The Way the World Is Author(s): Nelson Goodman Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Sep., 1960), pp.
48-56 Published by: Philosophy Education Society Inc. Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/20123803 . Accessed: 06/04/2013 09:54
Your use of the JSTOR archive indicates your acceptance of the Terms & Conditions of Use, available at . http://www.jstor.org/page/info/about/policies/terms.jsp
JSTOR is a not-for-profit service that helps scholars, researchers, and students discover, use, and build upon a wide range of content in a trusted digital archive. We use information technology and tools to increase productivity and facilitate new forms of scholarship. For more information about JSTOR, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Philosophy Education Society Inc. is collaborating with JSTOR to digitize, preserve and extend access to The Review of Metaphysics.
This content downloaded from 18.104.22.168 on Sat, 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
I suppose that before describing
whether it is written
in English we
Philosophers features of the world but we same reach as consists sometimes
mistake features of discourse for
of discourse. reductio maintains world is ad
of atomic absurdum a
to objects corresponding to atomic facts corresponding blossoms when can an be occasional
proper A sentences.
a distortion to this
thinking. when linguomorphism This we tendency conceive even may the world
comprised and names. that forth the the of so
are able to
relatively less relatively of of a the
systematic description a system Since has basic
supposing mirrors or
structure structure or
This paper was read at Princeton University in November.THEWAY THEWORLD
1. and that we to examine how the world is spelled.212 on Sat. the the tongue. We seldom conclude that the subject a of words because true description of it does.
But transparent dangerous veridical world. no of a description in the the verbosity reflect features parallel to determine world. confusion at the than of level the of
the sort isolated of
the simplicity we
I am speaking and sentences. Coherence the is a characteristic question our account of is not of descriptions. enough Obviously spelling. world: coherent.
1955. that happens
simple description or asserts (and a coherent to be
I have will
appropriate heard this be
description coherent. whether And what not the we of the is the world call
significant but whether
it is. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. philosopher if the only said in all unless line of
seriousness) the world
This content downloaded from 142. has since been read at Harvard and Brandeis Universities. very carefully ought the typography. just sometimes structure that the of is the the world suppose structure of of of the description.
simplicity of the world achieve in describing it.1.
seemingly in effect.51. and asking. we of corresponding
come to suppose easily atomic elements put in recent wrong than years the
built and a graded hierarchy must consist that the world
in similar No theory advocated fashion. you sorry travesty. features theme I have of discourse with me. abstractions all filter the or con world
that feeling in question. through through through some all in media and these distort the way language. partial only never even in of its own. that meanings and so accept the concealed absolutism and involved in maintaining the distinction between analytic of the
synthetic propositions. In this paper. truth. along. as into absolute still divisible elements suppose uniquely commonly do resolve thus uniquely. we be
This content downloaded from 142. mystic?my like this: I've been telling "Yes. the differ "What's to I am willing friends?" Before
admit that philosophy must make
make But a determined I shall begin effort to formulate some by discussing
the preliminary. filtering a It is not just that each gives but that world. the dangers of mistaking of the world. the senses.
difference related between
us.212 on Sat. philosophy?none upon I can hear the faithful utterly ventionalizations through to the world of one as it is. distortion We achieve each introduces part a really faithful portrayal the words Can't of the way the the world is.
out of these. descriptions can ever of these be language.
still find acute philosophers
to a notion of absolutely under pressure resorting simple qualities or of those who avoid And most of the world thinking particles. kind or All make another. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
the mind. together seems more first-rate obviously by philosophers
theory of language. is a This main concern
I want whenever
to discuss I warn
is not my is an uncomfortable
the confusion against the arch enemy? anti-intellectualistic. issues I have specific question.1. perception."
repeating ence between
speaks my own us?
I am not just been stressing for but even touched
with but with
general certain recurrent here. that's something saying just what a our are All all Science.
. primary. But and the actual given. assumes at the given that the processes But this way of arriving have are Other of analysis. too extreme. qualitative along leaving spatial are big in so that our elements each containing everything lumps.1. analysis subject what initially or out all divisions boundaries. least perceptible
This content downloaded from 142. it is given the way a these days. of his elements system
familiar medium-size in more given are applied.
Let's not differ look
view of the given
The several or what all the views can contains do be
at the question is contained about what A certain visual
closely. in the Aufbau stream.
the world The is by of question Even hardened
examining the given
some on the way can gain light to us in experience. all processes of knowing philosophers are all processes of synthesis. in the given.
presentation. implies. to say this is to make our experience at a given moment.
places. it contains
agree." in one way the original. but of one single lumps. pieces.
designs. in views and the Still and other thinkers is that the world both
this seems Offhand. that the processes rather supposed that have consists of minimal therefore and that the given particles consists not of these big to be combined hold that both with these one views another are in knowing. manufactured.
is thus edge raw material
NELSON GOODMAN 2. has sound slightly musty
a little self-conscious have become about the futility philosophers over to and have the given. monism. colors. artificial divisions.51. epistemologically we must the of any results all leave out of ordinary experience we we to which This means receive. duplicated
analysis we find given intermediate pluralisms of the
of metaphysics. we bare a good to down deal about getting from which all knowledge is elements as raw a of is tacitly conceived processing hear and an that we of knowl understanding the discover just what
Knowing a finished supposed is. material into or another basic. the grace the of their debates rephrase or But issue in terms of "ground-elements" "protocol-sentences. In order he says.212 on Sat. to require
the ground Carnap wanted as possible to be as nearly to arrive at these.
etc. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. Carnap temporal easy enough. Thus and synthesis the atomism.
of realism. a
or a feeling of
So I am afraid we can get no light on the way
the way about asking it is given evaporates For it is given. The most picture deal about
of distortion. and quite
This content downloaded from 142. any sense can be made as. to the question turns at all. of degrees in representing the way the can learn a from this we back
and less realistic." of the phrase That an experience is given "given mean are as several parts not that these does parts presented surely are nor can it mean that these parts torn asunder. the question
3. is the way of the whole matter is simple. Perhaps we
seen. is. best. and pictures become progressively photograph. to finding of the given.51. The issue is not what is given of such parts. pictorial approach sees it. straightforward. they are there within come we could The nearest what the world the material as is given in question for given
any meaning be to say that this To come near
is apprehended with
broken-upness. particles is a single undifferentiated a whole but many same how comprised it is given. our for only We ideas about pictures consider need everyday a moment to recognize For we this as an encouraging approach. picturing absence world good If we the
is to be Seen is best
shall get further by asking how the world
some confidence their grade ways of to according of faithfulness
can with world
by reading the way the world is. or as more from this stand conventionalized abstract.212 on Sat. or is it as a single whole as Is it given given
at the This captures issue?and the precise I do not think For its emptiness.1. partitioned if For lines of demarcation. of to their approximate rate pictures degree easily according quite a one most like color is the realistic realism. as is not to come
a kind of feeling of wholeness
that near enough to finding to count. particles? discloses
is not whether the given question or contains it is many lump tiny parts. off from one another by perceptible small time such lines of demarcation for any view are there the given. into thin air. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
and it is a whole. This version to the way the world the camera is. they depart nearest The way we see the world the ard.
6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
If I take feet may or come photograph out as large the man? of a man as his If with his Is this why as my feet towards torso. need only by any such artist to come to see and the world the way I remember the in somewhat we the same For seeing way. or a a make African would quite Japanese that most asked to select the pictures closely sort of us. makes we at the pictures And look hard conventionalization. What of the is an activity our training. everywhere the view described every silver has every me. different of painting way represents of each uses its own vocabulary its selection. then I normally the way do we call such
taking fulness. its emphasis. from it new ways and they learned What is less art to realized that often the is is discoveryof European exciting a new the African for the same reason. from
pictures are unfortunately.51. our resistance to new resistance in the or exotic ways of normal to retraining. the a
thing in its favor except that it is.
the other Thus the
lethargic the excitement lies
art thrilled of African French painters discovery to see and paint. I think.1. him it shows sculptor
This content downloaded from 142. in large part upon he happened that once when of the in the reflected glare sculptor are merely brought different depict saw faces.
If not. or the one by or the one Manet Holbein by by by Durer ent way
something of the photo or unfamiliar styles of of a man?the Sharaku or one the one
or the one or the one by C?zanne Each differ by Picasso? a each of seeing. of new acquisition
regard that most
as the most
painting and on skill. But the
'distorted' much more
possibilities is a rather
then I can no longer claim to be
standard of faith
of the world
The fact of the matter
our in attention the way new to something that it differs facts and
is that this 'distorted' photograph
about from seeing an ordinary in visual trivial The that we had
Just ignored. B. quite wrong. it depends perform J. Neumann saying faces of a movie audience realized how realistic an African
to see screen we
pictures An up on.52 held. it 'realistic' picture. has a big a But black in philosophy cloud?and as
else.212 on Sat. general to of new distortion the is comparable graph more faithful the is Which portrait painting. choice when he stems sees. so. of example
to a more How
is the world
we call a true description
Most is raining" of us have is true
faithfully depict the world?
that "it remark
statement in our ears Tarski's ringing as well as his if and only if it is raining. and picturing effective. realistic of the rest can lay any good claim to be the way of seeing or
the world 4. But I am digressing. might the African
different. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. are or others dull. excluded. is to be Described
version of the question Does to be described? of the what
now is. modifies accordingly. weak.51. we must face is What descriptions. none are even still or all latter if the But blurred. too. The the French
usually second no doubt Mediaeval
influenced on calendar sculpture
was fed art. useful. are many and various. foolish. have been the results radically instead.
it is. matter technical to admittedly
as possible This from the rainstorm.
erroneous. For the ways of seeing way of seeing or picturing some are strong. seeing.212 on Sat.
in terms a
encourages or faithful ing we
happen is about ing"
and we have reproduction. banal. by and Had he seen Greek art and pin-up girls. artistic leads always is of the African deterioration is that social reasons. intriguing.THEWAY THEWORLD
Un his work and he.
This content downloaded from 142. style adoption is for incidental this But to deterioration. difficult attention
we therefore.1. fact that to notice the obvious as different the same
shock whenever slight "it is rain the sentence
disparity Luckily. almost of European African an artistic advance. in results often African of while absorption European fortunately.
is beside This way
of truth. The upshot of all this is that we cannot find out much about the way the world is by asking about the best or most faithful or
most it. The first simultaneous reason with the more the best introduction intriguing: of African of European that while art. concern with the ourselves need not here sort of the nature true we can confine our of truth. for a true as for a false description.
less peculiar The
language. an arbitrary that if systematic therefore. saying. Some philosophers tions our introduce
as I noted of the world. for I have very much just reached conclusion that there is no representation of the way seems on the surface But if our accord to have been
second look will
have been The faithful descriptions in degree pictures. than from those but of
the most of
conventionalization. to bring them more into accord with here are is that just the respects respects in in those
descriptions unsystematic Now the tacit the world. even kind
it falls short of being a faithful picture. according between faithfulness if we say that
of grading a difference
and good descriptions all true descriptions and good pictures
This content downloaded from 142. for it has explicit routes primitives. is the way the
to the question
is? Am I still threatened with
the friendship of my enemies?
the mystic's the world is. none of them features contend. reinforced. of the world described. descrip we artificial should then make order. idea
then. is given nor any way of seeing to us the way the world is.51.1.
We come now
description the goal realistic
and the tacit goal
a living gives seen that have merely no to one
is to achieve
as possible nearly one..54 the fully fact that even the truest comes is. etc.
of making loses its point the most than
exchanging Thus neither
picture possible some conventions the way the world
approximate pictorial depiction that to turn a description into more to nothing amount would for others. the are different less variable. the conventions and no verbal when we
true description in terms or true
by what we
or is un
complaint to the world
distorts of some of
to faithfulness.212 on Sat. a
that way. description to this charge.
description the world nowhere near faith
reproducing A systematic more vulnerable of construction. to the vehicle.
5. a description a But
assumption is unsatisfactory that as
likeness. is even earlier.
that has a
it has been undermined. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. is a delusive For we way amounts of picturing In painting.
For me. is. the enormous
the mystic is concerned with the way the world cannot finds that the way be expressed. the world is many The mystic holds that there is some way ways. and so of course no description can capture it. way question am I rather with Since the ways concerned the world response answer the ways must be to construct one to the question "What the world is?" is not
is and to the silence. is. his ultimate response as of the the world is he recognizes. the
very many their truth say of
of pictorial There and descriptive truth. is exclusively descriptions of them tells us is. that they of these also all involve different true. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
. But there are many ways the world difference and every true description captures me friend and between my is. but a chatter. language forth the world doesn't
theory or mirror that a picture
against devastating charge a description cannot that as it is. one of them.THEWAY THEWORLD
are unfaithful. Near the beginning
of the picture a description the structure the picture theory does not of what of of
of this paper. must is the way the world I For likewise "none." And if I am asked foods. in sum. between absolutism and relativism. be must.212 on Sat. is the way the world is? What a shush. or standard
are we of what is some
speaking? faithfulness test of realism
I reject in addition are and we are true. I spoke of the obvious falsity
I should have to
For there are many "none. equally relative faithfulness us any clear notion the idea that there tests
then in terms of what We sample have no be. goodness true of different the world. the world we
that no one saying are since the others world is. but each
tells us a way
If I were
is the food for men. None conventionalizations. there is no way which is the way the world is. But we have since I began by dropping
do this either.1. is.51.
This content downloaded from 142. what picture was I declared it describes. is not captured the world is and that this way by any description." answer. The rather that smugly or even represent
it describes. descriptions equally is the only standard And when of their faithfulness.
6. my The are
or many descriptions.
You as and ended the
language on language not conform to there is no the
picture theory of a description does But I then concluded the world for that
of say might theory as of true and the picture language theory pictures. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions
thing fail to conform
anything the picture
This content downloaded from 142. of is false is not the picture that what theory a both notion but certain absolutistic concerning pictures language seems what that I shall learn and language. theory the ground that the structure the such or structure of the world. Perhaps eventually most isn't. or in other words.51.212 on Sat. false sometimes obviously is as false University of Pennsylvania.56
the picture theory of language I rejected of pictures. as the structure to.1.