Nelson Goodman and Project Zero: art, cognition, and education

Annamaria Contini


In 1967, Nelson Goodman founded Project Zero, a program of basic research into art education, which, even today, is an international reference point. This article reviews the relationships between the theses set out in Languages of art and the most original results obtained by Project Zero between 1967 and 1971, when Goodman was the director. Thus emerges the role of general symbol theory in developing an educational approach that attempts to over-come the dichotomy between art and science, between the emotive and the cognitive. The article also analyzes the effects of Goodman’s participation in Project Zero on his aesthetic-philosophical reflections, using it to interpret both the exemplar function taken on by art in Ways of worldmaking, and the emergence of new concepts such as that of “implementation”.


Art education; Symbol systems; Understanding

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