### Ideas from 'The Structure of Appearance' by Nelson Goodman [1951], by Theme Structure

green numbers give full details    |     back to texts     |     unexpand these ideas

###### 4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 5. Conceptions of Set / a. Sets as existing
 15510 Classes are a host of ethereal, platonic, pseudo entities
 Full Idea: I will not willingly use apparatus that peoples the world with a host of ethereal, platonic, pseudo entities. From: Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951], II.2), quoted by David Lewis - Parts of Classes 2.1 A reaction: This represents the big gap that opened up with Goodman's former comrade in arms, Quine. Lewis quotes it in order to ask whether he means ethereal or platonic, as they are very different. I sympathise with Goodman.
###### 4. Formal Logic / F. Set Theory ST / 8. Critique of Set Theory
 9920 Two objects can apparently make up quite distinct arrangements in sets
 Full Idea: Goodman argues that the set or class {{a}},{a,b}} is supposed to be distinct from the set or class {{b},{a,b}}, even though both are ultimately constituted from the same a and b. From: report of Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951]) by JP Burgess / G Rosen - A Subject with No Object I.A.2.a A reaction: I'm with Goodman all the way here, even though it is deeply unfashionable, particularly in the circles I move in. If there are trillion grains of sand on a beach, how many sets are we supposed to be committed to?
###### 4. Formal Logic / G. Formal Mereology / 1. Mereology
 10657 The counties of Utah, and the state, and its acres, are in no way different
 Full Idea: A class (counties of Utah) is different neither from the individual (state of Utah) that contains its members, nor from any other class (acres of Utah) whose members exhaust the whole. For nominalists, distinction of entity means distinction of content. From: Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951], p.26), quoted by Achille Varzi - Mereology 3.1 A reaction: This is a nice credo for the nominalist version of mereology. You can still have a mereology that commits you to the wholes as well as the parts. Cf. Lewis in Idea 10660.
###### 8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 2. Resemblance Nominalism
 7956 If all and only red things were round things, we would need to specify the 'respect' of the resemblance
 Full Idea: According to Goodman's 'companionship difficulty', resemblance nominalism has a problem if, say, all and only the red things were the round things, because we cannot distinguish the two different respects in which the things resemble one another. From: report of Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951]) by Cynthia Macdonald - Varieties of Things Ch.6 A reaction: Goodman opts for extreme linguististic nominalism in response to this (Idea 7952), whereas Russell opts for a sort of Platonism (4441). The current idea gives Russell a further problem, of needing a universal of the respect of the resemblance.
 7957 Without respects of resemblance, we would collect blue book, blue pen, red pen, red clock together
 Full Idea: Goodman's 'imperfect community' problem for Resemblance Nominalism says that without mention of respects in which things resemble, we end up with a heterogeneous collection with nothing wholly in common (blue book, blue pen, red pen, red clock). From: report of Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951]) by Cynthia Macdonald - Varieties of Things Ch.6 A reaction: This suggests Wittgenstein's 'family' resemblance as a way out (Idea 4141), but a blue book and a red clock seem totally unrelated. Nice objection! At this point we start to think that the tropes resemble, rather than the objects.
###### 8. Modes of Existence / E. Nominalism / 3. Predicate Nominalism
 7952 If we apply the same word to different things, it is only because we are willing to do so
 Full Idea: Predicate nominalism is the view that what all things to which the same word applies have in common is simply our willingness to apply the same word to them. From: report of Nelson Goodman (The Structure of Appearance [1951], Ch.6) by Cynthia Macdonald - Varieties of Things A reaction: This is Goodman's 'extreme nominalist' position. This seems also to be an anti-realist position, as it denies any 'joints' to nature (Idea 7953). It strikes me as daft. WHY are we willing to apply words in certain ways?