The Way the World Is Author(s): Nelson Goodman Source: The Review of Metaphysics, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Sep., 1960), pp.

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philosopher if the only said in all unless line of that seriousness) the world simple. and This content downloaded from 142. and that we to examine how the world is spelled. the the tongue. confusion at the than of level the of is merely the sort isolated of the simplicity we I am speaking and sentences.THEWAY THEWORLD IS NELSON GOODMAN 1. no of a description in the the verbosity reflect features parallel to determine world. when linguomorphism This we tendency conceive even may the world as the the point comprised and names. that happens simple description or asserts (and a coherent to be I have will appropriate heard this be description coherent. We seldom conclude that the subject a of words because true description of it does. has since been read at Harvard and Brandeis Universities. just sometimes structure that the of is the the world suppose structure of of of the description.51. world: coherent. Philosophers features of the world but we same reach as consists sometimes Introduction mistake features of discourse for of discourse. very carefully ought the typography. ought I suppose that before describing whether it is written the world in English we in English.212 on Sat. whether And what not the we of the is the world call significant but whether it is. simplicity of the world achieve in describing it. 1 1955. a distortion to this According thinking. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . reductio maintains world is ad atomic of atomic absurdum a to objects corresponding to atomic facts corresponding blossoms when can an be occasional certain proper A sentences. that forth the the of so are able to is relatively less relatively of of a the error systematic description a system Since has basic supposing mirrors or structure structure or primitive terms elements This paper was read at Princeton University in November.1. But transparent dangerous veridical world. Coherence the is a characteristic question our account of is not of descriptions. enough Obviously spelling.

we be obscurantist. as into absolute still divisible elements suppose uniquely commonly do resolve thus uniquely. is a This main concern a more What me I want whenever to discuss I warn is not my is an uncomfortable the confusion against the arch enemy? anti-intellectualistic. perception. together seems more first-rate obviously by philosophers picture theory of language. we of corresponding 49 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. philosophy?none upon I can hear the faithful utterly ventionalizations through to the world of one as it is. 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 alliances the preliminary. and asking. partial only never even in of its own. mystic?my like this: I've been telling "Yes. through through through some all in media and these distort the way language. that's something saying just what a our are All all Science. Yet we 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. features theme I have of discourse with me. filtering a It is not just that each gives but that world. abstractions all filter the or con world that feeling in question. This content downloaded from 142. In this paper. the mind. you sorry travesty. comes features this upon. I am not just been stressing for but even touched concerned with but with any general certain recurrent here. kind or All make another.THEWAY THEWORLD IS out of these." Here repeating ence between speaks my own us? Bergsonian. the senses.51. that meanings and so accept the concealed absolutism and involved in maintaining the distinction between analytic of the more synthetic propositions. seemingly in effect. concepts. issues I have specific question. distortion We achieve each introduces part a really faithful portrayal the words Can't of the way the the world is. that strange. the dangers of mistaking of the world. descriptions can ever of these be language.212 on Sat. however. questions.1. truth. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . difference related between I shall us. along.

colors. found certain there. etc.51. in views and the Still and other thinkers is that the world both this seems Offhand. to require the ground Carnap wanted as possible to be as nearly to arrive at these. implies. pieces. designs. material into or another basic. places. least perceptible This content downloaded from 142. in the Aufbau stream. manufactured. is thus edge raw material product. in the given. In order he says. epistemologically we must the of any results all leave out of ordinary experience we we to which This means receive. it is given the way a these days. monism. artificial divisions." in one way the original. it contains agree. duplicated analysis we find given intermediate pluralisms of the to which of metaphysics. Thus and synthesis the atomism. but of one single lumps. too extreme. the grace the of their debates rephrase or But issue in terms of "ground-elements" "protocol-sentences. assumes at the given that the processes But this way of arriving have are Other of analysis. 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. But and the actual given. Let's not differ look But which view of the given more is right? The several or what all the views can contains do be at the question is contained about what A certain visual closely. analysis subject what initially or out all divisions boundaries. qualitative along leaving spatial are big in so that our elements each containing everything lumps. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . presentation.50 NELSON GOODMAN 2. of his elements system familiar medium-size in more given are applied. 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. Carnap temporal easy enough. primary.1. to say this is to make our experience at a given moment.212 on Sat. has sound slightly musty a little self-conscious have become about the futility philosophers over to and have the given. all processes of knowing philosophers are all processes of synthesis. Perhaps we The Way the World is Given the world The is by of question Even hardened examining the given some on the way can gain light to us in experience. .

particles? discloses IS The 51 is not whether the given question or contains it is many lump tiny parts. to the question turns at all. straightforward. best. and quite This content downloaded from 142. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . they are there within come we could The nearest what the world the material as is given in question for given would any meaning be to say that this To come near on whether is apprehended with broken-upness.1. The most picture deal about of distortion. as is not to come a kind of feeling of wholeness that near enough to finding to count. or as more from this stand conventionalized abstract.THEWAY THEWORLD and it is a whole. off from one another by perceptible small time such lines of demarcation for any view are there the given. and pictures become progressively photograph. This version to the way the world the camera is. into thin air. to finding of the given.51. of to their approximate rate pictures degree easily according quite a one most like color is the realistic realism. our for only We ideas about pictures consider need everyday a moment to recognize For we this as an encouraging approach. is. any sense can be made as. pictorial approach sees it. 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. then surely of realism.212 on Sat. the question the world about is by the way 3. of degrees in representing the way the can learn a from this we back and less realistic. a or a feeling of meaning So I am afraid we can get no light on the way the way about asking it is given evaporates For it is given. Perhaps we seen. they depart nearest The way we see the world the ard. The issue is not what is given of such parts. is the way of the whole matter is simple. particles is a single undifferentiated a whole but many same how comprised it is given. partitioned if For lines of demarcation. picturing absence world good If we the The Way the World is to be Seen is best or shall get further by asking how the world some confidence their grade ways of to according of faithfulness can with world seeing by reading the way the world is." 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.

has a big a But black in philosophy cloud?and as NELSON GOODMAN else. everywhere the view described every silver has every me. choice when he stems sees. 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. view then I can no longer claim to be standard of faith the photographic 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 calls Just ignored. I think. so. But the reveals 'distorted' much more photograph and possibilities is a rather experience. the other Thus the hand lethargic the excitement lies art thrilled of African French painters discovery to see and paint. or the one by or the one Manet Holbein by by by Durer ent way 'distortion' 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. general to of new distortion the is comparable graph more faithful the is Which portrait painting. it 'realistic' picture. Neumann saying faces of a movie audience realized how realistic an African to see screen we he first pictures An up on. What of the is an activity our training.1. then I normally the way do we call such properly see photograph taking fulness. 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. in large part upon he happened that once when of the in the reflected glare sculptor are merely brought different depict saw faces. different of painting way represents of each uses its own vocabulary its selection. its emphasis. makes we at the pictures And look hard conventionalization. B. it depends perform J.52 held. our resistance to new resistance in the or exotic ways of normal to retraining. quite wrong. distorted? If not. 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. from pictures are unfortunately.51. of new acquisition regard that most as the most what Indeed our painting and on skill. the a generally lining thing in its favor except that it is.212 on Sat. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . of example important. him it shows sculptor This content downloaded from 142. or a a make African would quite Japanese that most asked to select the pictures closely sort of us.

weak. seeing. This content downloaded from 142. none are even still or all latter if the But blurred. too. realistic of the rest can lay any good claim to be the way of seeing or picturing the world 4. intriguing. foolish. in results often African of while absorption European fortunately. The first simultaneous reason with the more the best introduction intriguing: of African of European that while art. by and Had he seen Greek art and pin-up girls. banal. But I am digressing. is to be Described version of the question Does to be described? of the what The Way now is.1. modifies accordingly. have been the results radically instead. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions .212 on Sat. of this but formula that is beside This way the point acceptance here) of a that corre constitutes spondence theory a natural of truth. (I think acceptance erroneous. sensitive.51. the World familiar We way come to a more How the world 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. For the ways of seeing way of seeing or picturing some are strong. might the African different. are many and various. we must face is What descriptions. difficult attention is of we therefore. fact that to notice the obvious as different the same shock whenever slight "it is rain the sentence disparity Luckily. excluded. the way it is. artistic leads always is of the African deterioration is that social reasons.THEWAY THEWORLD way of IS 53 Un his work and he. tendency of putting in terms a the matter of mirror encourages or faithful ing we to think of truth happen is about ing" and we have reproduction. for a true as for a false description. concern with the ourselves need not here sort of the nature true we can confine our of truth. matter technical to admittedly as possible This from the rainstorm. and picturing effective. 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. are or others dull. style adoption is for incidental this But to deterioration. The the French usually second no doubt Mediaeval is rather artist was influenced on calendar sculpture was fed art. almost of European African an artistic advance. useful.

is even earlier. 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. NELSON GOODMAN description the world nowhere near faith reproducing A systematic more vulnerable of construction. description to this charge. than from those but of the most of conventionalization. saying. a that way. or picturing or describing it conveys 5. less peculiar The language. of the world described. is a delusive For we way amounts of picturing In painting. Is then.51. even kind it falls short of being a faithful picture. descrip we artificial should then make order. the are different less variable. is the way the to the question world It looks is? Am I still threatened with the friendship of my enemies? the mystic's the world is. 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. 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. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . according between faithfulness if we say that in terms of grading a difference and good descriptions all true descriptions and good pictures This content downloaded from 142. show how that has a it has been undermined.1.212 on Sat. etc. reinforced. to the vehicle. We come now The Way the World : what. idea the selection. for it has explicit routes primitives. of making loses its point the most than descriptions understand faithful 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. is given nor any way of seeing to us the way the world is. true description in terms or true by what we or is un complaint to the world given distorts of some of significance of But to faithfulness. a description a But which assumption is unsatisfactory that as which likeness.54 the fully fact that even the truest comes is.. the conventions and no verbal when we emphasis. an arbitrary that if systematic therefore. Some philosophers tions our introduce the way as I noted of the world. none of them features contend.

what picture was I declared it describes. equally relative faithfulness us any clear notion the idea that there tests IS then in terms of what We sample have no be. must is the way the world I For likewise "none. I should have to For there are many "none. but each the way of them tells us a way If I were answer what asked what is the food for men. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . the to the very many their truth say of of pictorial There and descriptive truth.51. 6.THEWAY THEWORLD are unfaithful. the world we them that no one saying are since the others world is. Near the beginning of the picture a description the structure the picture theory does not of what of of Postscript of this paper. None conventionalizations. goodness true of different the world. is.1. but a chatter. This content downloaded from 142. I spoke of the obvious falsity language. between absolutism and relativism. is the way the world is? What a shush." answer. one of them.212 on Sat. or standard 55 of are we of what is some speaking? faithfulness test of realism would longer Thus before or faithfulness I reject in addition are and we are true. is exclusively descriptions of them tells us is. the enormous The difference Since the mystic is concerned with the way the world cannot finds that the way be expressed. descriptions equally is the only standard And when of their faithfulness. For me. is not captured the world is and that this way by any description. language forth the world doesn't represent observed theory or mirror that a picture against devastating charge a description cannot that as it is. there is no way which is the way the world is. my The are or many descriptions. and so of course no description can capture it. is. But there are many ways the world difference and every true description captures me friend and between my is. 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. that they of these also all involve different true. is." And if I am asked foods. But we have since I began by dropping do this either. his ultimate response as of the the world is he recognizes. in sum. The rather that smugly or even represent it describes. the world is many The mystic holds that there is some way ways. be must.

theory the ground that the structure the such or structure of the world. or in other words. thing fail to conform of anything the picture to conform This content downloaded from 142.1.212 on Sat. Perhaps eventually most isn't.56 the picture theory of language I rejected of pictures. You as and ended the NELSON GOODMAN language on language not conform to there is no the by adopting picture theory of a description does But I then concluded the world for that of that of say might theory as of true and the picture language theory pictures. false sometimes obviously is as false University of Pennsylvania.51. 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. 6 Apr 2013 09:54:22 AM All use subject to JSTOR Terms and Conditions . as the structure to.

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