Cássia Siqueira

Reading Group and Workshop: "Ways of Worldmaking" by Nelson Goodman


What do worlds consist of? In precisely what sense can we make worlds and what kinds of worlds can be made? Where do the motivations which drive the realization of the task of building new worlds arise from? These are some of the problems approached by Nelson Goodman in his most known work 'Ways of Worldmaking'.
In this book, Goodman describes the foundations of what he calls "a radical relativism under rigorous restraints". We can understand this claim as the expression of an attitude towards what we usually call 'the world': conceived here as an untotalizable whole that comprises the multiplicity of worlds and world-versions we make. In other words, Goodman’s irrealist philosophy can be interpreted as a means to map and describe the structure of exogenous and endogenous transformations that occur in our use of the conceptual schemata, frames of reference, and points of view upon which we depend in order to have experience of things. But this is only achieved once we can devise rigorous and systematic ways of assessment to the symbols and symbol systems – whether in art, science, perception, and any field of experience constituted through language – that figure as the very infrastructure of the worlds we make, inherit and inhabit.
In our meetings we will therefore investigate, following Goodman, the intrinsic and constitutive relations between perception, cognition and recognition, and the dynamics established by the coexistent multiplicity of worlds, as well as its central symbolic character.