Nathaniel Goldberg Professor of Philosophy

Nathaniel Goldberg

Washington Hall 323
Curriculum Vitae

Nathaniel Goldberg joined W&L in 2008. He previously taught at Ohio University and Mount St. Mary’s University. He is past president of the Virginia Philosophical Association and faculty advisor for W&L's chapter of Phi Sigma Tau, the international philosophy honor society.

Professor Goldberg teaches classes in analytic "theoretical" philosophy (especially Epistemology, Introduction to Logic, and Philosophy of Language) and the history of Western "theoretical" philosophy (especially Early Modern European Philosophy, American Pragmatism, and Kant). He has advised honors theses on everything from the metaphysics of fiction to the philosophy of language presupposed by W&L's Honor System.

Besides dozens of articles, Professor Goldberg has written three books. (1) Kantian Conceptual Geography (Oxford 2015) appeals to Kantian theses to investigate constitutive principles, meaning, possible worlds, and truth. (2) Endorsing the mission of American Philosophical Association to promote "philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena," Superhero Thought Experiments (Iowa 2019), coauthored with Professor Chris Gavaler (W&L, English), reads superhero comics as philosophical thought experiments. (3) Revising Fiction, Fact Faith: A Philosophy of Revision (Routledge 2021), also coauthored with Professor Gavaler, offers a comprehensive philosophy of revision of fiction, fact, and faith, revealing insights into the philosophy of language, metaphysics, and the history and philosophy of science and religion. Professor Goldberg is writing a fourth book tentatively titled Philosophy of the History of Philosophy.


Ph.D. Philosophy, Georgetown University (2004)
M.A. Philosophy, Tufts University (1999)
B.A. History, Brandeis University (1996) 


Epistemology, Kant, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language


American Pragmatism (Fall 2020 and every other year)

Epistemology: Knowledge & Doubt (Winter 2021 and every other year)
Introduction to Logic (Fall 2020 and almost every Fall and Winter)

Kant (probably Fall 2021 and every other year)
Modern European Philosophy (Winter 2021 and every Winter)
Philosophy & Science Fiction (Spring 2021 and every other Spring)
Philosophy of Language (probably Fall 2021 and every other year)

Ancient Greek Philosophy
Honors Thesis Seminar
Intermediate Logic
Metaphysics: Existence & Reality
Philosophy of Time Travel

Selected Publications


  1. Revising Fiction, Fact, and Faith: A Philosophical Account, with Chris Gavaler (Routledge 2020)
  2. Superhero Thought Experiments, with Chris Gavaler (University of Iowa Press 2019)
    * Reviews in Diane Reviews Books and Joelendil's Kingdom of Books (15 September 2019), Shomeret: Masked Reviewer (18 November 2019), (23 January 2020), and Goodreads (multiple)
    * Reviews in Teaching Philosophy 43 (2020): 98–102, Journal of Graphic Novels and Philosophy 20 (2020, forthcoming), and Inks: The Journal of the Comics Studies Society 4 (2020): 239–43
    * Interview on Creativity in Progress podcast (10 October 2019); WBDJ7, the Roanoke, VA, CBS-affiliate television station (22 October 2019); and Philosophy Talk radio program syndicated by Public Radio International (teaser) (12 April 2020)
  3. Kantian Conceptual Geography (Oxford University Press 2015)
    * Symposium at Critique with critique by Paul Franco (University of Washington) and reply by me (24-25 August 2016)
    * Reviews in Kant-Studien 109 (2018): 185–88; Philosophical Forum 47 (2016): 79–82; and Notre Dame Philosophical Review (27 August 2015)


  1. "Comico, Ergo Sum," with Chris Gavaler, Philosophy Now (forthcoming)
  2. "There and Back Again: A Philosophy of Fictional Revision," with Chris Gavaler, Narrative (forthcoming)
  3. "Political Myths in Plato and Asimov," Journal of Science Fiction and Philosophy 2 (2019): 
  4. “Big-Boy Philosophy,” with Chris Gavaler,  (22 September 2019)
  5. "History of Philosophy and Conceptual Cartography," Analytic Philosophy 58 (2017): 119–38
  6. "Kant on Demarcation and Discovery," Kant Yearbook 9 (2017) 43–62
  7. "Alan Moore, Donald Davidson, and the Mind of Swampmen," with Chris Gavaler, Journal of Popular Culture 50 (2017): 239–58
  8. "Beyond Bullshit," with Chris Gavaler, Philosophy Now 121 (August/September 2017): 22–23
  9. "Dr. Doom's Philosophy of Time," with Chris Gavaler, Journal of Graphic Novels and Comics 8 (2017): 321–40
  10. "Marvels of Scepticism: René Descartes and Comic Book Sceptics," with Chris Gavaler, Foundations: The International Review of Science Fiction 126 (2017): 21–34; republished in French as “Les merveilles du scepticisme” in ReS Futurae: revue d’etudes sur la science-fiction 14 (2019):
  11. "Economy of the Comic Book Author's Soul," with Chris Gavaler, International Journal of Comic Art 18 (2016): 331–54
  12. "Davidson, Dualism, and Truth," Journal for the History of Analytic Philosophy 1 (2012): 0–19
  13. "Interpreting Thomas Kuhn as a Response-Dependence Theorist," International Journal of Philosophical Studies 19 (2011): 729–52
  14. "Historicism, Entrenchment, and Conventionalism," Journal for General Philosophy of Science 40 (2009): 259–76
  15. "Triangulation, Untranslatability, and Reconciliation," Philosophia 37 (2009): 261–80
  16. "Universal and Relative Rationality," Principia 13 (2009): 67–84 
  17. "Response-Dependence, Noumenalism, and Ontological Mystery," European Journal of Philosophy 17 (2008): 469–88
  18. "Incommensurability, Relativism, Scepticism: Reflections on Acquiring a Concept" with Matthew Rellihan, Ratio 21 (2008): 147–67
  19. "Tension within Triangulation," Southern Journal of Philosophy 46 (2008): 367–83
  20. "Do Principles of Reason Have 'Objective but Indeterminate Validity'?," Kant-Studien 95 (2004): 405–25
  21. "E Pluribus Unum: Arguments against Conceptual Schemes and Empirical Content," Southern Journal of Philosophy 42 (2004): 411–38
  22. "Is Aristotle's Philosophy of Mind Functionalist?," Philosophical Writings 26 (2004): 47–69
  23. "The Principle of Charity," Dialogue 43 (2004): 671–83
  24. "McTaggart on Time," Logic and Logical Philosophy 13 (2004): 71–76
  25. "Actually v. Possibly the Case: On Davidson's Omniscient Interpreter," Acta Analytica 18 (2003): 143–60


  1. "Sands of Time," Scholars of Dune, ed. Nathan Trevor Brierly and Dominic Nardi (McFarland forthcoming)
  2. "Paradigm Shifts: Eros, Epstein Drive, and Thomas Kuhn," The Expanse and Philosophy, ed. Jeffrey Nicholas (Wiley forthcoming)
  3. "Loving Lassos: Wonder Woman, Kink, and Care," with Maria Chavez and Chris Gavaler, Wonder Woman and Philosophy (Wiley Publishing 2017), ch. 17 (188–97)
  4. "Wanting and Willing to Believe," with Chris Gavaler, X-Files and Philosophy (Open Court Publishing Company 2017), ch. 25 (233-40)
  5. "Time to Choose," with Chris Gavaler, Batman, Superman, and Philosophy (Open Court Publishing Company Press 2016), ch. 13 (143-52)
  6. "Psychological Eudaimonism and Interpretation in Greek Ethics" with Mark LeBar, in Rachana Kamtekar, ed., Virtue and Happiness: Essays in Honor of Julia AnnasOxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy (Oxford University Press 2012): 287–320
  7. "Swampman, Response-Dependence, and Meaning," in Gerhard Preyer, ed. Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental (Oxford University Press, 2012): 148-166
  8. "Where Does Knowledge Come From? Quine, Davidson, and Traditional Epistemology," in David Stewart, H. Gene Blocker, and James Petrik, eds., Fundamentals of Philosophy (Prentice Hall), 8th ed. (2012, ch. 18) and 7th ed. (2009, ch. 19, 210–18)
  9. "Practice Makes Perfect," Varieties of Pragmatism, ed. Bogdan Dicher (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Faculty of European Studies, Babeş-Bolyai University, 2009)
  10. "Tension within Triangulation," Proceedings of the Ohio Philosophical Association 5 (2008)
  11. "Davidson, Triangulation, and a Suggestion from Peirce," Philosophy of Pragmatism (II): Salient Inquiries, ed. Bogdan Dicher and Adrian Ludusan (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Faculty of European Studies, Babeş-Bolyai University, 2008)
  12. "Response-Dependence, Ethnocentrism, and Incommensurability," Proceedings of the Ohio Philosophical Association 4 (2007)
  13. "Davidson's Return to Kant," in José María Torralba, ed., Doscientos Años Después: Retornos y Relecturas de Kant [Two Hundred Years After: Returns and Re-Interpretations of Kant] (Publication Services of University of Navarra, Spain, 2005): 33–48 


  1. Review of Huaping Lu-Adler’s Kant and the Science of Logic: A Historical and Philosophical Reconstruction (Oxford University Press 2018), Philosophy in Review 39 (November 2019): 191–93
  2. Review of Lucy Allais’s Manifest Reality: Kant’s Idealism and His Realism (Oxford University Press, 2015) in Philosophy in Review 36 (December 2016): 238-40
  3. Review of Nicholas Rescher's Concept Audits: A Philosophical Method (Lexington Books, 2016) in Notre Dame Philosophical Review (7 December 2016)
  4. Review of Margaret Cameron and Robert J. Stainton’s Linguistic Content: New Essays on the History of the Philosophy of Language (Oxford University Press, 2015) in Philosophy in Review 36 (August 2016): 154–56
  5. Review of R. Lanier Anderson's The Poverty of Conceptual Truth: Kant's Analytic/Synthetic Distinction and the Limits of Metaphysics (Oxford University Press, 2015) in Kantian Review (2016): 146–51
  6. Review of Albert Casullo's Essays on A Priori Knowledge and Justification (Oxford University Press, 2014) in Philosophy in Review 35 (2015): 1–3
  7. Review of David Braine's Language and Human Understanding: The Roots of Creativity in Speech and Thought (Catholic University Press, 2014) in The Review of Metaphysics 68 (2014): 158–59
  8. Review of Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013) in Philosophy Now 101 (Mar/Apr 2014)
  9. Review of Maria Cristina Amoretti and Gerhard Preyer's (eds.) Triangulation: From an Epistemological Point of View (Ontos, 2001) in Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews (14 Oct 2011)
  10. Review of Roger Gibson's Cambridge Companion to Quine (Cambridge University Press, 2004) and Quintessence: Basic Readings from the Philosophy of W. V. Quine (Harvard University Press, 2004) in The Review of Metaphysics 58 (2005): 660–62
  11. Review of Predrag Cicovacki's Between Truth and Illusion: Kant at the Crossroads of Modernity (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002), in The Review of Metaphysics 57 (2004): 832­­–33
  12. Review of Marc Lange's An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics (Blackwell Publishing, 2002), in The Review of Metaphysics 57 (2004): 631–33
  13. Review of Meir Buzaglo's Logic of Concept Expansion (Cambridge University Press, 2002), in The Review of Metaphysics 57 (2003): 141–43
  14. Inaugural Editor's Note, Eudaimonia: The Georgetown Philosophical Review 1 (2004): 4

Fall 2020 Office Hours

online by appointment