Philosophy G. E. Moore
by
Brian Hutchinson
  • LAST REVIEWED: 08 October 2015
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 July 2019
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195396577-0222

Introduction

G. E. Moore (b. 1873–d. 1958) is credited, along with Bertrand Russell, for doing the most in the early 20th century to weaken the hold of idealism on English language philosophy and for advancing the method of analysis, which through its many permutations can be considered still to be the prevailing way of doing philosophy in English. He was also known for his tireless defense of “common sense” as a source of knowledge about the world against many different kinds of philosophical attacks against it. His making much of the fact that philosophers often make a point of criticizing our common understanding of the world without any good reason to do so makes him, along with Ludwig Wittgenstein (b. 1889–d. 1951), with whom he was in close personal and philosophical contact, a searching critic of philosophy. He did not, however, follow Wittgenstein in advocating a therapeutic philosophical approach, as he found that, despite their confusions, philosophers did raise genuine questions. Philosophers such as A. J. Ayer (b. 1919–d. 1989) found that the analytic method Moore did so much to foster revealed the genuine philosophical core of questions while eliminating their “metaphysical” dross. A much-discussed question of Moore scholarship concerns his strategy of pointing philosophers to, or even of “proving” to them, various things that, in his opinion, they know, and their denial of which he considers to send their philosophy off track. How is he proposing to proceed, given that the most salient feature of their theorizing is their resistance to the very things he would point out or prove to them? This question arises in one or another form in all the areas of his greatest contributions: ethics, where, except for a momentary wobble, he defended a robust objectivism; epistemology, where his defense of a sense data theory of perception sits uneasily with his view that we have certain knowledge of the existence of mind-independent material objects; metaphysics, where his defense of universals bolsters the act-object theory of consciousness he advocated against idealist theories; and metaphilosophy, whose issues he usually broached in discussions of more specific topics. His disarming philosophical approach to issues appears to have stemmed from his unassuming, even innocent, character, for which he was much admired. Despite being shocked by the peculiar things many philosophers said, he trusted that they would accept the truth about an issue if only it were sufficiently clarified. At times he risks tedium in the pursuit of clarity, but at other times, the clarity he achieves gives his writing an austere beauty.

General Overviews

Baldwin 1990, dealing with all aspects of Moore’s work and tracing its development from the idealist views he came so forcefully to reject, can profitably be read by advanced undergraduates and professional philosophers alike. Klemke 1969 and Klemke 2000, two books demanding close attention, deal thoughtfully and at length with, respectively, Moore’s epistemology and his metaphysics. The combination of breadth and concision in the discussion of Moore’s metaphysical thought in O’Connor 1982 makes it a good place for graduate students to begin an in-depth study of Moore. Displaying an impressive fingertip knowledge of Moore’s many papers, White 1958 will be most helpful to readers with prior knowledge of English language philosophy in the first half of the 20th century. Careful readers with some knowledge of Moore’s opinions on different topics will find Nelson 1967, the dense entry on Moore from The Encyclopedia of Philosophy, to be helpful in tying them together.

  • Baldwin, Thomas. G. E. Moore. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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    This largest of books devoted to the entirety of Moore’s philosophy begins by examining his early flirtation with idealism, moves to his defense of “pure” realism, and ends with his acceptance of a less “pure” form of realism. Can profitably be dipped into.

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    • Klemke, Elmer D. The Epistemology of G. E. Moore. Evanston, IL: Northwestern University Press, 1969.

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      Sifts through Moore’s writings on method, knowledge, and perception to show the variety of views he held or considered while adhering to the same general line on them. Sections can profitably be read independently of each other. For advanced readers.

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      • Klemke, Elmer D. A Defense of Realism: Reflections on the Metaphysics of G. E. Moore. Amherst, NY: Humanity, 2000.

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        Examines what the author takes to be best in Moore’s metaphysics. Argues that Moore’s analytical work almost always serves a classical understanding of metaphysics. Little interest in the history of Moore’s views or with what others have said about them. For advanced readers.

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        • Nelson, John O. “G. E. Moore.” In The Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Vol. 5. Edited by Paul Edwards, 372–381. New York: Macmillan, 1967.

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          Dense discussion tying together Moore’s views on method, metaphysics, general epistemology, perception, and value that takes greater note of the discontinuities between Moore’s pre- and post-1903 thought than the continuities. Notes that Moore became more resigned to the difficulty of philosophy in his later years.

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          • O’Connor, David. The Metaphysics of G. E. Moore. Dordrecht, The Netherlands: D. Reidel, 1982.

            DOI: 10.1007/978-94-009-7749-5Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Argues that Moore’s philosophical defense of common sense precludes neither a materialistic analysis of mind nor a phenomenalistic analysis of physical objects; it does, however, require a realist theory of universals.

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            • White, Alan R. G. E. Moore: A Critical Exposition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958.

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              Lucid introduction to Moore’s thought, published shortly after his death. Follows Moore’s own division of topics in Schilpp 1968 (cited under Anthologies) into method, ethics, and perception. Concentrates on method, the topic about which Moore explicitly said the least.

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              Works by Moore

              Moore only wrote two books over a very long career, both of them on ethics, and only one of them, Principia Ethica (Moore 2000), with a grand thematic sweep. Further, when he returned to a topic, which he regularly did, he did not often discuss how he came to his current view from the one he previously held. Thus the student of Moore is called on to do a great deal of patient work in sorting through and piecing together material whose connections are not obvious. The publication in 1903, when Moore was thirty, of Principia Ethica and “The Refutation of Idealism,” the first paper in the first of the two collections of papers whose publication he oversaw, Philosophical Studies (Moore 1960), dramatically mark his break from idealism and his acceptance of realism. These works also provide materials for the defense of the commonsense understanding of the world and a critique of philosophy for seeking to undermine that understanding by misguided argumentation. The rest of the papers in Moore 1960 consist in the main of more careful and less ambitious works than “Refutation.” Moore 1986, a collection of essays written prior to 1903 that Moore himself did not see fit to publish, reveals both his early allegiance to idealism and his first steps away from it. Two of these essays are taken with only small changes from Moore’s fellowship essays of 1897 and 1898, collected by Baldwin and Preti, along with additional materials, in Moore 2011, to which they have appended a very enlightening introduction. The Element of Ethics (Moore 1991), which Moore prepared to publish but ultimately did not, contains much of the same material as Principia, but also lacks its most famous argument. Though Moore retained the same general outlook in Ethics as he did in Principia, he provides arguments against subjectivism not provided there and changed his mind about the nature of rightness. The edition of Ethics (Moore 2005) that has been cited here also contains “The Nature of Moral Philosophy,” an address he delivered to an audience assumed to have no background in philosophy. Moore’s largest work, Some Main Problems of Philosophy (Moore 1953b), a record of classroom lectures he delivered in 1910–1911, contains discussions of a host of metaphysical and epistemological topics, plus his most detailed discussion of the nature of philosophy. Philosophical Papers (Moore 1953a), the second of the two collections of essays and lectures published in Moore’s lifetime, contains both his celebrated “defense” of common sense and his “proof” of an external world, in addition to important papers on related topics and a paper on Wittgenstein’s early lectures upon his return to Cambridge.

              • Moore, G. E. Philosophical Papers. London: Allen & Unwin, 1953a.

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                The second collection of papers compiled during Moore’s lifetime. In addition to the famous papers defending common sense and attacking skepticism, there are papers on Russell and Wittgenstein along with ones on more technical issues.

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                • Moore, G. E. Some Main Problems of Philosophy. London: Allen & Unwin, 1953b.

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                  Lectures Moore presented in 1910–1911. The first lecture, Moore’s most considered discussion of the nature of philosophy, is important for understanding his attitude toward skepticism. The work also contains an important discussion of Hume’s skepticism and many discussions of metaphysical and epistemological issues, including truth and direct apprehension. First published in 1953.

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                  • Moore, G. E. Philosophical Studies. London: Routledge & Kegan Paul, 1960.

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                    In addition to “The Refutation of Idealism,” which is central both to Moore’s objectivism about value and his later thoughts on skepticism, there are papers on sense data and perception, ethics, and points concerning the philosophies of Hume, William James, and F. H. Bradley. First published in 1922.

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                    • Moore, G. E. G. E. Moore: The Early Essays. Edited by Tom Regan. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.

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                      Essays Moore did not see fit to publish in his lifetime that trace his break from idealism. Some scholars consider “The Nature of Judgment” to be more important than “The Refutation of Idealism” in marking this break. This paper and another, “Identity,” contain important work on universals.

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                      • Moore, G. E. The Elements of Ethics. Edited by Tom Regan. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1991.

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                        This apprentice work to Principia Ethica is perhaps more important for what it does not contain—any mention of the open-question argument—than for what it does. Criticizes the privation theory of evil as something only a philosopher could accept; ends with a very strong appeal to common sense.

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                        • Moore, G. E. Principia Ethica. Rev. ed. Edited by Thomas Baldwin. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.

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                          The most important English-language ethical treatise of at least the first half of the 20th century. Among its most striking, interrelated features are its objectivist account of goodness, its reductive consequentialist account of rightness, and its opposition to utopianism at both the level of theoretical-philosophical and practical-political thought.

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                          • Moore, G. E. Ethics and “The Nature of Moral Philosophy.” Edited by William H. Shaw. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2005.

                            DOI: 10.1093/0199272018.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            Published eight years after Principia and lacking its fire, Ethics offers new arguments against subjectivist theories of value, a nonreductivist consequentialist account of rightness, and a proposal about what it means to say that we have “free will” that was famously criticized by J. L. Austin.

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                            • Moore, G. E. G. E. Moore: Early Philosophical Writings. Edited by Thomas Baldwin and Consuelo Preti. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2011.

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                              Moore’s 1897 and 1898 fellowship dissertations, from which Moore respectively culled his papers “Freedom” and “The Nature of Judgment,” plus supplemental materials. The extremely helpful introduction discusses Moore’s criticisms of Kant and traces the development of his thought away from a Kantian-Bradleian idealism toward a Platonic realism. See also Moore’s Early Thought in Context.

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                              Anthologies

                              Readers have their pick of a number of different anthologies, with interestingly different subjects and approaches. Schilpp 1968, containing papers by distinguished philosophers on a variety of important topics as well as Moore’s own often deeply considered replies to them, is the single most important resource for understanding his philosophy. Many of the papers collected in Ambrose and Lazerowitz 1970 consist of general ruminations, many by colleagues and friends, on various features of Moore’s philosophy. Klemke 1969, a collection of papers written in high analytical style and with great attention to detail, will best serve readers seeking an expert’s knowledge on whatever topic in Moore a paper happens to be discussing. Nuccetelli and Seay 2007 contains invited papers on topics in epistemology, ethics, and semantics. Horgan and Timmons 2006 and Wellman 2003 contain papers on Moore’s ethical theory presented to conferences in commemoration of the one hundredth anniversary of the publication of Principia Ethica (Moore 2000, cited under Works by Moore). In general, the papers in Wellman 2003 stay closer to the text of Principia, while those in Horgan and Timmons 2006 look beyond the details of Principia to assess its impact. Green and Williams 2007 is a collection of essays on “Moore’s paradox,” which has garnered a great deal of attention by philosophers working in a number of different fields, including epistemology and the philosophy of language. Sinclair 2019 contains articles on Moore’s most famous argument in ethics on the so-called naturalistic fallacy. In addition to articles that explore the role played by the argument in subsequent theorizing are articles that defend it and criticize it from different perspectives.

                              • Ambrose, Alice, and Morris Lazerowitz. G. E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect. Muirhead Library of Philosophy. London: Allen & Unwin, 1970.

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                                Many of the essays are rather programmatic and not where one would first look to gain a deeper understanding of Moore’s thought on an issue. They do, however, show how widely respected and beloved a figure he was.

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                                • Green, Mitchell, and John N. Williams, eds. Moore’s Paradox: New Essays on Belief, Rationality, and the First Person. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                  Moore noted a number of times that though they are not formal contradictions, it is absurd to assert statements of the form “p and I don’t believe it.” Papers collected here explore the philosophical significance of this paradoxical fact from different angles and suggest various ways of treating it.

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                                  • Horgan, Terry, and Mark Timmons, eds. Metaethics after Moore. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199269914.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    A wide range of papers read at the Seidel Conference on Principia Ethica at the University of Memphis, October 2002. Many of the papers are more concerned with Moorean ideas and their ramifications than with detailed exegesis.

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                                    • Klemke, Elmer D., ed. Studies in the Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969.

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                                      In addition to detailed and difficult papers on more standard topics of Moore scholarship, this volume contains papers on the important topic of his thought on universals.

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                                      • Nuccetelli, Susana, and Gary Seay, eds. Themes from G. E. Moore. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                        These papers, some rather technical, have the charge of gauging Moore’s possible contributions to contemporary discussions of issues in epistemology, ethics, and semantics. A wide range of opinions about his work is displayed.

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                                        • Schilpp, Paul A., ed. The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                          Indispensable for any student of Moore or analytic philosophy. In conjunction with Moore’s own deeply considered replies, many of these papers not only deepen our understanding of his views, but contribute to the development of important alternatives to them.

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                                          • Sinclair, Neil, ed. The Naturalistic Fallacy. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2019.

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                                            Contains a careful recapitulation of Moore’s argument concerning the so-called fallacy, a discussion of its role in 20th-century metaethics, and favorable and unfavorable takes on it from different perspectives. The articles are written by first-rate philosophers and scholars; the collection will be a boon to teachers and students.

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                                            • Wellman, Christopher H., ed. Special Issue: Centenary Symposium on G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica. Ethics 113.3 (April 2003).

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                                              Contains both a generally critical (Nicholas Sturgeon) and a favorable (Donald Regan) appraisal of Principia Ethica, plus a host of papers on more particular topics. The papers’ general attention to detail makes this a good place to go for the reader seeking a detailed understanding of Principia.

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                                              Works on Moore’s Ethics

                                              No other work on ethics written in English in the first half of the 20th century can match the impact of Moore’s Principia Ethica (Moore 2000, cited under Works by Moore). An impressive number of the most distinguished works written in English since its publication in 1903 have either taken it on directly or kept it closely in view. Moore’s later ethical works, written without the fire of Principia, offer refinements of his position while remaining consistent with its basic line. Though not a work of exegesis, Butchvarov 1989 offers a sophisticated elaboration of a broadly Moorean ethical theory and backing metaphysics. Besides situating Principia in its wider artistic and intellectual milieu at the turn of the century, Regan 1986 argues against what had been, and perhaps still is, the received view on Moore’s social and political philosophy. Hutchinson 2001 offers detailed examinations of most of the main features of Moore’s position. Hill 1976 closely examines the relation of Moore’s ethics to his “common sense” philosophical approach, and the posthumous Sylvester 1990 offers insights on a number of important points that Moore did not fully develop. Sturgeon 2003 provides a negative assessment of Principia’s antinaturalist arguments. Korsgaard 1983 offers a sophisticated alternative account, inspired by Kant, of the “objectivity” of goodness. The main focus of Shaw 1995, which can profitably be read by professional philosophers and students alike, is away from Moore’s metaethics and more toward the practical dimensions of his ethical thought.

                                              • Butchvarov, Panayot. Skepticism in Ethics. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1989.

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                                                Not explicitly devoted to Moore’s ethics but richly illuminative of it. Moore prepares the ground for understanding goodness as an extremely general property, making the distinction between natural and nonnatural properties a matter of degree rather than kind.

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                                                • Hill, John. The Ethics of G. E. Moore: A New Interpretation. Assen, The Netherlands: Van Gorcum & Comp. B. V., 1976.

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                                                  Argues that rather than starting with the property “good” as an axiom, Moore arrives at it by a consideration of the data of moral experience. Charges Moore with not taking seriously enough the impediments to moral consensus brought about by different cultural and epochal “value horizons.”

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                                                  • Hutchinson, Brian. G. E Moore’s Ethical Theory: Resistance and Reconciliation. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 2001.

                                                    DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511498183Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                    Explores Moore’s rejection of the idea that our turning away from our basic knowledge of goodness is redeemed by its leading us to a deeper moral understanding. Argues against Regan 1986 that Moore’s not always clear text reveals him to be politically and socially conservative.

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                                                    • Korsgaard, Christine M. “Two Distinctions in Goodness.” Philosophical Review 92.2 (April 1983): 169–195.

                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2184924Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                      Argues that because it does not involve assigning a property to all good things, a Kantian account of the “objectivity” of goodness does what Moore’s theory cannot do, make intelligible our caring about objectively good things.

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                                                      • Regan, Tom. Bloomsbury’ Prophet: G. E. Moore and the Development of His Moral Philosophy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.

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                                                        Explores Moore’s relations to the Bloomsbury Group, who saw Principia as liberating them from the values of a dying era. Argues that its rejection of all but the most “necessary” rules makes Principia socially and politically radical.

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                                                        • Shaw, William H. Moore on Right and Wrong: The Normative Ethics of G. E. Moore. Dordrecht, The Netherlands, and Boston: Kluwer Academic, 1995.

                                                          DOI: 10.1007/978-94-015-8537-8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                          Closely examines, among other things, the different, reductivist and nonreductivist, ideal utilitarian accounts of rightness Moore defends in Principia and Ethics; Moore’s understanding of the different kinds of social rules and the proper attitude to take toward them; and his views on the difference between “duty” and “expediency.”

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                                                          • Sturgeon, Nicholas L. “Moore on Ethical Naturalism.” In Special Issue: Centenary Symposium on G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica. Edited by Christopher H. Wellman. Ethics 113.3 (April 2003): 528–556.

                                                            DOI: 10.1086/345627Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                            Examines the entire battery of arguments against ethical naturalism Moore marshals in Principia, and finds them to fail against sophisticated versions of the theory, which were developed in part to meet these very arguments.

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                                                            • Sylvester, Robert Peter. The Moral Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Ray Perkins Jr. and R. W. Sleeper. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990.

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                                                              Finds Moore to tend toward holding our original awareness of goodness to come via a consideration of particular matters of fact rather than by generalization. Argues that a standard criticism of Moore’s views as encouraging moral dogmatism misses the mark widely.

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                                                              Moore’s Early Thought in Context

                                                              Readers are not without resources for gaining an understanding of the influences on Moore’s early philosophy (though the influence of Plato has perhaps never been thoroughly investigated). Thomas Baldwin has done the most to place the entirety of Moore’s early philosophy into its philosophical context. The relatively short length and great reader-friendliness of Baldwin 2008, the main entry on Moore in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, makes it the best place for the reader without a great deal of knowledge on Moore to look for an understanding of the historical background of his thought. Baldwin 1990 examines the idealist influences on his thinking in much greater depth. Soames 2003, which can profitably be read by anyone beginning graduate studies in a department featuring an analytic approach, centers its discussion of Moore’s nonethical thought on his 1939 “Proof of an External World” rather than, as is more usual, his 1903 “The Refutation of Idealism.” It reserves most of its discussion of Moore’s great influence on philosophy in the 20th century to his ethics. Baldwin 1991 discusses, for very advanced students and professional philosophers, the commonalities and differences of the views on truth propagated by Bradley, Moore, and Russell in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The speculative discussion in Preti 2008 about the influences on Moore of less idealistically inclined empirical psychologists make his break from Bradley and other idealists appear less abrupt and so more explicable. Because of its rare combination of clarity and erudition, students at almost any level of understanding will benefit from the discussion in Prior 1949 of the historical sources of Moore’s ethical thought. The same can also be said for Hurka 2003, which places Moore’s ethical thought on a smaller continuum than the one Prior does. Regan 1986 places Moore’s ethical thinking into its larger social and intellectual milieu, while also engaging in thoughtful philosophical criticism of it.

                                                              • Baldwin, Thomas. G. E. Moore. New York: Routledge, 1990.

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                                                                This book, encompassing the entirety of Moore’s career, spends much time at the beginning, discussing the influences on his thought of his British and German idealist predecessors, from whom he so dramatically broke.

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                                                                • Baldwin, Thomas. “The Identity Theory of Truth.” Mind n.s. 100.1 (January 1991): 35–52.

                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/mind/C.397.35Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                  Argues that Moore’s 1899 “The Nature of Judgment” defends, as Bradley does, a version of the “identity” theory of truth. But whereas Bradley appealed to reality to define truth, Moore reversed direction by defining reality as the set of true propositions.

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                                                                  • Baldwin, Thomas. “George Edward Moore.” In The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Edited by Edward N. Zalta. Stanford, CA: Stanford University, 2008.

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                                                                    As does Baldwin 1990, this article emphasizes the continuities in Moore’s pre- and post-1903 thought, especially in ethics. Considers his appreciative but not uncritical attitude toward the philosophical uses to which Russell put his logic.

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                                                                    • Hurka, Thomas. “Moore in the Middle.” In Special Issue: Centenary Symposium on G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica. Edited by Christopher H. Wellman. Ethics 113.3 (April 2003): 599–628.

                                                                      DOI: 10.1086/345624Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                      Situating Moore within a continuum of thinkers running from Sidgwick to Ross, Hurka argues that he was not nearly as revolutionary a figure as he supposed himself to be. Still, his arguing for the primacy of “good” over “ought” was an insightful innovation.

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                                                                      • Preti, Consuelo. “On the Origins of the Contemporary Notion of Propositional Content: Anti-psychologism in Nineteenth-Century Psychology and G. E. Moore’s Early Theory of Judgment.” Studies in History and Philosophy of Science Part A 39.2 (2008): 176–185.

                                                                        DOI: 10.1016/j.shpsa.2008.03.002Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                        Serves nicely as a contrast to Baldwin 1991 in arguing that the work of anti-psychologistic empirical psychologists, which came to Moore via his teachers Ward and Stout, was a greater influence than Bradley on “The Nature of Judgment.”

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                                                                        • Prior, Arthur N. Logic and the Basis of Ethics. Oxford: Clarendon, 1949.

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                                                                          Elegantly explores the 18th- and 19th-century antecedents of Moore’s views on the putative deficiencies of naturalistic ethics, and with that, his views on the logical independence of “ought” from “is.”

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                                                                          • Regan, Tom. Bloomsbury’ Prophet: G. E. Moore and the Development of His Moral Philosophy. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1986.

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                                                                            As much a work of intellectual history as philosophy, its examination of unpublished papers that Moore read to audiences of varying degrees of philosophical sophistication fleshes out the larger social dimensions of his thought. See also Works on Moore’s Ethics.

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                                                                            • Soames, Scott. Philosophical Analysis in the Twentieth Century: The Dawn of Analysis. Vol. 1. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.

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                                                                              The little attention paid to “The Refutation of Idealism” is surprising, given the revisionist character of idealism and Soames’s view that a great achievement of analytic philosophy was its breaking from its immediate past to insist that philosophy be grounded in prephilosophical thought.

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                                                                              “The Refutation of Idealism” (1903)

                                                                              As Moore admits, the paper in which he completes his break from idealism is misleadingly titled, since he only claims to refute a proposition that he claims serves as a premise for all idealist arguments, namely, the proposition that “To be is to be perceived.” Given the difficulty of Moore’s paper (published in Moore 1960, cited under Works by Moore), the difficulty of all of the commentaries on it discussed here is unsurprising. Klemke 1969 carefully parses Moore’s not-always-clear text and finds him to come within a whisker of refuting the claim that to be is to be perceived. Ayer 1971 argues that in the years following “Refutation,” Moore retreated from some of its strongest claims while remaining opposed to idealism. Strong 1905 and Rogers 1919 are each in their own way troubled by the possibility that Moore’s anti-idealist “act-object” analysis of consciousness does not merely leave consciousness “transparent” or “diaphanous,” but leaves it being nothing at all. Ducasse 1968 influentially puts forward as an alternative to Moore’s act-object analysis of perception the adverbial theory, according to which the “contents” or “objects” of experience are really ways of sensing. Hellie 2007 situates what it calls Moore’s “relational” theory of phenomenal consciousness within contemporary discussions in the philosophy of mind.

                                                                              • Ayer, Alfred J. Russell and Moore: The Analytical Heritage. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1971.

                                                                                DOI: 10.1007/978-1-349-01909-0Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                Agrees with Moore that solipsism is avoidable only if there are sense data whose being is not to be perceived. Argues that the use of singular terms blurs the important distinction between internal and external relations, but allows that Moore might not have considered such terms to be fundamental.

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                                                                                • Ducasse, Curt J. “Moore’s ‘The Refutation of Idealism.’” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 225–251. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                  Develops the adverbial theory of consciousness as an alternative to Moore’s act-object theory of consciousness. Terms like “blue” do not name mind-independent objects or qualities but rather ways of sensing: one senses bluely as one dances waltzily.

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                                                                                  • Hellie, Benj. “That Which Makes the Sensation of Blue a Mental Fact: Moore on Phenomenal Relationism.” European Journal of Philosophy 15.3 (2007): 334–366.

                                                                                    DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2007.00274.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                    Argues, upon a reading of the second part of “Refutation,” that Moore offers a relational theory of phenomenal experience strongly opposed to representationalism. In opposition to most contemporary theorists, Moore considers this point to be more important than the (seeming) transparency of consciousness.

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                                                                                    • Klemke, Elmer D. “Did G. E. Moore Refute Idealism?” In Studies in the Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Elmer D. Klemke, 3–24. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969.

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                                                                                      In the light of claims Moore did not make explicit until “Proof of an External World,” Klemke distinguishes between and assesses the merits of four different closely related arguments against idealism. He concludes that idealists have given no good reason to think that to be is to be perceived.

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                                                                                      • Rogers, Arthur K. “Mr. Moore’s Refutation of Idealism.” Philosophical Review 28.1 (1919): 77–84.

                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2178123Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                        Argues that Moore’s act-object analysis of consciousness threatens to deny reality to consciousness altogether. Although instances of knowing consciousness have separate objects, less refined forms of consciousness do not. This explains the distinction between the subjective and objective dimensions of consciousness.

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                                                                                        • Strong, Charles A. “Has Mr. Moore Refuted Idealism?” Mind 14.54 (April 1905): 174–189.

                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/mind/XIV.2.174Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                          Argues that if consciousness were a “mere emptiness,” self-consciousness would be impossible. What Moore takes to be an important weakness of idealism, its holding the outwardness of subjective awareness to be instinctive and so not subject to validation by thought, is actually an important insight.

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                                                                                          The Open-Question Argument

                                                                                          With the open-question argument, the most famous of Principia’s many arguments, and perhaps the most famous argument in 20th-century ethical theory, Moore claimed to prove the indefinability, that is, the irreducibility or ultimacy, of the property “good.” The impressive range of interpretations of and attitudes toward the argument speaks to its great importance. Frankena 1939 points out that the argument leads to the paradox of Analysis and, in addition, finds it to locate rather than settle the most important disagreement objectivists and subjectivists have about value. Strandberg 2004 defends the argument as providing the best explanation of the fact that competent speakers of English instinctively take a question about the way in which two English terms or phrases are used to be significant. Among other things, Ball 1988 defends the argument against philosophers who appeal to semantic theories developed after Principia (Moore 2000, cited under Works by Moore) to argue the argument’s invalidity. Rosati 1995 examines the responses of “new naturalists” to the argument and finds them to be wanting. Altman 2004 develops an interpretation of the argument that enables it to sidestep difficulties it faces on more standard readings. Hare 1961 considers the argument properly understood to support a noncognitivist metaethical position; namely, prescriptivism. Pigden 2007 considers Moore’s argument in light of the definition of goodness that Russell had proposed a few years earlier, which served Moore as his example of a definition. Darwall 2003 argues that in the open-question argument, Moore fails to distinguish sharply enough between practical and theoretical reason.

                                                                                          • Altman, Andrew. “Breathing Life into a Dead Argument: G. E. Moore and the Open Question.” Philosophical Studies 117.3 (2004): 395–408.

                                                                                            DOI: 10.1023/B:PHIL.0000016485.84292.c8Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                            Uses passages the standard interpretation has difficulty coming to terms with to develop an argument that hinges on the radical difference between predicating goodness of the property purported to be its defining property and predicating it of goodness itself.

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                                                                                            • Ball, Stephen W. “Reductionism in Ethics and Science: A New Look at G. E. Moore’s Open-Question Argument.” American Philosophical Quarterly 25.3 (July 1988): 97–213.

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                                                                                              Claims that the arguments against Moore by Gilbert Harman and Hilary Putnam, developed in the light of 20th-century semantic theories, are either anachronistic or have Moore not merely putting forward an invalid argument, but one that would “prove” something unintelligible.

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                                                                                              • Darwall, Stephen. “Moore, Normativity, and Intrinsic Value.” In Special Issue: Centenary Symposium on G. E. Moore’s Principia Ethica. Edited by Christopher H. Wellman. Ethics 113.3 (April 2003): 468–489.

                                                                                                DOI: 10.1086/345623Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                The open-question argument’s exposure of an irreducibly normative mode of discourse undermines Moore’s own attempt to closely analogize practical and theoretical reason. Although reasons for believing are agent-neutral, those reasons for acting that involve the making of a claim are agent-relative, a matter of will rather than intellect.

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                                                                                                • Frankena, William K. “The Naturalistic Fallacy.” Mind 48.192 (1939): 464–477.

                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1093/mind/XLVIII.192.464Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                  Argues that the dispute between objectivists and subjectivists cannot be settled on the narrow logical grounds on which Moore seeks to settle it. When objectivists accuse subjectivists of being blind to a unique property, subjectivists reply that objectivists suffer from conceptual illusion.

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                                                                                                  • Hare, Richard M. The Language of Morals. Oxford: Clarendon, 1961.

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                                                                                                    Argues that Moore is right in holding the word “good” to be indefinable, but wrong in his explanation of this fact. A definition would rob “good” of its primary function of guiding peoples’ choices. See chapter 5. First published in 1952.

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                                                                                                    • Pigden, Charles R. “Desiring to Desire: Russell, Lewis, and G. E. Moore.”In Themes from G. E. Moore. Edited by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay, 244–260. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                      Examines Moore’s argument in the light of Russell’s paper “Is Ethics a Branch of Empirical Psychology?”—from which Moore took his example of a definition of goodness as what we desire to desire. Finds two different arguments in the text, the open-question argument and the barren-tautology argument.

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                                                                                                      • Rosati, Connie S. “Naturalism, Normativity, and the Open Question Argument.” Noûs 29.1 (1995): 46–70.

                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2215726Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                        First explains how the “new naturalist” analysis of goodness as being what a fully informed rational person would desire to desire is supposed to counter Moore’s argument, then argues that it fails to account for the depths that moral self-criticism can reach.

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                                                                                                        • Strandberg, Caj. “In Defence of the Open Question Argument.” Journal of Ethics 8.2 (2004): 179–196.

                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1023/B:JOET.0000018766.62114.75Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                          Argues that the best explanation of our doubting whether two words or phrases apply to the same things is their denoting different properties. By going from implicit linguistic knowledge to explicit knowledge that two properties are different, the argument avoids the paradox of analysis. See also Analysis.

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                                                                                                          “Proof of an External World” (1939)

                                                                                                          Moore’s claim to prove the existence of an (the) external world, which is an important part of his project of defending the commonsense understanding of the world (see also Defense of Common Sense), has elicited many different responses. Lycan 2001 argues that latter-day skeptics fail to take seriously enough Moore’s point about how much more certain they are of the existence of an external object like a hand or pencil than they are of at least one of the premises of their arguments. Greco 2002 finds Moore to be following Thomas Reid on key points about what is and is not to be proved. Ambrose 1968 is sympathetic to Moore but finds that neither his skeptical opponents nor he can be quite taken at their word about what they are actually doing. Wright 2002 argues that even though the form of Moore’s argument formally mirrors successful arguments, his premises fail to “transmit warrant” to the conclusion. Pryor 2004 replies to Wright that the premises do transmit warrant, but then goes on to say that the argument fails to meet an important intellectual obligation Moore has accepted. Neta 2007 argues that Pryor’s limited defense of Moore against Wright gets Moore backwards. Coliva 2008 seeks to explain how an argument she takes to be an obvious failure can nevertheless ignite an interesting controversy between Wright and Pryor. Stroud 1984 claims that there is something important about the way in which Moore misses the point of skeptical arguments. Morris and Preti 2015 draws interesting connections between “Proof of an External World” and earlier work of Moore’s, going back at least to “The Refutation of Idealism.”

                                                                                                          • Ambrose, Alice. “Moore’s ‘Proof of an External World.’” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 397–417. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                                            That skeptics will accept no evidence as establishing the knowability of external objects shows them to be recommending linguistic changes that would make their claims necessarily, rather than contingently, true. Without fully realizing it, Moore shows the grounds that make their recommendations objectionable.

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                                                                                                            • Coliva, Annalisa. “The Paradox of Moore’s Proof of an External World.” Philosophical Quarterly 58.231 (April 2008).

                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1111/j.1467-9213.2007.513.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                              Argues that explaining why Pryor and Wright can have a philosophically well-conceived discussion about Moore’s proof despite its obvious failure requires distinguishing between two kinds of skeptical arguments. Pryor and Wright discuss Cartesian skepticism while Moore ineffectually seeks to engage a larger Humean skepticism.

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                                                                                                              • Greco, John. “How to Reid Moore.” Philosophical Quarterly 52.209 (October 2002): 544–563.

                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1111/1467-9213.00285Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                Moore’s “proof” is tongue in cheek, aimed at revealing the absurdity of the skeptic’s claims rather than seeking to “refute” them. Moore rightly follows Thomas Reid in maintaining that our knowledge of external things does not come via proof.

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                                                                                                                • Lycan, William. “Moore against the New Skeptics.” Philosophical Studies 103.1 (2001): 35–53.

                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1023/A:1010328721653Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                  Defends Moore’s argument against some contemporary critics, including Keith Lehrer and Barry Stroud. Argues that it is absurd to charge Moore’s argument with a dangerous political conservativism, as Lehrer does, given that politics’ subject is the behavior of embodied people toward each other.

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                                                                                                                  • Morris, Kevin, and Consuelo Preti. “How to Read Moore’s ‘Proof of an External World’.” Journal of the History of Analytic Philosophy 4.1 (2015).

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                                                                                                                    Appealing to archival material, the authors offer a broadly “metaphysical” interpretation that finds closer connections between “Proof of an External World” and early works like “The Refutation of Idealism” than readers usually find. The interpretation enables Moore to avoid charges that have been made against him that he is guilty of elementary errors.

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                                                                                                                    • Neta, Ram. “Fixing the Transmission: The New Mooreans.” In Themes from G. E. Moore. Edited by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay, 62–84. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                      Argues that Pryor gets Moore’s intentions backward when he defends him against the charge of “transmission failure” while criticizing him for dialectical ineffectiveness.

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                                                                                                                      • Pryor, James. “What’s Wrong with Moore’s Argument?” Philosophical Issues 14.1 (2004): 349–378.

                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.1111/j.1533-6077.2004.00034.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                        Argues, against Wright 2002, that the premises of Moore’s argument do transmit warrant to the conclusion. Nevertheless, it is dialectically ineffective because it gives the skeptics he seeks to address no reason to give up the doubts they have unfortunately come to have.

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                                                                                                                        • Stroud, Barry. The Significance of Philosophical Scepticism. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1984.

                                                                                                                          DOI: 10.1093/0198247613.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                          Claims Moore’s argument fails because of its failure to distinguish in any way between “internal” and “external” knowledge claims. Stroud admits, nevertheless, to Moore’s intriguing him in a way that “shrewder” philosophers do not.

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                                                                                                                          • Wright, Crispin. “(Anti-)Sceptics Simple and Subtle: G. E. Moore and John McDowell.” Philosophy and Phenomenological Research 65.2 (September 2002): 330–348.

                                                                                                                            DOI: 10.1111/j.1993-1592.2002.tb00205.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                            As Wright reconstructs Moore’s argument, the second premise is idle and the first premise can do nothing by itself to give one who does not already believe the conclusion a reason to do so.

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                                                                                                                            Defense of Common Sense

                                                                                                                            Defending common sense was a larger project for Moore than “proving” the existence of an external world, as he held the irreducible reality of mind and value to be commonsensically known. Still, because the topics are so closely related, readers are referred to the section on Moore’s “Proof of an External World” (1939). Besides the interest of Moore’s thought in its own right, questions arise concerning its relations to the thought of his great predecessor Thomas Reid and his great contemporary Ludwig Wittgenstein. Both Reid and Moore were concerned about the “veil of ideas” that many modern philosophers had placed between the mind and external things. But Moore’s brief remarks about Reid suggest that he himself did not take him to be a great influence; as a general observation, it would seem that Reid assigned a much greater role than Moore did to the compulsory character of certain beliefs in yielding knowledge. In On Certainty, the fruit of his late reflections on Moore’s “defense” and “proof,” Wittgenstein seems to hold that although Moore’s antiskeptical instincts were sound, because he ceded too much to traditional skeptical philosophical thinking by taking up issues in its terms, he remained ensnared in that kind of thinking. This raises the question of whether Moore’s allegiance to common sense ultimately requires an entirely therapeutic philosophical approach. Taking a different tack, the deep, densely written Stroll 1994 credits Moore for challenging the Humean epistemological view that no contingent proposition can be certain. Broad 1970 is a work by a contemporary and admirer of Moore that bemoans the too great influence of his “A Defence of Common Sense” (1925). While Malcolm 1968 praises Moore “the Great Refuter” for taking the necessary first step toward clarifying our epistemic situation against philosophical skeptics, Malcolm 1949 argues that he goes wrong immediately by ceding too much to their ill-taken concerns. Coliva 2010 reads Moore’s defense of common sense as anticipating contemporary externalist accounts of knowledge. Although Moore is often considered naive, either in praise or criticism, Coleman 2010 rejects that way of understanding him by accusing him of bad faith. Lemos 2004 situates Moore within a commonsense philosophical tradition and defends him against some of the standard skeptical rebuttals. Coady 2007 defends Moore against the charge that his defense of common sense unduly restricts the field of philosophical inquiry.

                                                                                                                            • Broad, Charlie D. “Philosophy and ‘Common Sense.’” In G. E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect. Edited by Alice Ambrose and Morris Lazerowitz, 193–203. London: Allen & Unwin, 1970.

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                                                                                                                              Claims the influence of “A Defence of Common Sense” to be unfortunate. It is problematic to say, as Moore does, that there is any task of analysis to perform on commonsense statements if they are both perfectly well understood and wholly true.

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                                                                                                                              • Coady, Cecil A. J. “Moore’s Common Sense.” In Themes from G. E. Moore. Edited by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay, 100–118. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                Defends Moore against charges of dogmatism and begging the question. Also argues that Moore is open to the possibility of our coming to surprising metaphysical conclusions even while providing reasons to think that philosophers may come to limited agreement on some basic issues.

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                                                                                                                                • Coleman, Anthony. “G. E. Moore and Bad Faith.” European Journal of Philosophy 20.3 (2010): 347–365.

                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1111/j.1468-0378.2010.00413.xSave Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                  Since Moore holds that knowledge is a mental state but refuses to offer evidence to support his being in that state, he is not guilty of dogmatism but intellectual bad faith. He willfully blinds himself to the fact that he is answering the skeptic’s theoretical question from a deliberative standpoint.

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                                                                                                                                  • Coliva, Annalisa. Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan, 2010.

                                                                                                                                    DOI: 10.1057/9780230289697Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                    Argues that Moore is a proto-externalist who separates the obtaining of knowledge from the possibility of claiming it. Criticizes Moore for offering no analysis of knowledge to legitimize this separation.

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                                                                                                                                    • Lemos, Noah. Common Sense: A Contemporary Defense. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2004.

                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511498800Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                      Takes Moore as one of three representatives, along with Thomas Reid and Roderick Chisholm, of a commonsense philosophical tradition. Argues that Moore need not explain how he knows the premises of his antiskeptical arguments in order not to beg the question against skeptics.

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                                                                                                                                      • Malcolm, Norman. “Defending Common Sense.” Philosophical Review 58.3 (May 1949): 201–220.

                                                                                                                                        DOI: 10.2307/2181851Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                        Considerably harsher take on Moore than Malcolm 1968. By seeking to argue with skeptics instead of disabusing them of the idea that they are engaged in a genuine investigation of or argument about the world, Moore actually encourages them in their confusions.

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                                                                                                                                        • Malcolm, Norman. “Moore and Ordinary Language.” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 345–368. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                          The “Great Refuter” Moore shows that if we indulged skeptics by giving up linguistic usages they find objectionable, we would immediately have to create substitutes for them. But to finish his task, Moore must diagnose the ailments that lead skeptics to raise their objections.

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                                                                                                                                          • Stroll, Avrum. Moore and Wittgenstein on Certainty. New York and Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994.

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                                                                                                                                            Moore grasped for the insight Wittgenstein got hold of and began developing, that certainty is a state distinct from knowledge and serves as its ground. Being the ground of ratiocination, it is not itself ratiocinative, but is instead something “animal.”

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                                                                                                                                            Sense Perception

                                                                                                                                            Moore’s theory of sense perception, which holds the immediate object of every perceptual judgement to be something he called a “sense datum,” of which he claimed it to be perfectly natural to wonder whether it was or was not identical with part of the surface of a physical object, threatens to put back the “veil” between perceivers and mind-independent objects that he claimed to remove in “The Refutation of Idealism.” Barnes 1944–1945 seeks to keep the veil from intervening by arguing against the reality of sense data. Bouwsma 1968 explores difficulties in “picking out” visual sense data that Moore failed to notice, and the dangers of too readily likening visual perception to other forms of sense perception. Presson 1951 argues that there is a tension between Moore’s defense of common sense and his postulation of sense data. Mace 1968 argues any such tensions to be ultimately resolvable. Ayer 1945 argues that sense data are insufficiently articulated theoretical posits. Snowden 2007 considers the relevance of Moore’s way of stating the problem of perception to contemporary discussions of it.

                                                                                                                                            • Ayer, Alfred J. “The Terminology of Sense-Data.” Mind n.s. 54.216 (1945): 289–312.

                                                                                                                                              DOI: 10.1093/mind/LIV.216.289Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                              Argues that the explanation for Moore’s inclination to give conflicting answers to basic questions about sense data is that “sense datum” is a technical term whose usage has been incompletely specified. Recommends a usage according to which sense data exist only when they are perceived.

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                                                                                                                                              • Barnes, Winston H. F. “The Myth of Sense-Data.” Proceedings of the Aristotelian Society n.s. 45 (1944–1945): 89–117.

                                                                                                                                                DOI: 10.1093/aristotelian/45.1.89Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                Argues that sense-data theorists must hold that in cases where we cannot exactly characterize our sense experience, the sense data being immediately perceived have no determinate character. Claims sense perception to be like thought, in that it is possible for what we perceive to deviate widely from reality.

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                                                                                                                                                • Bouwsma, Oets K. “Moore’s Theory of Sense Data.” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 203–221. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                  Argues that the postulation of entities whose “picking out” is supposed to leave us naturally to wonder whether or not they are parts of the surfaces of physical objects depends on a questionable analogy between visual perception and hearing, smelling, and tasting.

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                                                                                                                                                  • Mace, Cecil A. “On How We Know That Material Things Exist.” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 283–298. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                    Claims that even though it might seem to, Moore’s claim that we do not know how we know that external objects exist does not make their existence uncertain. The philosophical explication of what is involved in attaining knowledge of them by the senses can be given in commonsense terms.

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                                                                                                                                                    • Presson, Virginia. “G. E. Moore’s Theory of Sense-Data.” Journal of Philosophy 48.2 (1951): 34–42.

                                                                                                                                                      DOI: 10.2307/2021235Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                      Moore’s characterization of sense data in terms of the doubtfulness of their being identical with parts of the surfaces of physical objects sits uneasily with his commonsense epistemology. Moore is wrong to hold that sense data, not physical objects are the subjects of perceptual judgments.

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                                                                                                                                                      • Snowden, Paul. “G. E. Moore on Sense Data and Perception.” In Themes from G. E. Moore. Edited by Susana Nuccetelli and Gary Seay, 119–141. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

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                                                                                                                                                        Argues that Moore’s attempt to use sense data to characterize the problem of sense perception in theoretically neutral terms is not completely successful, as it rules out such approaches to perception as the adverbial theory.

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                                                                                                                                                        Analysis

                                                                                                                                                        Rather than write at length about the proper way of performing philosophical analysis, Moore far more often carried out particular analyses while making only rather programmatic remarks about the proper way of proceeding. Although Langford was not the first to notice it, Langford 1968 provides the classic statement of the famous paradox of analysis. Gram 1969 argues that solving the paradox requires abandoning some basic Moorean assumptions. Though not explicitly addressed to Moore, Putnam 1979 provides a semantic theory that makes distinctions, which if they are well taken, solve the paradox. White 1958 provides a lengthy discussion of Moore’s views on analysis that takes up many topics in addition to the paradox. Beaney 1996 and Dummett 1991 explore the attempts by the great logician and early analytic philosopher Gottlob Frege to solve the paradox. Beaney’s discussion, which is part of a lengthy book, is more technical than Dummett’s, which is from a lecture.

                                                                                                                                                        • Beaney, Michael. Frege: Making Sense. London: Gerald Duckworth, 1996.

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                                                                                                                                                          Argues that the sense-reference distinction does not provide a solution to the paradox of analysis. Frege’s best attempt to solve the paradox comes late in his career: rather than having to be responsible to partially understood terms with senses already fixed, definitions may “crystallize” senses.

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                                                                                                                                                          • Dummett, Michael. Frege and Other Philosophers. Oxford and New York: Oxford University Press, 1991.

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                                                                                                                                                            Frege explicitly noted the paradox in 1891 in a review of Husserl. Dummett argues that an adequate solution must allow the possibility of one’s coming gradually to realize that the sense of two terms is identical rather than having to grasp that fact all at once.

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                                                                                                                                                            • Gram, Moltke S. “The Paradox of Analysis.” In Studies in the Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Elmer D. Klemke, 258–275. Chicago: Quadrangle, 1969.

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                                                                                                                                                              Moore’s own suggestions about how to solve the paradox fail because the analyses they yield either duplicate the problem or provide only linguistic knowledge. The solution lies in recognizing that analyses need not hold across all possible worlds.

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                                                                                                                                                              • Langford, Charles. “The Notion of Analysis in Moore’s Philosophy.” In The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Edited by Paul A. Schilpp, 321–342. LaSalle, IL: Open Court, 1968.

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                                                                                                                                                                Makes explicit a problem needing to be solved if philosophical analysis is to be worthwhile or even intelligible. If an analysis says one thing is the same as itself, it is uninformative; but if it says that two things are the same, it is false.

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                                                                                                                                                                • Putnam, Hilary. “On Properties.” In Philosophical Papers. Vol. 1, Mathematics, Matter and Method. 2d ed. By Hilary Putnam, 305–322. Cambridge, UK, and New York: Cambridge University Press, 1979.

                                                                                                                                                                  DOI: 10.1017/CBO9780511625268.021Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                                                                                                                                                  Though not explicitly addressing Moore or the paradox, this essay in a new semantics claims to allow for true synthetic identity claims by more clearly distinguishing between properties (a matter of ontology) and predicates (a matter of semantics) than previous theories did.

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                                                                                                                                                                  • White, Nicholas. G. E. Moore: A Critical Exposition. Oxford: Basil Blackwell, 1958.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Argues in a lengthy discussion of various distinctions he made while performing and discussing analyses, that Moore remains too beholden to a psychologistic understanding of analysis as the result of his overreliance on a “concept” theory of meaning.

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                                                                                                                                                                    Appreciations

                                                                                                                                                                    Beginning with Bertrand Russell, it is striking how much regard for his abilities and character the people who knew Moore had for him. Keynes 1956 expresses admiration for the young Moore, while Malcolm 1963 and Wisdom 1965 speak of the admiration the authors had for him in his later years. Looking back from the distance of a couple generations, MacIntyre 1984 finds the influence of the young Moore to be not so benign. Written by the man who succeeded Moore as the editor of Mind, Ryle 1971 relates Moore’s thought to that of his contemporaries, including Wittgenstein.

                                                                                                                                                                    • Keynes, John Maynard. “My Early Beliefs.” In Essays and Sketches in Biography. By John Maynard Keynes, 236–256. New York: Meridian, 1956.

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                                                                                                                                                                      An elegiac memoir that speaks of the effect of Moore and Principia on the artists and intellectuals that made up the Bloomsbury set. They took his “religion” and ignored his “morals,” which had a stronger streak of worldliness than Moore himself did.

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                                                                                                                                                                      • MacIntyre, Alasdair. After Virtue: A Study in Moral Theory. 2d ed. South Bend, IN: University of Notre Dame Press, 1984.

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                                                                                                                                                                        A harsher take on Moore and his influence at the turn of the century. His strategy of resorting to “self-evident,” or inarguable, “intuitions” encouraged an impoverished understanding of moral inquiry whose logical terminus was the polite nihilism of Stevensonian emotivism.

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                                                                                                                                                                        • Malcolm, Norman. “George Edward Moore.” In Knowledge and Certainty: Essays and Lectures. By Norman Malcolm, 163–184. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1963

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                                                                                                                                                                          What enabled Moore to challenge the deep-seated confusions that lead philosophers to think that the propriety of perfectly unexceptionable perceptual statements can be legitimately called into question were his modesty, simplicity, and integrity.

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                                                                                                                                                                          • Ryle, Gilbert. “G. E. Moore.” In Critical Essays. Vol. 1 of Collected Papers. By Gilbert Ryle, 268–272. New York: Barnes and Noble, 1971.

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                                                                                                                                                                            Moore’s manner of concretizing in his work his peers’ developments in abstract logic make him the 20th-century equivalent of a Scholastic philosopher. Free from both vanity and humility, Moore praised Wittgenstein without noting the valuable role he played in giving his insights “ballast” and an “even keel.”

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                                                                                                                                                                            • Wisdom, John. “G. E. Moore.” In Paradox and Discovery. Edited by John Wisdom, 82–87. Oxford: Blackwell, 1965.

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                                                                                                                                                                              Moore’s intense desire to see each thing for what it is places him in the company of great scientists and great artists such as Tolstoy.

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