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Fact, Fiction, and Forecast

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Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic--a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate. How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that ar Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic--a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate. How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that are warranted to be distinguished from those that are not? Goodman shows that these questions resist formal solution and his demonstration has been taken by nativists like Chomsky and Fodor as proof that neither scientific induction nor ordinary learning can proceed without an a priori, or innate, ordering of hypotheses. In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims. The controversy surrounding these unsolved problems is as relevant to the psychology of cognitive development as it is to the philosophy of science. No serious student of either discipline can afford to misunderstand Goodman's classic argument.


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Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic--a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate. How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that ar Here, in a new edition, is Nelson Goodman's provocative philosophical classic--a book that, according to Science, "raised a storm of controversy" when it was first published in 1954, and one that remains on the front lines of philosophical debate. How is it that we feel confident in generalizing from experience in some ways but not in others? How are generalizations that are warranted to be distinguished from those that are not? Goodman shows that these questions resist formal solution and his demonstration has been taken by nativists like Chomsky and Fodor as proof that neither scientific induction nor ordinary learning can proceed without an a priori, or innate, ordering of hypotheses. In his new foreword to this edition, Hilary Putnam forcefully rejects these nativist claims. The controversy surrounding these unsolved problems is as relevant to the psychology of cognitive development as it is to the philosophy of science. No serious student of either discipline can afford to misunderstand Goodman's classic argument.

30 review for Fact, Fiction, and Forecast

  1. 5 out of 5

    M

    "The New Riddle of Induction" I am actually at a loss with rating this. Interesting question posed about inductive inferences, but terrible, terrible wording of the examples. Still do not understand the raven paradox, and the "grue" riddle could have been phrased much better. I mean, really? Now let me introduce another predicate less familiar than “green”. It is the predicate “grue” and it applies to all things examined before t just in case they are green but to other things just in case they ar "The New Riddle of Induction" I am actually at a loss with rating this. Interesting question posed about inductive inferences, but terrible, terrible wording of the examples. Still do not understand the raven paradox, and the "grue" riddle could have been phrased much better. I mean, really? Now let me introduce another predicate less familiar than “green”. It is the predicate “grue” and it applies to all things examined before t just in case they are green but to other things just in case they are blue. Then at time t we have, for each evidence statement asserting that a given emerald is green, a parallel evidence statement asserting that that emerald is grue. Don't think we managed to come up with a definitive interpretation during the tutorial. Interesting question, however, which was really only understood after reading a lot of secondary sources, a simplified version of the example and quite a bit of headache.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Gustavo HdzMry

    A classic work of analytic philosophy. The main topic is the possibility of making valid inferences - and not, Gooman does not provide a solution to Hume's problem of induction, and, actually, makes it worse (e.g., the grue puzzle). But Goodman says that given what he calls the "New Riddle of induction", the language used plays a central role that could help to address this problem, even in determining the "projectability" of a hypothesis. A classic work of analytic philosophy. The main topic is the possibility of making valid inferences - and not, Gooman does not provide a solution to Hume's problem of induction, and, actually, makes it worse (e.g., the grue puzzle). But Goodman says that given what he calls the "New Riddle of induction", the language used plays a central role that could help to address this problem, even in determining the "projectability" of a hypothesis.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Blakely

    Induction!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Bookish Hedgehog

    It was one of the more difficult reads, but that's forgivable given it's status as a "classic". I originally began reading after a mention during a Chomsky-Gardner talk, where C explained that Goodman (his dissertation supervisor) had explained how our justifiable generalizations (aka induction) is independent of notation. It struck me because "individuation" has always seemed like the lynchpin that all philosophical problem turn around. In the actual book, Goodman begins with the problem of coun It was one of the more difficult reads, but that's forgivable given it's status as a "classic". I originally began reading after a mention during a Chomsky-Gardner talk, where C explained that Goodman (his dissertation supervisor) had explained how our justifiable generalizations (aka induction) is independent of notation. It struck me because "individuation" has always seemed like the lynchpin that all philosophical problem turn around. In the actual book, Goodman begins with the problem of counterfactuals, such as "If the match had been struck, it would've lighted". A simple truth-conditional treatment is doomed from the get-go, as both parts are by definition not true, and slowly Goodman leads from counterfactuals to dispositional terms (e.g., the match is inflammable). After revealing why this way of thinking does not lead far, he slowly directs the reader to imagine both the problems of CFs and Dispositional terms as really saying something about induction. In an ingenious move, Goodman shows how Humean problem of induction is in fact about projectibility and, contrary to appearances, Hume did suggest the right manner of tackling it. Soon, the reader is flooded with coinages like Grue, Bleen, Grund, Grare, and emurubies. I would confess that at far too many points, the text became way too thoroughgoing for my liking or tolerance. Maybe I can return to this text in the future with a more well-rounded take on background issues that Goodman alludes to throughout. © Creative Commons CC BY-NC 4.0

  5. 5 out of 5

    Greg Gauthier

    Nelson Goodman's famous GRUE argument, found in this book, turns out to be one of the least interesting things about it. Of more pertinent importance, in my view, is his exploration of the logic and the epistemology of the scientific problem of confirmation and prediction. What is confirmation, and what value does it offer us, in attempting to demonstrate the truth of our claims about reality? These questions and more, are addressed in this small but very dense volume. If you're a student of the Nelson Goodman's famous GRUE argument, found in this book, turns out to be one of the least interesting things about it. Of more pertinent importance, in my view, is his exploration of the logic and the epistemology of the scientific problem of confirmation and prediction. What is confirmation, and what value does it offer us, in attempting to demonstrate the truth of our claims about reality? These questions and more, are addressed in this small but very dense volume. If you're a student of the philosophy of science, you'll not want to miss reading this book, even if you've already read the GRUE paper separately.

  6. 5 out of 5

    C

    Read Ch. 1 The Problem of Counterfactual Conditionals for S22 116 Phil of Sci. Read Ch. 3 several times before, including F21 131 Epistemology. Ch. 3 is classic must-read. Stalnaker (1968), A Theory of Conditionals, is a more developed account of counterfactual conditionals, although oriented towards logic/phil of lang, rather than phil of sci (as the Goodman chapter is).

  7. 5 out of 5

    Travis Williams

    All books are grue. Fact, Fiction, and Forecast is a book.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Coco

    The French translation is probably outdated and at times inaccurate. Would've given 4/5, were it not for those misreadings. The French translation is probably outdated and at times inaccurate. Would've given 4/5, were it not for those misreadings.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Ralph Palm

    I'm somewhat sympathetic to Goodman's general goals, but the means he uses to get there are... not great I'm somewhat sympathetic to Goodman's general goals, but the means he uses to get there are... not great

  10. 5 out of 5

    mathilda

    read this with a main focus on chapter three “the riddle of induction” and skimmed the rest. very good tho

  11. 5 out of 5

    Quiver

    Classic references.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Brian Powell

    The is Nelson Goodman's famous work that introduced us to color-shifting gems and other puzzles of inductive inference. It's a short text, divided into 4 lectures. The first one is Goodman's well-known piece on the "Problem of Counterfactuals", essentially, on the problem of assigning truth values to conditional statements in logic. It is difficult, and lies somewhat outside the main avenue of inductive inference which is the reason I picked up the book. I admit to not following much of lecture The is Nelson Goodman's famous work that introduced us to color-shifting gems and other puzzles of inductive inference. It's a short text, divided into 4 lectures. The first one is Goodman's well-known piece on the "Problem of Counterfactuals", essentially, on the problem of assigning truth values to conditional statements in logic. It is difficult, and lies somewhat outside the main avenue of inductive inference which is the reason I picked up the book. I admit to not following much of lecture 1 and so cannot comment further. Goodman's main contribution to the philosophy of scientific inference is his statement and examination of the projection problem of scientific hypotheses. This problem is layed out in lectures two through four. Lecture 2, the "Passing of the Possible", deals with what Goodman calls the problem of dispositions. A disposition is a quality or "capacity" of a thing, like flexibility or inflammability. The problem takes on the hefty task of understanding whether these dispositions are real, in the sense that an object's size and shape are. Something is flexible if it bends under suitable pressure; but the same object is still said to be flexible even if we don't apply the pressure, right? So dispositions deal in the possible. Goodman argues that the reality of dispositions depends on whether they are causal consequences of other predicates, reducing the problem to the discovery and enumeration of all these causal predicates. This discussion exists in the same rarefied air as the first lecture, and is in fact related to the problem of counterfactual conditionals ("If I had applied pressure to this object, it would have bent.") Though abstract, Goodman grounds it by tying it to the problem of induction by the end of the lecture: "the problem of projecting manifest to non-manifest cases [cases when the disposition is exemplified and cases when it is not] is obviously not very different from going from the known to the unknown or from past to future cases." (p. 58) This is the problem of induction. In lecture 3, "The New Riddle of Induction" Goodman declares emphatically that the problem of induction is not the justification of the program itself, but rather as the problem of defining the difference between valid and invalid predictions. So not the grand, meta-problem of induction as a method, but the use of it in its role in forming individual hypotheses and confirming predictions. The immediate problem is the difficulty in ascertaining the difference between lawlike and merely contingent hypotheses, the latter including accidental generalities. Only lawlike statements can be confirmed by data. This is Goodman's "New Riddle of Induction", and it is a formidable one: "the problem of justifying induction has been dipslaced by the problem of defining confirmation...this has left us the residual problem of distinguishig between confirmable and non-confirmable hypotheses" (p. 81) The conclusion -- that "lawlike or projectible statements cannot be distinguished on merely syntactical grounds" (p. 83) has important consequences for the theory of inductive logic developed by Rudolph Carnap, which we'll examine later. Goodman's argument at the close of lecture 3, that the act of confirmation presupposes a unique language, is further fleshed out in his fourth lecture, "Prospects for a Theory of Projection". Goodman elaborates on the problem of projectability in terms of his famous grue and bleen emeralds. A "grue" emerald is one that is green if measured before, say, July 1 2015, and blue if measured thereafter. Meanwhile, emeralds that are "green" are always green. We get into trouble if we try to do induction on the property grue: if we measure a bunch of emeralds today and find them all to be grue, this property will not hold arbitrarily into the future. Grue is evidently not a projectable property, whereas green is. The problem of projection, as layed out in Lecture 3, is how to tell these apart. Goodman's proposed solution requires that we bring past experience to bear on the distinction between predicates like "green" and those like "grue". "We must consult the record of past projections of the two predicates. Plainly, 'green', as a veteran of earlier and many more projectiosn than 'grue', has the more impressive biography. The predicate 'green', we may say, is much better entrenched than the predicate 'grue'." (p. 94) These are some of the first hints that an operative theory of confirmation is necessarily Bayesian in nature -- that prior knowledge of things is an essential ingredient in forming inferences.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Chris Lawrence

    Tough going, particularly the last section. I found myself needing a lot more working memory than my brain had to play with. But thought-provoking and surprisingly profound.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Miceál Wilson

    A difficult read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Tudor

    Brilliant book

  16. 4 out of 5

    Cédric

  17. 4 out of 5

    Adiba

  18. 4 out of 5

    Crito

  19. 4 out of 5

    Alec Julien

  20. 4 out of 5

    Ross Brian Stager

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bronek

  22. 5 out of 5

    Brett

  23. 5 out of 5

    Raiyan Ahsan

  24. 4 out of 5

    John Conlon

  25. 4 out of 5

    Nick Geiser

  26. 5 out of 5

    Karin

  27. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  28. 4 out of 5

    Christopher Boss

  29. 4 out of 5

    James F

  30. 4 out of 5

    Gerardo

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