Goodman’s Nominalism

Part of the Synthese Library book series (SYLI, volume 343)


Goodman’s and Quine’s “Steps toward a Constructive Nominalism” make the following bold statement in its first paragraph: “But we cannot use variables that call for abstract objects as values.” Goodman’s nominalism also does not allow him to countenance the null set, mental entities, intensional objects, or classes, as classes violate the rule that entities differ only if their content differs, and once any hierarchical ontological distinctions are made there is no way of preventing the profligate growth into the realm of the non-entity, and the nominalist has now (however reluctantly) become a Platonist. Goodman is arguing that avoidance of the language of classes can be successful if one provides a satisfactory translation into a language of particulars. In many places Goodman reiterates two main points regarding his nominalism: (1) that it allows anything to be an individual and (2) that it strictly forbids classes. He constructs a phenomenalist axiomatic system, which has as its ontological primitives the individuals called “qualia” – the presented particular quality specifying color, place, and time.


Ontological Commitment Intentional Object Abstract Entity Constructional System Syntax Language 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.BrooklynUSA

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