Synopses & Reviews
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.
Quite possibly the best book by a philosopher in the last twenty years. It changed, probably permanently, the way we think about the problem of induction, and hence about a constellation of related problems like learning and the nature of rational decision. This is the work of contemporary philosophy that I would most like to have written. J. A. Fodor
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.
About the Author
Nelson Goodman is Professor of Philosophy, Emeritus, Harvard University.Hilary Putnam is Cogan University Professor Emeritus at Harvard University.
Table of Contents
Foreword To The Fourth Edition
by Hilary Putnam Introductory Notes
Introduction to the First Edition, 1954
Note to the Third Edition, 1973
Note to the Fourth Edition, 1983
I. The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals
1. The Problem in General
2. The Problem of Relevant Conditions
3. The Problem of Law
II. The Passing of The Possible
1. Foreword: On the Philosophic Conscience
5. The Passing
III. The New Riddle of Induction
1. The Old Problem of Induction
2. Dissolution of the Old Problem
3. The Constructive Task of Confirmation Theory
4. The New Riddle of Induction
5. The Pervasive Problem of Projection
IV. Prospects For A Theory of Projection
1. A New Look at the Problem
2. Actual Projections
3. Resolution of Conflicts
4. Presumptive Projectibility
5. Comparative Projectibility
6. Survey and Speculations