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A pivotal figure in 20th-century philosophy, Nelson Goodman has made seminal contributions to metaphysics, epistemology, aesthetics, and the philosophy of language, with surprising connections that cut across traditional boundaries. In the early 1950s, Goodman, Quine, and White published a series of papers that threatened to torpedo fundamental assumptions of traditional philosophy. They advocated repudiating analyticity, necessity, and prior assumptions. Some philosophers, realizing the seismic effects repudiation would cause, argued that philosophy should retain the familiar framework. Others considered the arguments compelling, but despaired of doing philosophy without the framework. Goodman disagreed with both factions. Rather than regretting the loss of structure, he capitalized on the opportunities that arise when the strictures of tradition are loosened.
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