Nathaniel Goldberg Professor of Philosophy

Nathaniel Goldberg

Washington Hall 323
Curriculum Vitae

Nathaniel Goldberg joined Washington and Lee 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 researches at the intersection of epistemology, metaphysics, and philosophy of language, and has an abiding interest in 18th-century philosopher Immanuel Kant. In over a dozen articles and chapters he explores the nature of meaning and conceptual change, and their consequences. In Kantian Conceptual Geography (Oxford 2015) he appeals to Kantian theses to investigate the nature of subjectivity, reality, constitutive principles, meaning, possible worlds, and truth.

Endorsing the mission of American Philosophical Association, which "promotes the discipline and profession of philosophy, both within the academy and in the public arena," Professor Goldberg has also coauthored with Professor Chris Gavaler (W&L, English) over a half dozen articles and chapters on philosophy and popular culture. In Superhero Thought Experiments (Iowa 2019), they answer the question: What if superhero comics are read as philosophical thought experiments?


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


Epistemology, Kant, Metaphysics, Philosophy of Language, Philosophy and Popular Culture


American Pragmatism (Fall 2018 and every other year)
Introduction to Logic (Fall 2019 and every Fall and Winter)
Kant (Fall 2019 and every other year)
Metaphysics: Existence & Reality (Fall 2018 and every other year)
Modern European Philosophy (every Winter)
Philosophy & Science Fiction (Spring 2019 and every other Spring)
Philosophy of Language (Fall 2019 and every other year)

Ancient Greek Philosophy
Epistemology: Knowledge & Doubt
Honors Thesis Seminar
Intermediate Logic
Philosophy of Time Travel

Selected Publications


  1. Superhero Thought Experiments, with Chris Gavaler (Iowa 2019)
  2. Kantian Conceptual Geography (Oxford 2015)
    * Symposium at Critique with critique by Paul Franco (University of Washington) and reply by me (24-25 August 2016)
    * Reviews Kant-Studien 109 (2018): 185–88, Philosophical Forum 47 (2016): 79–82, and Notre Dame Philosophical Review (27 August 2015)


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


  1. "Loving Lassos: Wonder Woman, Kink, and Care," with Maria Chavez and Chris Gavaler, Wonder Woman and Philosophy (Wiley Publishing, 2017), ch. 17 (188–97)
  2. "Wanting and Willing to Believe," with Chris Gavaler, X-Files and Philosophy (Open Court Publishing Company, 2017), ch. 25 (233-40)
  3. "Reply to Franco," in Symposium on Kantian Conceptual Geography at Critique: Discussing the Works of Kant & German Idealism (25 August 2016) (also above)
  4. "Time to Choose," with Chris Gavaler, Batman, Superman, and Philosophy (Open Court Publishing Company Press, 2016), ch. 13 (143-52)
  5. "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
  6. "Swampman, Response-Dependence, and Meaning," in Gerhard Preyer, ed. Donald Davidson on Truth, Meaning, and the Mental (Oxford University Press, 2012): 148-166
  7. "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)
  8. "Practice Makes Perfect," Varieties of Pragmatism, ed. Bogdan Dicher (Cluj-Napoca, Romania: Faculty of European Studies, Babeş-Bolyai University, 2009)
  9. "Tension within Triangulation," Proceedings of the Ohio Philosophical Association 5 (2008)
  10. "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)
  11. "Response-Dependence, Ethnocentrism, and Incommensurability," Proceedings of the Ohio Philosophical Association 4 (2007)
  12. "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 Lucy Allais’s Manifest Reality: Kant’s Idealism and His Realism (Oxford University Press, 2015) in Philosophy in Review 36 (December 2016): 238-40
  2. Review of Nicholas Rescher's Concept Audits: A Philosophical Method (Lexington Books, 2016) in Notre Dame Philosophical Review (7 December 2016)
  3. 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
  4. 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
  5. Review of Albert Casullo's Essays on A Priori Knowledge and Justification (Oxford University Press, 2014) in Philosophy in Review 35 (2015): 1–3
  6. 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
  7. Review of Daniel Dennett's Intuition Pumps and Other Tools for Thinking (W. W. Norton & Company, 2013) in Philosophy Now 101 (Mar/Apr 2014)
  8. 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)
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. Review of Marc Lange's An Introduction to the Philosophy of Physics (Blackwell Publishing, 2002), in The Review of Metaphysics 57 (2004): 631–33
  12. Review of Meir Buzaglo's Logic of Concept Expansion (Cambridge University Press, 2002), in The Review of Metaphysics 57 (2003): 141–43
  13. Inaugural Editor's Note, Eudaimonia: The Georgetown Philosophical Review 1 (2004): 4

Fall 2019 Office Hours

MW 2:30-3:30 pm
Tu 1:30-3:30 pm
By appointment