)

Willem A. DeVries (University of New Hampshire)

James R. O’Shea (University College, Dublin)








Confirmed Speakers:

Stefanie Dach (University of West Bohemia, Pilsen).

Kyle Ferguson (New York University)

Zachary Gabor (Harvard University)

Jeremy R. Koons (Georgetown University Qatar)

Ronald Loeffler (Grand Valley State University)

Preston Stovall (University of Hradec Králové)

Nicholas Tebben, (Towson University)

Heath White (University of North Carolina, Wilmington)

W. Sellars' Pic

. . the fundamental principles of a community, which define what is ‘correct’ or ‘incorrect’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’, ‘done’ or ‘not done’ are the most general common intentions of that community with respect to the behavior of members of the group.

Wilfrid Sellars, Philosophy and the Scientific Image of Man

Throughout his career, Wilfrid Sellars devoted much of his work to practical philosophical issues. These efforts resulted in an elaborate general theory of intentional action and practical reasoning, and an intricate ethics revolving around a theory of moral judgments as a kind of we-intention and an expressivist theory of the moral “ought.” Despite the centrality of Sellars’ practical philosophy to his overall philosophical project and deep affinities between aspects of his practical philosophy and important debates in contemporary moral and social philosophy, and the philosophy of action and practical reasoning, Sellars’ practical philosophy has thus far received relatively little scholarly attention.


The hope animating this workshop is to initiate and increase serious debate about Sellars’ practical philosophy.

Topics may include (but are not limited to):

  • Sellars’ moral expressivism.
  • Sellars’ theory of we-intention.
  • Sellars’ theory of practical reasoning and agency.
  • Sellars’ theory of practical reasoning and contemporary theories of planning.
  • Sellars’ normative ethics.
  • Contemporary moral expressivism and Sellars’ practical philosophy.
  • Contemporary discussions of collective intentionality and Sellarsian we-intentions.
  • Historical influences on Sellars’ practical philosophy.
  • Sellars' practical philosophy in relation to e.g. Royce, Hare, Frankena, Aune, Castañeda, Prichard.
  • Sellars’ contribution to 20th century analytic meta-ethics.
  • Sellars’ practical philosophy in the context of his overall philosophical vision.
  • Kantian or Hegelian themes in Sellars’ practical reasoning and morality
  • Sellars’ practical philosophy and contemporary critical theory/ neo-Hegelianism/ Kantian constructivism.

We particularly welcome submissions relating Sellars’ practical philosophy to the works of Allan Gibbard and Danielle Macbeth.


We intend to publish the papers given at this workshop as a volume, to be edited by Jeremy R. Koons (Georgetown University at Qatar) and Ronald Loeffler (Grand Valley State University). Routledge has given its preliminary endorsement of such a volume.