Catherine Elgin

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Catherine Z. Elgin
Catherine Elgin and Amélie Rorty.jpg
Born1948 (1948)
Alma materBrandeis University
InstitutionsHarvard University
Main interests
epistemology and the philosophies of art and science

Catherine Z. Elgin (born 1948) is a philosopher working in epistemology and the philosophies of art and science.[1] She holds a Ph.D. from Brandeis University where she studied with Nelson Goodman and is currently a professor of philosophy of education at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. She is well known for her several joint works with philosopher Nelson Goodman.

Philosophical work[edit]

Elgin's work has considered such questions as "what makes something cognitively valuable?" As an epistemologist, she considers the pursuit of understanding to be of higher value than the pursuit of knowledge.[1]

In Considered Judgment, Elgin argues for "a reconception that takes reflective equilibrium as the standard of rational acceptability."[2]


  • With Reference to Reference, Hackett, 1983
  • Reconceptions in Philosophy and Other Arts and Sciences, together with Nelson Goodman, Routledge, 1988
  • Revisionen. Philosophie und andere Künste und Wissenschaften, 1993
  • The Philosophy of Nelson Goodman, v. 1. Nominalism, Constructivism, and Relativism, ISBN 0-8153-2609-2, v. 2. Nelson Goodman's New Riddle of Induction, ISBN 0-8153-2610-6, v. 3. Nelson Goodman's Philosophy of Art, ISBN 0-8153-2611-4, v. 4. Nelson Goodman's Theory of Symbols and its Applications, ISBN 0-8153-2612-2, 1997[3]
  • Between the Absolute and the Arbitrary (Paperback), Cornell University Press, 1997[4]
  • Considered Judgment, Princeton University Press, 1996
  • Philosophical Inquiry: Classic and Contemporary Readings, 2007
  • Begging to differ, The Philosophers' Magazine, December, 2012
  • True Enough, MIT Press, 2017
  • "Understanding in Science and Elsewhere": Interview with Catherine Z. Elgin about her philosophy and her intellectual biography, published 2019 on 3:AM Magazine [1] and republished on 3:16 [2]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Harvard: Catherine Elgin". Harvard University. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  2. ^ "Considered Judgment". Princeton University Press. Retrieved 2009-03-01.
  3. ^ Elgin, Catherine (1997). The Philosophy of Nelson Goodman. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 0-8153-2612-2.
  4. ^ "Between the Absolute and the Arbitrary (Paperback)". Retrieved 2009-03-02.