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Nelson Goodman

(1906—1998)


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(1906–98)

American philosopher. Born in Massachusetts and educated at Harvard, Goodman was an art dealer in Boston from 1929–41, and held positions at Pennsylvania and Brandeis before becoming professor at Harvard in 1968. Goodman is associated with an extreme nominalism, or mistrust of any appeal to a notion of the similarity between two things, when this is thought of as independent of our linguistic propensities to apply the same term to them. His earliest work, The Structure of Appearance (1951), is a development of the reductionist programme of Carnap's Aufbau. In his later writings he has expressed what appears to be a radical idealism, espousing the view that there are as many different ‘versions’ or ‘worlds’ as there are human narrative and artistic creations. Goodman's other main works are Fact, Fiction, and Forecast (1954), Languages of Art (1969), and Ways of Worldmaking (1978). See also Goodman's paradox.

Subjects: Philosophy


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