Goodman's Grue ? Relativized Pluralism and Paradigmatic Thought Experiment (Whack)

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C.P. Hertogh


In this paper we examine Nelson Goodman's Grue 'new riddle of induction' from the perspective of research into semantics of thought experiment. Since Grue may be considered a productive epistemic paradox TE, we can't agree on the skeptical resolution of the neologistic thought experiment to near-common sense of Goodman's entrenchment theory. Instead, we consider the thought experiment a prototype of a Kuhnian paradigmatic or revolutionary thought experiment, which may cover famous examples from history of science, whereof we will analyze one in more detail as a specimen with help of temporal predicate logic ('all swans are whack'). Next, we argue for a pluralistic interpretation of the paradox thought experiment as in line with Goodman's philosophical position of irrealism--pluralism of the paradox is not the problem, it is the resolution of the problem. Partly on basis of analogous analyses of WVO Quine's Gavagai thought experiment, we conclude by opting for Quinean ontological relativity, which does not exclude pluralism, but makes it hook upon (physical) reality. Modal logic, possible worlds semantics is proposed as alternate to classical logic as to deal with relativized pluralism and possible paradigm shifts in science.

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Hertogh, C. (2020). Goodman’s Grue ? Relativized Pluralism and Paradigmatic Thought Experiment (Whack). Humanities Bulletin, 3(1), 64-103. Retrieved from