Starmaking brings together a cluster of work published over the past 35 years by Nelson Goodman and two Harvard colleagues, Hilary Putnam and Israel Scheffler, on the conceptual connections between monism and pluralism, absolutism and relativism, and idealism and different notions of realism - issues that are central to metaphysics and epistemology.
The title alludes to Goodman's famous defense of the claim that because all true representations of stars and other objects are human creations, it follows that in an important sense the stars themselves are made by us. More generally, the argument moves from the fact that our right representations are constructed by us to the claim that the world itself is similarly constructed.
Starmaking addresses the question of whether this seeming paradox can be turned into a serious philosophical view. Goodman and Putnam are sympathetic; Scheffler is the critic.
Although many others continue to write about pluralism, relativism, and constructionalism, Starmaking brings together the protagonists in the debate since its beginnings and follows closely its still developing form and substance, focusing sharply on Goodman's claim that "we make versions, and right versions make worlds."
"Lasting themes of perennial philosophy, central to our own postmodernculture, are interwoven by authors and editor. To what extent and inwhat ways is reality an artifact? There is no better introduction tothe issue than the resulting collection, an artifact of deep insightand subtle dialectic."
—Ernest Sosa, Professor of Philosophy, Brown University
"The discussion presented here is fascinating; the participants couldnot be more distinguished, and the issues are as engaging as any incontemporary metaphysics. This will make an elegant, handy introductionto some very important problems. The extensive back-and-forth betweenthe discussants demonstrates the vitality of contemporaryphilosophy."
—Gideon Rosen, Assistant Professor of Philosophy, PrincetonUniversity