Henry Nelson Goodman (7 August 1906, Somerville, Massachusetts – 25 November 1998, Needham, Massachusetts) was an American philosopher, known for his work on counterfactuals, mereology, the problem of induction, irrealism and aesthetics.

Goodman graduated from Harvard University, A.B., magna cum laude (1928). During the 1930s, he ran an art gallery in Boston, Massachusetts while studying for a Harvard Ph.D. in philosophy, which he completed in 1941. His experience as an art dealer helps explain his later turn towards aesthetics, where he became better known than in logic and analytic philosophy. During World War II, he served in the US Army.

He taught at the University of Pennsylvania, 1946–1964, where his students included Noam Chomsky, Sydney Morgenbesser, Stephen Stich, and Hilary Putnam. He left Penn because he was not granted the control he desired over the philosophy department. He was a research fellow at the Harvard Center for Cognitive Studies from 1962 to 1963 and was a professor at several universities from 1964 to 1967, before being appointed Professor of Philosophy at Harvard in 1968.

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Nelson Goodman Poems

Nelson Goodman Quotes

The problem of induction is not a problem of demonstration but a problem of defining the difference between valid and invalid predictions.
Nelson Goodman (1906), U.S. philosopher, art dealer. Fact, Fiction, & Forecast, p. 77 (1955). Part of the author's general orientation that the business of philosophy is codification and not proof.
You may decry some of these scruples and protest that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in my philosophy. I am concerned, rather, that there should not be more things dreamt of in my philosophy than there are in heaven or earth.
Nelson Goodman (b. 1906), U.S. philosopher, art dealer. Fact, Fiction & Forecast, ch. 2, p. 39 (1955). Cf., of course, Shakespeare's Hamlet, I, v, 166 "There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamed of in your philosophy," but also J.B.S. Haldane's Possible Worlds, "I suspect that there are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamed of in any philosophy."

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