Paper presented at the New Jersey Regional Philosophy Conference (Douglas College, 1991) and at the Greater Philadelphia Philosophy Consortium: Philosophy of Science Discussion Group (University of Pennsylvania, 1992).

Wilfrid Sellars and Linguistic Idealism

Andrew Chrucky

Wilfrid Sellars wrote:

all awareness of sorts, resemblances, facts, etc., in short, all awareness of abstract entities -- indeed, all awareness even of particulars ~ is a linguistic affair.1

This passage from Sellars' famous essay, "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" has caused, I suspect, some philosophers to view Sellars as committed to linguistic idealism-the view that all awareness is linguistically mediated.

Linguistic idealism may be supported by an argument such as the following:

  1. All awareness is propositional.
  2. All propositions are composed of concepts.
  3. All concepts are linguistically mediated.
  4. All awareness is linguistically mediated. (Thesis of Linguistic Idealism)

If 'awareness' is taken broadly to include thoughts, perceptions, beliefs, and knowledge, then most critics ascribe to Sellars the thesis that awareness or thought is dependent on language as is apparent from looking over the critical literature on Sellars.

The very title of the article by Bonnie. C. Thurston, "On Sellars' Linguistic Account of Awareness," expresses this claim explicitly. She wrote: "Sellars offers an elaborate theory to the effect that all awareness is linguistic."2

Roderick Chisholm in his correspondence with Sellars,3 defended the position that the intentionality of language can be explained only by positing independently existing thoughts; implying that Sellars denied this.

Hector-Neri Castaneda in his correspondence with Sellars4 argued that Sellars could not do justice to introspective knowledge without presupposing non-linguistic thoughts; implying that Sellars did not recognize non-linguistic thoughts.

Ausonio Marras, in several papers5 argued that Sellars' account of thoughts was flawed by either an infinite regress or circularity. His alternative was to posit the existence of non-linguistic thoughts prior to language, concluding in "Rules", "we have probably moved irremediably away from Sellars in countenancing pre-linguistic, symbolic or conceptual abilities."6

Romane Clark argued in several papers7 that the range of our thoughts extends beyond our linguistic resources to express. Inspired by the philosophy of Everett Hall, he follows up his criticism of Sellars with a theory of "sensuous judgments" constituting a language of thought and perception. The implication is that Sellars denies this.

Thomas Russman writes: "Sellars denies that there can be pre-conceptual awareness of anything."8 He repeats this charge in his A Prospectus for the Triumph of Realism: "Sellars assumes throughout this attack [on the given] that there is no such thing as non-conceptual (or preconceptual) perceptual awareness."9

Robert Ackermann comes up with the following conclusion: "It would then seem that the Jones myth underlying the internalization of speech as giving rise to thought would not be compatible with the scientific image."10 Note that the implication is that thoughts do not exist for Sellars prior to language.

In general, the shared charge of Sellars' critics, with the exception of some -- notably and explicitly by William Rottschaefer ~ is that Sellars denies the existence of a pre-linguistic awareness. According to these critics, language genetically presupposes, at least, some kind of sign understanding. They would all probably agree with the following observation made by Nelson Goodman:

The linguist may be forgiven for a vocational myopia that blinds him to all symbol systems other than languages. Anyone else recognizes that gestures, nods of approval and disapproval, pointings, facial expressions, bodily demonstrations, sketches, diagrams, models, play an important role in the acquisition and inculcation of skills of all sorts; and that mastery of symbols of many of these kinds occurs before, and aids enormously, in the acquisition of language.11

The implication of this kind of criticism, if it is, directed at Sellars, is to attribute to him the belief that the necessary condition of having awareness, thoughts, and symbolic abilities is the possession of a conventional language. By contrast, all these critics, in rejecting Sellars' alleged account of thought and language, accept the existence of awareness and thought as genetically prior to language. A seeming corollary of this is the claim that we have concepts prior to language, and that we use symbols prior to language, that there are "natural signs" prior and independently of "conventional signs,"12 and, to borrow the title of Fodor's book, there is a "language of thought" prior to the language of speech.

I had similar misgivings about Sellars' position, but after reflection I would not make such interpretations of Sellars, at least not in these ambiguous, vague, and somewhat elliptical ways. I wouldn't even use the same formulations which Sellars himself actually uses about his views, and not without disambiguation, and setting the theses in a context. For example, how could Thurston, or any of the critics, make her claim be consistent with a passage from Sellars such as:

The 'linguistic model' begins to look far too narrow and specialized to capture the nature of thinking, even at the strictly human level-let alone in the sense in which animals think.14

Regardless, I grant that a limited reading of Sellars would suggest the interpretation that thought is dependent on language, especially if it is based of his notorious passage which I have cited at the beginning, and which is cited, for example, by Thurston. But a more extensive reading of Sellars would unearth such passages as: "there is a legitimate sense in which animals can be said to think."16 Obviously there is a problem of misinterpretation here which has to be resolved.


Sellars comes to grips with these misinterpretations of his position only after 1980 in his two essays "Behaviorism, Language and Meaning" and "Mental Events."17 His opening statement in "Mental Events" is:

I find that I am often construed as holding that mental events in the sense of thoughts, as contrasted with aches and pains, are linguistic events. This is a misunderstanding. What I have held is that the members of a certain class of linguistic events are thoughts. The misunderstanding is simply a case of illicit conversion, the move from 'All A is B' to 'All B is A'.18
Sellars is clearly expressing the view that there are thoughts which are independent of language. In "Behaviorism, Language and Meaning," he tells us that:

Thus viewed from the standpoint of methodology, verbal behaviorism is perfectly compatible-with the idea that there are pre-linguistic representational activities.

Indeed, the ability to have primitive representational episodes might be not only pre-linguistic, but innate.19

It is clear that Sellars does not deny pre-linguistic representational abilities, as Marras, for example, seems to contend quite explicitly.


How is this misunderstanding then to be explained? It has something to do with the way Sellars characterizes a language, and how he determines which characteristics are essential to it and which ones are not. In "Behaviorism, Language and Meaning" and "Mental Events," Sellars introduces the notion of a Representational System (RS)-of which a Language (L) is a species~by which "the organism constructs maps of itself in its environment, and locates itself and its behavior on the map."20 He adds,

Such representational systems (RS) or cognitive map-makers, can be brought about by natural selection and transmitted genetically, as in the case of bees. Undoubtedly a primitive RS is also an innate endowment of human beings. The concept of innate abilities to be aware of something as something, and hence of pre-linguistic awareness is perfectly intelligible.21
But isn't this last sentence in contradiction with, "all awareness of sorts, resemblances, facts, etc., in short, all awareness of abstract entities-indeed, all awareness even of particulars-is a linguistic affair"? Before accusing Sellars of a contradiction, the more sympathetic approach is to accuse Sellars of a carelessness of formulation and of an ambiguous use of words.

The source of the muddle lies in a failure by Sellars to remind the readers in the appropriate contexts of the distinction between a Representational System and a Language. And because he rarely wrote about thoughts with an RS context presupposed, but clearly with a L context presupposed, the result is the appearance that Sellars ascribes thoughts to language users only.22

Let me just point out some of the claims made about an RS. One claim is that the necessary condition for thought (of any type) is the possession of an RS. Another claim is that RSs are possessed by some animals and pre-linguistic children, as well as by language users. Still another claim is that an RS may be a genetic endowment.

The RS-L distinction, though formulated explicitly in "Mental Events," has precursors in Sellars' writing. The first time that Sellars made a similar distinction was in "Language, Rules and Behavior", published in 1949 -- his fourth publication. Here he made the distinction between 'tied symbol behavior' (corresponding to RS) and 'rule-regulated symbol behavior' (corresponding to L).23 In Science and Metaphysics,24 Sellars stresses the distinction between 'non-conceptual representations' and 'conceptual representations'. So the distinction seems to have been presupposed by Sellars in all his writings.

How does this distinction between RS and L shed light on the misleading passages in Sellars? Let me explain it this way. RS can be viewed as a truncated analogue of L. As such, many concepts appropriate to L will also be appropriate in an analogous manner to RS.

To make a distinction between concepts appropriate to L and RS, I will use Sellars' device of using a prefix with a word to represent the RS analogue of an L concept. In doing this, I want to point out that Sellars' own practice here is ambiguous. He uses the prefix 'ur-' in some places to designate a pre-conceptual ability;25 but at other places he uses it to designate a primitive form of a concept.26 In view of this ambiguity, I will use the prefix 'ur-', to designate a primitive concept of L, and the prefix 'rs-' to designate an analogue in RS.

Using this prefix notation, we can explain one source of the misunderstanding of Sellars by a failure on Sellars' part to stress the 'tied symbol behavior' (RS) versus 'rule-regulated symbol behavior' (L) distinction.

But another source of misunderstanding may be due to Sellars' interests. Sellars uses psychological verbs and their nominalizations, for the most part, to characterize only the behavior of humans with a language because he believes that the necessary condition for ascribing appropriate psychological states to a mature human subject is that the subject possesses a language. Thus, Sellars ascribes awareness, thoughts, knowledge, beliefs, etc. (in a primary sense) only to language users. And he denies that these ascriptions-in the primary sense-can be made to pre-linguistic animals and children. Of course Sellars' manner of speaking goes counter to a widespread linguistic practice of using psychological verbs and their nominalizations to characterize animal behavior. So the impression is left in the reader's mind that Sellars denies psychological states to pre-linguistic children and animals.

But such a conclusion is only a half-truth. For, in fact, Sellars has always claimed that psychological ascriptions can be made to pre-linguistic children and animals in a derivative, analogous manner; as is clearly presented in the following passage:

Not all 'organized behavior' is built on linguistic structures. The most that can be claimed is that what might be called 'conceptual thinking' is essentially tied to language, and that, for obvious reasons, the central or core concept of what thinking is pertains to conceptual thinking. Thus, our common--sense understanding of what sub-conceptual thinking e.g., that of babies and animals - consists in, involves viewing them as engaged in 'rudimentary' forms of conceptual thinking. We interpret their behavior using conceptual thinking as a model but qualify this model in ad hoc and unsystematic ways which really amounts to the introduction of a new notion which is nevertheless labeled 'thinking'. Such analogical extensions of concepts, when supported by experience, are by no means illegitimate. Indeed, it is essential to science. It is only when the negative analogies are overlooked that the danger of serious confusion and misunderstanding arises.27
It is clear, then, that Sellars ascribes thinking, or, more precisely, in my new terminology, 'rs-thinking' to pre-linguistic children and animals.

The conclusion which I draw from this discussion is that Sellars' ^notorious passage, namely:

all awareness of sorts, resemblances, facts, etc., in short, all awareness of abstract entities-indeed, all awareness even of particulars-is a linguistic affair.
and which can be succinctly reformulated as: All awareness is a linguistic affair, should read: All conceptual awareness is a linguistic affair; or better yet: All linguistic awareness is a linguistic affair. And this formulation would not be in conflict with the thesis: All rs-awareness is a non-linguistic affair.

Given this distinction betweem conceptual awareness and rs-awareness, the argument for linguistic idealism cannot be attributed to Sellars. Premise (1) becomes false. Two types of propositional awarenesses have to be distinguished. One type of propositional awareness is indeed linguistically mediated, and hence premises (2) and (3) are correct, and (4) follows. The other type of propositional awareness28 is not linguistically mediated, and, so (3) is false; hence, (4) does not follow.

Sellars' stance on the argument for linguistic idealism would be to interpret (1) in such a way that (4) does not follow. He claims that animals, such as rats, have propositional awareness.29 And this does not entail that they have a language. If what I am saying is true, then for Sellars there must be two species of propositional knowledge: a linguistic propositional awareness, and a non-linguistic propositional awareness.


Immediately I must qualify my position. There are various types of propositional awarenesses which are to be distinguished on the basis of the nature of the propositions involved. These could be divided into empirical and non-empirical propositions, and correspondingly empirical and non-empirical awareness. Empirical awareness could be subdivided into observational and theoretical awareness. Non-linguistic propositional awareness is to be located within the class of observational awareness; specifically within perceptual awareness; and more specifically, it must be identified with the class of basic perceptual awareness.

I will provide a sketch of such a defense.30 The pertinent moves are the following:

(a) The crucial move is to distinguish a representational system from a language. Animals, at least as developed as rats, must be credited with a representational system, but not a conventional language. If this is done, then for the case of human beings the implication is that we are in possession of a representational system in addition to a conventional language. Everything else I have to say is a ramification of this distinction.

(b) The first ramification is that we have to distinguish two uses of the word 'concept'. One use is that common in psychology. Psychologists ascribe concepts to those animals which can discriminate and generalize. In this use, an animal may have a concept without possessing a language. Let us use the neologism rs-concepts for what psychologists are describing. The prefix 'rs' is to remind us of representational systems.

By contrast, philosophers who want to use the word 'concept' to designate something peculiar to language users, deny that animals have concepts. This is true, for example, of Peter Geach and Wilfrid Sellars.31 They find the difference between ordinary representational systems and conventional languages in the occurrence of such logical connectors (syncategorematic terms) as 'not', 'or', 'if, 'and', 'because', etc. in conventional languages but not in representational systems. The distinctive feature of a conventional language, in the case of Sellars, is that a conventional language allows for logical inferences, whereas a simple representational system does not; instead it functions by principles of association. A concept is, then, defined as a word which is relevant to logical inferences. Animals, since they do not perform logical inferences, do not have concepts. Let us introduce 'l-concepts' for this use of the word 'concept' to remind us that it is dependent on the possession of language and logic.

(c) The second ramification of the representational system - conventional language distinction is that it requires crediting animals with propositional knowledge. It requires attributing to a representational system a structure which corresponds to a subject-predicate relation. A 'proposition', as I am using the term, is a class of sentences or sentence analogues which have a similar role in perceptions, inferences, and volitions. Thus a state of affairs by being analogous to a sentence is a proposition. The possession of a structure analogous to a subject-predicate form is neutral as to whether the creature has or does not have a language or l-concepts. The possession of a subject-predicate structure is a necessary, but not a sufficient condition for the possession of a language or l-concepts.

A representational system must have a sign vehicle. That sign vehicle is the sensation. And the qualitative content is the predicative component of a states of affairs.


The best elaboration and defense of the thesis that sensations are the vehicles of a representational system and that they have a subject-predicate structure is worked out, in intentional opposition to Wilfrid Sellars (ironically with Sellarsian techniques), in a series of papers by Romane Clark. He specifies his difference with Sellars by way of how they handle the following triad of claims:

  1. Perceptions are judgments [thoughts].
  2. Sense impressions are constituents of perceptions.
  3. Sense impressions are not conceptual or cognitive items.

He goes on to claim that Sellars would accept (1) and (3) but deny (2). Clark, on the other hand, accepts (1) and (2) but denies (3).32

Clark's contribution is to take Sellars' view that thoughts are analogous to speech, and to extend this analogy to sense impressions. Speech, thoughts, and perceptions are analogous in three respects: all are intentional, all have a subject-predicate form, and all are subject to reflexive, non-inferential knowledge.

The model of sense impressions ... is simply this: as predicates are to declarative sentences, as ascriptions are to assertions, as concepts are to judgments, as ascribing is to stating, so, too, sense impressions are to perceptions.... Sense impressions are the predicate "words" of perceptual, mental "assertions." . . . Thus, the occurrence of a sense impression is the predication of a sense quality to an object, and so it is in this way that-sense impressions are cognitive or conceptual elements of sensuous beliefs.33
Clark explicitly states that his analysis applies only to 'basic perceptions'.

These are basic in two senses: First, they are ascriptions of simple sensuous qualities. Second, they have no internal, logical complexity. Each is simply a (single) qualitative ascription to a (single) object of reference.34
and, "Basic perceptions we understand to be those sensuous judgments which ascribe the proper and common sensibles to what is demonstratively before one."35 Clark notes that Everett Hall had made a similar claim, except that he wrote that "perceptions are descriptive or predicative throughout." To which Sellars responded:

how [can] a pure perception. . . be a sentence, and yet be predicative throughout. . . . Must not pure perceptions contain expressions referring to an object in order to be able to characterize an object?36

To this objection Clark replies that Sellars is correct on insisting on a referring component, the reference is carried demonstratively: "It is the material occurrence of the impression in the given context which provides the demonstrative reference of that experience,"37 and he also puts it this way:

Sense impressions are rather special functions for they are defined only over a special and limited domain. They are functions taking the demonstrative references embodied in their own occurrences as arguments.

Clark adds that Sellars' perspicuous language, Jumblese, provides the ideal model for basic perceptions. In this language there are no predicate expressions; the names are simply written in different styles. For example, in Jumblese the sentence 'John is happy' could be written as 'John', where the predicate happy is conveyed by the way 'John' is written -- in some font, some size, location, degree of rotation, and such.

At this point, I would like to introduce the following regress argument for the existence of a non-linguistic subject-predicate form. If the recognition of a subject-predicate form is language dependent, then how is it possible to be aware of linguistic items themselves, as, for example, that this is the word 'red'? If the answer is that linguistic' awareness presupposes meta-linguistic awareness, then obviously meta-linguistic awareness presupposes meta-meta-linguistic awareness, and so on ad infinitum. The conclusion I draw is that a subject-predicate form of awareness does not presuppose a language.39

My last comment is that what Romane Clark has written about the intentionality of sensations seems to be compatible with Sellars' rs-awareness.


1. Wilfrid Sellars, "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind," in Science, Perception, and Reality (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1963), p. 160.

This same passage is cited by R. Rorty as evidence for the claim that Sellars denies the existence of a pre-linguistic awareness. See his Consequences of Pragmatism (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1982), p. xx. However, in Philosophy and the Mirror of Nature (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1979), pp. 182-192, Rorty notes a distinction between "awareness-as-discriminative-behavior" and "awareness as what Sellars calls being 'in the logical space of reasons, of justifying and being able to justify what one says' (p. 182)." He notes correctly that in the Sellarsian passage only the latter type of awareness is denied to pre-linguistic creatures.

2.Bonnie. C. Thurston, "On Sellars' Linguistic Account of Awareness," Synthese 66 (1986), p. 384.

3."Intentionality and the Mental (Sellars-Chisholm Correspondence) ," in Minnesota Studies in the Philosophy of Science, ed. Herbert Feigl, Michael Scriven, and Grover Maxwell, vol. 2 (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1958)

4.Sellars, Wilfrid, and Henri-Neri Castaneda. "Correspondence between Hector Castaneda and Wilfrid Sellars on Philosophy of Mind" (unpublished manuscript, 1961-1962).

5.Ausonio Marras, "On Sellars' Linguistic Theory of Conceptual Activity," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2 (1973); idem., "Reply to Sellars," Canadian Journal of Philosophy 2 (1973); idem., "Sellars on Thought and Language," Nous 7 (1973); idem., "Sellars' Behaviorism: A Reply to Fred Wilson," Philosophical Studies 30 (1976); and idem., "Rules, Meaning and Behavior: Reflections on Sellars' Philosophy of Language," in The Philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars: Queries and Extensions, ed. Joseph Pitt (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel, 1978).

6.Marras, "Rules," p. 183.

See the criticism of Marras' interpretation of Sellars by William Rottschaefer in, "Verbal Behaviorism and Theoretical Men-talism: An Assessment of the Marras-Sellars Dialogue." Philosophical Research Archives 9 (1983): 511-534.

7.Romane Clark "Sensuous Judgments," Nous 7 (1973); idem., "The Sensuous Content of Perception," in Action, Knowledge and Reality, ed. H.N. Castaneda (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1975); idem., "Sensibility and Understanding: The Given of Wilfrid Sellars," The Monist 65 (1982).

8.Thomas Russman, "The Problem of the Two Images," in The Philosophy of Wilfrid Sellars: Queries and Extensions, edited by Joseph Pitt (Dordrecht, Holland: D. Reidel, 1978), p. 92.

9.Thomas Russman, A Prospectus for the Triumph of Realism (Macon, GA: Mercer University Press, 1987), p. 8.

10.Robert Ackermann, "Sellars and the Scientific Image," Nous 7 (1973), p. 148.

11.Nelson Goodman, "The Emperor's New Ideas," in Language and Philosophy, ed. S. Hook (New York: New York University Press, 1969) ; reprinted in N. Goodman, Problems and Projects (Indianapolis: Bobbs-Merrill Company, 1972), p. 77.

12.Addis, L. , "Natural Signs," Review of Metaphysics 36 (1983): 543-568.

13.J.A. Fodor, The Language of Thought (New York: Thomas Y. Crowell Company, 1975).

14.Sellars, "The Structure of Knowledge: (1): Perception, (2): Minds, (3): Epistemic Principles," in Action, Knowledge, and Reality: Essays in Honor of Wilfrid Sellars, ed. Hector-Neri Castaneda (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Company, Inc., 1975), p. 304.

15.It is notorious because it is constantly cited by both Sellars1 critics and admirers as evidence for Sellars' alleged thesis that there are no thoughts prior to language.

16.Sellars, "The Structure of Knowledge," p. 303.

Since Thurston cites both (and only) Sellars' "Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind" and "The Structure of Knowledge" for her interpretation, it is puzzling why she doesn't try to reconcile her interpretation with this seeming counterexample. There are also the following types of clarifying passages in Sellars:

For if one ties thinking too closely to language, the acquisition of linguistic skills by children becomes puzzling in ways which generate talk about 'innate grammatical theories'. Not all 'organized behavior' is built on linguistic structures. The most that can be claimed is that what might be called 'conceptual thinking' is essentially tied to language, and that, for obvious reasons, the central or core concept of what thinking is pertains to conceptual thinking.

Sellars, "Structure," p. 303.

17.Wilfrid Sellars, "Behaviorism, Language and Meaning," Pacific Philosophical Quarterly 61 (1980): 3-30; idem, "Mental Events," Philosophical Studies 39 (1981): 325-345.

18.Sellars, "Mental Events," p. 325.

19.Sellars, "Behaviorism," p. 15.

20.Sellars, "Mental Events," p. 336.

21.Ibid., p. 336.

22.However, one commentator, William Rottschaefer, who had the benefit of reading Sellars' "Mental Events" and "Behavior, Language and Meaning," defended Sellars from Marras' accusation that Sellars denies the existence of pre-linguistic symbolic structures. See his "Verbal Behaviorism and Theoretical Mentalism," Philosophical Research Archives 9 (1983), p. 525.

23.Wilfrid Sellars, "Language, Rules, and Behavior," in John Dewey: Philosopher of Science and Freedom, ed. Sidney Hook, (New York: The Dial Press, 1949), p. 301.

24.Wilfrid Sellars, Science and Metaphysics: Variations on Kantian Themes (London: Routledge and Kegan Paul, Ltd., 1967), ch. 1 and appendix.

25.Wilfrid Sellars, "Some Reflections on Language Games," Science, Perception and Reality, p. 334.

26.Wilfrid Sellars, "Foundations for a Metaphysics of Pure Process: The Carus Lectures," The Monist 64 (1981), p. 12.

27.Sellars, "Structure of Knowledge," p. 304.

28.My use of the term 'propositional' may be misleading. What I have in mind is a knowledge of a state of affairs.

29. I have noticed a trend recently in support of something like my position. An early explicit possibility of attributing to animals propositional attitudes occurs in Chapter 3, "Belief and Language," in D.M. Armstrong, Belief, Truth, and Knowledge (London: Cambridge University Press, 1973); in Jonathan Bennett, Linguistic Behaviour (London: Cambridge University Press, 1976), and in his "Thoughful Brutes," (Presidential Address before the Eighty-third Eastern Division Meeting of the American Philosophical Association in New York City, December 29, 1987), in Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association, Supplement to Volume 62, #1, September 1988; and in Mark Richard, Propositional Attitudes: An Essay on Thoughts and How We Ascribe Them (London: Cambridge University Press, 1990), pp. 251-263.

30. A fuller defense of my position is worked out in my Ph.D. dissertation "A Critique of Wilfrid Sellars' Materialism" (Fordham University, Feb. 1990), which in essence is a critique of linguistic idealism.

31. Peter Geach, Mental Acts (New York: Humanities Press, 1957). Wilfrid Sellars, "The Language of Theories," in Science, Perception, and Reality (London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1963), especially footnotes on p. 115.

32. Romane Clark, "The Sensuous Content of Perception," in Action, Knowledge and Reality, ed. Hector-Neri Castaneda (Indianapolis: The Bobbs-Merrill Co., 1975), p. 110-111.

33. Clark, "The Sensuous Content of Perception," p. 117.

I have recently discovered that L.T. Hobhouse, writing in 1896, had defended such a primitive form of cognition (of the given) . And more interesting, had defended this position from the attacks of Hegel and Thomas Green. See his The Theory of Knowledge (London, 1896; New York: AMS Press, 1970). See Part I, esp. pp. 15-59. Criticism of Hegel occurs in the footnote on p. 32; and of Green on pp. 22-28.

34. Romane Clark, "The Sensuous Content of Perception," pp. 122-123.

35.Romane Clark, "Sensuous Judgments," Nous 7 (1973), 53.

36.Wilfrid Sellars, "The Intentional Realism of Everett Hall," The Southern Journal of Philosophy 4 (1966): 103-115. Reprinted in Philosophical Perspectives (Springfield, Illinois: Charles Thomas, Publishers, 1967), p. 110. Reprinted in two volumes by Ridgeview Publishing Company, Reseda, Cal. in 1977.

37. Ibid., 123.

38. Clark, "Sensuous Judgments," 54.

39.After I wrote this, I found the following passage:

'You learned the concept pain when you learned language,' says Wittgenstein [Phil. Inv., Sec. 384]. That is to exalt words absurdly. The use of universals both antedates the use of words and is presupposed by it; one could not use the word xcat' in one's recognition of cats unless one already recognized the mark or sound 'cat' as itself an instance of the word [Price, Thinking and Experience, p. 38]. If, in order to recognize this instance, one had to have a further word for it, then to recognize this further word one would need a still further word, and so would have to go through an infinite series of words before one recognized anything. This process is plainly needless. If so, it is because the recognition of something as the same or similar is so far from being a verbal matter that it can occur in both the race and the infant before language arises.
Brand Blanshard, Reason and Analysis (La Salle: Open Court, 1962), p.392f.