Goodman, Nelson. Ways of Worldmaking

 

In this book, Goodman joins the longstanding philosophical conversations about truth and reality, ultimately advocating that rather buying into the notion of Truth about a world already formed, we need to realize that we remake the world with various right and even conflicting versions of the worlds already on hand.  Goodman reminds us that the arts make and remake the world and thus must be taken just as seriously as the sciences as “modes of discovery, creation, and enlargement of knowledge in the broad sense of advancement of understanding” (102). 

 

Goodman identifies various ways in which we remake the world: 

 

a.)   composition and decomposition

b.)   Weighting or emphasis or framing

c.)   Ordering

d.)   Deletion and supplementation—weed out the old and sow in the new

e.)   Deformation—think Picasso.

 

Vision is a matter of habit.  We are conditioned to give certain conditions more weight than others. 

 

Quotable Quotes:

 

This world indeed is the one most often taken for real; for reality in a world, like realism in a picture, is largely a matter of habit (20).

 

A broad mind is no substitute for hard work (21).

 

Growth in knowledge is not by formation or fixation on belief but by the advancement of understanding (22).

 

A salient feature of symbolization, I have urged, is tht it may come and go.  An object may symbolize different things at different times, and nothing at other times….How an object or event functions as a work explains how, through certain modes of reference, what so functions may contribute to a vision of –and to the making of—a world (70).

 

The perceptual is no more a rather distorted version of the physical facts than the physical is a highly artificial version of the perceptual facts (93). 

 

We make the world by making versions but not random ones…(94). 

 

Worldmaking begins with one version and ends with another (97). 

 

Fiction operates in actual worlds in much the same way as nonfiction…[They] unmake and remake and retake familiar worlds, recasting them in remarkable and sometimes recondite but eventually recoginizable—re-cognizable—ways (105). 

 

Rendering the world in new ways is a way to remake the world and framing is once such way to render the world (119). 

 

We need to explore how two right versions fit together to remake the world…Through categorization, we can create coherence—the most useful test for rightness (135). 

 

 

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