Nelson Goodman was a recent (died in 1998) American philosopher who was active in the art community (owned a gallery for a while, was a notable patron). Though he was initially known for his neo-pragmatist (he co-wrote a book with Quine) works in epistemology, later in life he turned towards the philosophy of art, which he saw as a branch of epistemology, in that artworks, like scientific and philosophical theories, employ conceptual schemes and symbol systems and require interpretation to be understood.
We'll be discussing his book Ways of Worldmaking (1978), a collection of essays about the point of intersection between conceptions of artistic method and general theories of knowledge and language. What's the relationship between style and content? What makes a good rendering? How can one painting quote another? How does painting communicate apparent motion? I'm not sure at this point which chapters our discussion will focus on, but it's all interesting.
You can check out the table of contents and read the entire book online here.
Interesting selection, look forward to paging through as well as listening to what you guys have to say. Other than various citations here and there my only taste of Goodman was in Boghossian’s (*excellent*) Fear of Knowledge, which struck me as a knock-down rebuttal. Or at least as close as you get in this game.
Wes Alwan says
Hi w — I read Fear of Knowledge some time ago and thought it was excellent as well; we’ll review what he has to say about Goodman before the podcast.
Mark Linsenmayer says
Just reading the intro of the Boghossian, it doesn’t seem relevant. Goodman is not a relativist about matters of fact and is not going to say that unwarranted denials of well-established science are in any sense “equally valid” to what they are objecting to.
I think we’ll be concentrating more on the aesthetic stuff in there regardless, but we’ll see. We’ll do Rorty eventually, which Bodhossian is explicitly aimed at.
Mark Linsenmayer says
On further reading of both Goodman and Boghossian, it’s more complicated than I made it seem. So far, it looks like B. doesn’t capture G’s point well enough to dispute it, and G’s stance is different enough from Rorty’s that the detail that B. goes into about Rorty doesn’t totally apply to Goodman, and even re. Rorty, it doesn’t seem to me that B. really gets it. Anyway, the B. is a good read and puts some things into focus, though I’m hoping our Goodman discussion focuses less on issues related to the pragmatist theory of truth and more on aesthetics. It’s happening this evening, so we’ll see.