Realism and the Background of Goodman's Worldmaking
worldmaking, Goodman, realism, anti-realism, ontological relativism
The work of Nelson Goodman has significantly impacted the philosophical landscape of the latter half of the twentieth century. In this thesis I critically assess Goodman’s later metaphysics, particularly his ontological relativism and multiple worlds hypothesis. I argue that, while Goodman’s view is interesting and important to philosophic thought, it critically fails as a tenable metaphysical position. This failure is twofold: first, Goodman’s argument for ontological relativism rests on the representational fallacy and is therefore unsound; and second his position, when considered as a self-standing metaphysical doctrine, is incoherent. My conclusion is that Goodman must admit some mind-independent structure of reality, otherwise his view should be rejected. However, while I do not argue for any specific form of realism, once some mind-independent structure is admitted, a general realist position becomes preferable to Goodman’s anti-realist, relativist, and constructivist view.