Myth of the Given
In his 1956 work, ‘Empiricism and the Philosophy of Mind’, Wilfrid Sellars the American philosopher postulates his doctrine ‘The Myth of the Given’. According to Sellars, senses inform the mind and the mind conceptualizes the sensory experience. Even though the experience of the senses and the conceptualization of the mind are not the same thing, Sellars finds a holistic solution to this problem saying that the mind intricately realizes the sensory experience and brings out the knowledge from a larger system of concepts. By extending the mind-body-brain-thought problems to his future Functionalist doctrine, Sellars envisions that word and thought have implications and gist. By prompting a German word ‘Dreieckig’ which means ‘Triangularity’, Sellars argues that the functional role of an abstract object is similar to the English word ‘Triangular’; hence a thought has verbal and non-verbal implications.
The anecdotes in thought patterns are the ‘myths of the mind’ of Graham Gillmore, Ebenezer Singh and Jason Wallengren, the artists whose sensory experiences spring from three different geographical planes. Graham builds his semantic symbols from Winlaw, British Columbia, Ebenezer paints his pictorial dialogues from Brooklyn, New York and Jason generates his thought diagrams from Nuremberg, Germany. The commonality in their experiences could easily be the functionalist idiom annotated by Wilfrid Sellars. Addressing the cornucopia of political, social and personal dogmatic patterns that besieges the thought process, the three artists spontaneously borrow their intricate statements from the system of concepts that pre-exist in the physical and the mythical realm.