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Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic--a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate.
How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that are warranted to be distinguished from those that are not? Goodman shows that these questions resist formal solution and his demonstration has been taken by nativists like Chomsky and Fodor as proof that neither scientific induction nor ordinary learning can proceed without an a priori, or innate, ordering of hypotheses.
In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims. The controversy surrounding these unsolved problems is as relevant to the psychology of cognitive development as it is to the philosophy of science. No serious student of either discipline can afford to misunderstand Goodman's classic argument.
Foreword To The Fourth Edition
by Hilary Putnam
Posted February 13, 2003
This book is clearly written and undeniably rigorous. In his first chapters, Goodman examines problems in counterfactual conditionals and sets up the problem of what he calls 'projectibility'. But, it is the chapter entitled "The New Riddle of Induction" where the book takes off. In this chapter, Goodman takes the reader through, first, the common misconceptions of the problem of induction. The way that Goodman perceives our inductive system is unique and refreshingly simplistic. (John Rawls later names Goodman's picture 'reflective equilibrium'.) Next, Goodman takes you through a journey of rule-finding for our inductive system; which includes examining Hempel's famous Raven's Paradox. Goodman ends the journey with discovering his own paradox, which he calls his 'Grue' argument. He demonstrates that predicates like 'grue' are the lingering problem with constructing a valid inductive system. In his last chapter, Goodman attempts to resolve the grue dilemma. It is in this chapter that we see the full philosophic mind of Goodman. The depth and relentless thought that Goodman puts into this chapter will forever 'entrench' his name in the philosophic discipline.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.