Review of Philosophy and Psychology

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 61-75

Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.

Similarity After Goodman

  • Lieven DecockAffiliated withFaculty of Philosophy, VU University Amsterdam
  • , Igor DouvenAffiliated withInstitute of Philosophy, University of Leuven Email author 


In a famous critique, Goodman dismissed similarity as a slippery and both philosophically and scientifically useless notion. We revisit his critique in the light of important recent work on similarity in psychology and cognitive science. Specifically, we use Tversky’s influential set-theoretic account of similarity as well as Gärdenfors’s more recent resuscitation of the geometrical account to show that, while Goodman’s critique contained valuable insights, it does not warrant a dismissal of similarity.