G. E. Moore

George Edward Moore OM FBA (4 November 1873 – 24 October 1958) was an English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and (before them) Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy. Along with Russell, he led the turn away from idealism in British philosophy, and became well known for his advocacy of common sense concepts, his contributions to ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics, and "his exceptional personality and moral character".[6] He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, highly influential among (though not a member of) the Bloomsbury Group, and the editor of the influential journal Mind. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1918. He was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual secret society, from 1894 to 1901, and the Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club.

G. E. Moore
George Edward Moore

4 November 1873
Hastings Lodge, Victoria Road, Dulwich Wood Park, Upper Norwood, London
Died24 October 1958 (aged 84)
Evelyn Nursing Home, Cambridge, England
Other names
  • "Moore" (colleagues)
  • "Bill" (family)
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge
(BA, 1896)
Spouse(s)Dorothy Ely
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of language
Notable ideas


Moore was born in Upper Norwood, Croydon, Greater London, on 4 November 1873, the middle child of seven of Dr Daniel Moore and Henrietta Sturge. His grandfather was the author Dr George Moore. His eldest brother was Thomas Sturge Moore, a poet, writer and engraver.[7][8][9]

He was educated at Dulwich College[10] and in 1892 went up to Trinity College, Cambridge to study classics and moral sciences.[11] He became a Fellow of Trinity in 1898, and went on to hold the University of Cambridge chair of Mental Philosophy and Logic, from 1925 to 1939.

Moore is best known today for his defence of ethical non-naturalism, his emphasis on common sense in philosophical method, and the paradox that bears his name. He was admired by and influential among other philosophers, and also by the Bloomsbury Group, but is (unlike his colleague Russell) mostly unknown today outside of academic philosophy. Moore's essays are known for their clear, circumspect writing style, and for his methodical and patient approach to philosophical problems. He was critical of modern philosophy for its lack of progress, which he believed was in stark contrast to the dramatic advances in the natural sciences since the Renaissance. Among Moore's most famous works are his book Principia Ethica,[12] and his essays, "The Refutation of Idealism", "A Defence of Common Sense", and "A Proof of the External World".

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1918-19.[13]

Paul Levy wrote in Moore: G. E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles (1979) that Moore was an important member of the secretive Cambridge Apostles.

G. E. Moore died on 24 October 1958; he was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 28 October 1958 and his ashes interred at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge; his wife, Dorothy Ely (1892-1977) was buried there. Together they had two sons, the poet Nicholas Moore and the composer Timothy Moore.[14][15]



Principia Ethica title page
The title page of Principia Ethica

His influential work Principia Ethica is one of the main inspirations of the movement against ethical naturalism (see ethical non-naturalism) and is partly responsible for the twentieth-century concern with meta-ethics.[16]

The naturalistic fallacy

Moore asserted that philosophical arguments can suffer from a confusion between the use of a term in a particular argument and the definition of that term (in all arguments). He named this confusion the naturalistic fallacy. For example, an ethical argument may claim that if a thing has certain properties, then that thing is 'good.' A hedonist may argue that 'pleasant' things are 'good' things. Other theorists may argue that 'complex' things are 'good' things. Moore contends that even if such arguments are correct, they do not provide definitions for the term 'good.' The property of 'goodness' cannot be defined. It can only be shown and grasped. Any attempt to define it (X is good if it has property Y) will simply shift the problem (Why is Y-ness good in the first place?).

Open-question argument

Moore's argument for the indefinability of "good" (and thus for the fallaciousness of the "naturalistic fallacy") is often called the open-question argument; it is presented in §13 of Principia Ethica. The argument hinges on the nature of statements such as "Anything that is pleasant is also good" and the possibility of asking questions such as "Is it good that x is pleasant?" According to Moore, these questions are open and these statements are significant; and they will remain so no matter what is substituted for "pleasure". Moore concludes from this that any analysis of value is bound to fail. In other words, if value could be analysed, then such questions and statements would be trivial and obvious. Since they are anything but trivial and obvious, value must be indefinable.

Critics of Moore's arguments sometimes claim that he is appealing to general puzzles concerning analysis (cf. the paradox of analysis), rather than revealing anything special about value. The argument clearly depends on the assumption that if "good" were definable, it would be an analytic truth about "good," an assumption many contemporary moral realists like Richard Boyd and Peter Railton reject. Other responses appeal to the Fregean distinction between sense and reference, allowing that value concepts are special and sui generis, but insisting that value properties are nothing but natural properties (this strategy is similar to that taken by non-reductive materialists in philosophy of mind).

Good as indefinable

Moore contended that goodness cannot be analysed in terms of any other property. In Principia Ethica, he writes:

It may be true that all things which are good are also something else, just as it is true that all things which are yellow produce a certain kind of vibration in the light. And it is a fact, that Ethics aims at discovering what are those other properties belonging to all things which are good. But far too many philosophers have thought that when they named those other properties they were actually defining good; that these properties, in fact, were simply not "other," but absolutely and entirely the same with goodness. (§ 10 ¶ 3)

Therefore, we cannot define "good" by explaining it in other words. We can only point to an action or a thing and say "That is good." Similarly, we cannot describe to a person born totally blind exactly what yellow is. We can only show a sighted person a piece of yellow paper or a yellow scrap of cloth and say "That is yellow."

Good as a non-natural property

In addition to categorising "good" as indefinable, Moore also emphasized that it is a non-natural property. This means that it cannot be empirically or scientifically tested or verified - it is not within the bounds of "natural science".

Moral knowledge

Moore argued that once arguments based on the naturalistic fallacy had been discarded, questions of intrinsic goodness could only be settled by appeal to what he (following Sidgwick) called "moral intuitions:" self-evident propositions which recommend themselves to moral reflection, but which are not susceptible to either direct proof or disproof (PE § 45). As a result of his view, he has often been described by later writers as an advocate of ethical intuitionism. Moore, however, wished to distinguish his view from the views usually described as "Intuitionist" when Principia Ethica was written:

In order to express the fact that ethical propositions of my first class [propositions about what is good as an end in itself] are incapable of proof or disproof, I have sometimes followed Sidgwick's usage in calling them 'Intuitions.' But I beg that it may be noticed that I am not an 'Intuitionist,’ in the ordinary sense of the term. Sidgwick himself seems never to have been clearly aware of the immense importance of the difference which distinguishes his Intuitionism from the common doctrine, which has generally been called by that name. The Intuitionist proper is distinguished by maintaining that propositions of my second class—propositions which assert that a certain action is right or a duty—are incapable of proof or disproof by any enquiry into the results of such actions. I, on the contrary, am no less anxious to maintain that propositions of this kind are not 'Intuitions,’ than to maintain that propositions of my first class are Intuitions.

Moore distinguished his view from the view of deontological intuitionists, who held that "intuitions" could determine questions about what actions are right or required by duty. Moore, as a consequentialist, argued that "duties" and moral rules could be determined by investigating the effects of particular actions or kinds of actions (PE § 89), and so were matters for empirical investigation rather than direct objects of intuition (PE § 90). On Moore's view, "intuitions" revealed not the rightness or wrongness of specific actions, but only what things were good in themselves, as ends to be pursued.

Proof of an external world

One of the most important parts of Moore's philosophical development was his break from the idealism that dominated British philosophy (as represented in the works of his former teachers F. H. Bradley and John McTaggart), and his defence of what he regarded as a "common sense" form of realism. In his 1925 essay "A Defence of Common Sense", he argued against idealism and scepticism toward the external world, on the grounds that they could not give reasons to accept that their metaphysical premises were more plausible than the reasons we have to accept the common sense claims about our knowledge of the world, which sceptics and idealists must deny. He famously put the point into dramatic relief with his 1939 essay "Proof of an External World", in which he gave a common sense argument against scepticism by raising his right hand and saying "Here is one hand," and then raising his left and saying "And here is another," then concluding that there are at least two external objects in the world, and therefore that he knows (by this argument) that an external world exists. Not surprisingly, not everyone inclined to sceptical doubts found Moore's method of argument entirely convincing; Moore, however, defends his argument on the grounds that sceptical arguments seem invariably to require an appeal to "philosophical intuitions" that we have considerably less reason to accept than we have for the common sense claims that they supposedly refute. (In addition to fueling Moore's own work, the "Here is one hand" argument also deeply influenced Wittgenstein, who spent his last years working out a new approach to Moore's argument in the remarks that were published posthumously as On Certainty.)

Moore's paradox

Moore is also remembered for drawing attention to the peculiar inconsistency involved in uttering a sentence such as "It is raining but I do not believe it is raining."—a puzzle which is now commonly called "Moore's paradox". The puzzle arises because it seems impossible for anyone to consistently assert such a sentence; but there doesn't seem to be any logical contradiction between "It is raining" and "I don't believe that it is raining." because the former is a statement about the weather and the latter a statement about a person's belief about the weather, and it is perfectly logically possible that it may rain whilst a person does not believe that it is raining.

In addition to Moore's own work on the paradox, the puzzle also inspired a great deal of work by Ludwig Wittgenstein, who described the paradox as the most impressive philosophical insight that Moore had ever introduced. It is said that when Wittgenstein first heard this paradox one evening (which Moore had earlier stated in a lecture), he rushed round to Moore's lodgings, got him out of bed and insisted that Moore repeat the entire lecture to him.

Organic wholes

Moore's description of the principle of organic unity is extremely straightforward; nonetheless, and a variant on a pattern that began with Aristotle:

The value of a whole must not be assumed to be the same as the sum of the values of its parts (Principia, § 18).

According to Moore, a moral actor cannot survey the "goodness" inherent in the various parts of a situation, assign a value to each of them, and then generate a sum in order to get an idea of its total value. A moral scenario is a complex assembly of parts, and its total value is often created by the relations between those parts, and not by their individual value. The organic metaphor is thus very appropriate: biological organisms seem to have emergent properties which cannot be found anywhere in their individual parts. For example, a human brain seems to exhibit a capacity for thought when none of its neurons exhibit any such capacity. In the same way, a moral scenario can have a value far greater than the sum of its component parts.

To understand the application of the organic principle to questions of value, it is perhaps best to consider Moore's primary example, that of a consciousness experiencing a beautiful object. To see how the principle works, a thinker engages in "reflective isolation", the act of isolating a given concept in a kind of null-context and determining its intrinsic value. In our example, we can easily see that per sui, beautiful objects and consciousnesses are not particularly valuable things. They might have some value, but when we consider the total value of a consciousness experiencing a beautiful object, it seems to exceed the simple sum of these values (Principia 18:2).


Grave of philosopher G.E. Moore - geograph.org.uk - 382503
Gravestone of philosopher G. E. Moore and wife Dorothy Moore
  • G. E. Moore, "The Nature of Judgment" (1899)
  • G. E. Moore, Principia Ethica (1903)
  • G. E. Moore, "Review of Franz Brentano's The Origin of the Knowledge of Right and Wrong" (1903)
  • G. E. Moore, "The Refutation of Idealism" (1903)
  • G. E. Moore, "The Nature and Reality of the Objects of Perception" (1905–6)
  • G. E. Moore, Ethics (1912)
  • G. E. Moore, "Some Judgments of Perception" (1918)
  • G. E. Moore, Philosophical Studies (1922) [papers published 1903–21]
  • G. E. Moore, "Are the Characteristics of Things Universal or Particular?" (1923)
  • G. E. Moore, "A Defence of Common Sense" (1925)
  • G. E. Moore and F. P. Ramsey, Facts and Proposition (Symposium) (1927)
  • G. E. Moore, Some Main Problems of Philosophy (1953) [lectures delivered 1910–11]
  • G. E. Moore, Philosophical Papers (1959)
  • "Margin Notes by G. E. Moore on The Works of Thomas Reid (1849: With Notes by Sir William Hamilton)".
  • G. E. Moore, The Early Essays, edited by Tom Regan, Temple University Press (1986).
  • G.E. Moore, The Elements of Ethics, edited and with an introduction by Tom Regan, Temple University Press, (1991).
  • G. E. Moore, On Defining "Good," in Analytic Philosophy: Classic Readings, Stamford, CT: Wadsworth, 2002, pp. 1–10. ISBN 0-534-51277-1.


  1. ^ G. E. Moore, "The Refutation of Idealism" (1903), p. 37.
  2. ^ Robert Hanna, Kant, Science, and Human Nature. Clarendon Press, 2006, p. 60.
  3. ^ James Ward (Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy)
  4. ^ Maria van der Schaar, G. F. Stout and the Psychological Origins of Analytic Philosophy, Springer, 2013, p. viii.
  5. ^ Alice Ambrose, Morris Lazerowitz (eds.), G. E. Moore: Essays in Retrospect, Volume 3, Psychology Press, 2004, p. 25.
  6. ^ "Moore, George Edward". Preston, Aaron. Internet Encyclopedia. Iep.utm.edu. 30 December 2005. Retrieved 13 April 2011.
  7. ^ Levy, Paul (1979). Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles. London: Weidenfeld and Nicolson. pp. 28–30. ISBN 0297775766.
  8. ^ Eminent Old Alleynians : Academe Archived 25 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine at dulwich.org.uk, accessed 24 February 2009
  9. ^ Baldwin, Tom (26 March 2004). "George Edward Moore". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. Center for the Study of Language and Information (CSLI), Stanford University. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  10. ^ Hodges, S, (1981), God's Gift: A Living History of Dulwich College, pages 87-88, (Heinemann: London)
  11. ^ "Moore, George Edward (MR892GE)". A Cambridge Alumni Database. University of Cambridge.
  12. ^ Moore, G. E. (1903). Principia Ethica. Cambridge: University Press. ISBN 0879754982. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  13. ^ The Aristotelian Society – The Council
  14. ^ Yau, John (11 January 2015). "Nicholas Moore, Touched by Poetic Genius". Hyperallergic. Retrieved 29 October 2015.
  15. ^ Marshall, Nicholas (10 March 2003). "Timothy Moore". The Guardian. Retrieved 14 March 2014.
  16. ^ Zalta, Edward N. (ed.). "Metaethics". Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. by Geoff Sayre-McCord.

Further reading

  • Levy, Paul (1979). Moore: G.E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles. ISBN 978-0-03-053616-8.
  • Klemke, E. D. (1999). A Defense of Realism: Reflections on the Metaphysics of G. E. Moore. ISBN 1-57392-732-5.
  • Daval, René, Moore et la philosophie analytique, 1997, Presses Universitaires de France (PUF), ISBN 978-2-13-048690-9 (French)
  • Tom Regan. Bloomsbury’s prophet: G.E. Moore and the development of his moral philosophy, Temple University Press (1986).

External links

British idealism

A species of absolute idealism, British idealism was a philosophical movement that was influential in Britain from the mid-nineteenth century to the early twentieth century. The leading figures in the movement were T. H. Green (1836–1882), F. H. Bradley (1846–1924), and Bernard Bosanquet (1848–1923). They were succeeded by the second generation of J. M. E. McTaggart (1866–1925), H. H. Joachim (1868–1938), J. H. Muirhead (1855–1940), and R. G. Collingwood (1889-1943). The last major figure in the tradition was G. R. G. Mure (1893–1979). Doctrines of early British idealism so provoked the young Cambridge philosophers G. E. Moore and Bertrand Russell that they began a new philosophical tradition, analytic philosophy.

British philosophy

British philosophy refers to the philosophical tradition of the British people. "The native characteristics of British philosophy are these: common sense, dislike of complication, a strong preference for the concrete over the abstract and a certain awkward honesty of method in which an occasional pearl of poetry is embedded".

Cambridge Apostles

The Cambridge Apostles is an intellectual society at the University of Cambridge founded in 1820 by George Tomlinson, a Cambridge student who went on to become the first Bishop of Gibraltar.The origin of the Apostles' nickname dates from the number, twelve, of their founders. Membership consists largely of undergraduates, though there have been graduate student members, and members who already hold university and college posts. The society traditionally drew most of its members from Christ's, St John's, Jesus, Trinity and King's Colleges.

Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club

The Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club, founded in October 1878, is a philosophy discussion group that meets weekly at Cambridge during term time. Speakers are invited to present a paper with a strict upper time limit of 45 minutes, after which there is discussion for an hour. Several Colleges have hosted the Club: Trinity College, King's College, Clare College, Darwin College, St John's College, and from 2014 Newnham College.

The club has been highly influential in analytic philosophy because of the concentration of philosophers at Cambridge. Members have included many of British philosophy's top names, such as Henry Sidgwick, J.M.E. McTaggart, Bertrand Russell, G.E. Moore, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and several papers regarded as founding documents of various schools of thoughts had their first airing at a club meeting. Moore's "The Nature of Judgment" was first read to the club on 21 October 1898. Frank P. Ramsey's "Knowledge by acquaintance and knowledge by description" was presented to a meeting in 1911, and in 1926 became Truth and Probability. Russell's "Limits of Empiricism" was read in the Michaelmas term of 1935, Friedrich Hayek's "The Facts of the Social Sciences" was read in the Michaelmas term of 1942, and Moore's paradox was first read in Michaelmas 1944. Almost every major anglophone philosopher since the Second World War has delivered a paper to the club.It was during a meeting of the Moral Sciences Club in October 1946 that Wittgenstein famously waved a poker at Sir Karl Popper during a heated discussion about whether philosophical problems are real or just linguistic games.

Faculty of Philosophy, University of Cambridge

The University of Cambridge was the birthplace of the 'Analytical' School of Philosophy in the early 20th century. The department is located in the Raised Faculty Building on the Sidgwick Site and is part of the Cambridge School of Arts and Humanities. The Faculty achieved the best possible results from The Times 2004 and the QAA Subject Review 2001 (24/24). It is ranked first in the UK by the Guardian.

German idealism

German idealism (also known as post-Kantian idealism, post-Kantian philosophy, or simply post-Kantianism) was a philosophical movement that emerged in Germany in the late 18th and early 19th centuries. It began as a reaction to Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason. German idealism was closely linked with both Romanticism and the revolutionary politics of the Enlightenment.

The most notable thinkers in the movement were Johann Gottlieb Fichte, Friedrich Wilhelm Joseph Schelling, Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, and the proponents of Jena Romanticism (Friedrich Hölderlin, Novalis, and Karl Wilhelm Friedrich Schlegel). Friedrich Heinrich Jacobi, Gottlob Ernst Schulze, Karl Leonhard Reinhold, Salomon Maimon and Friedrich Schleiermacher also made major contributions.

Highfield (Birmingham)

Highfield was a large house situated at 128 Selly Park Road in the Selly Park area of Birmingham, England. Built in the 1860s, it was bought in 1929 by Philip Sargant Florence and his wife Lella Secor Florence after Sargant Florence was appointed as a Professor at the nearby University of Birmingham.Under the Florence's ownership Highfield became a focal point for the cultural life of Birmingham in the 1930s, a period when the city was the focus of great intellectual ferment. Secor Florence let self-contained flats within the house out to other members of the university and held regular unplanned and informal parties for "huge numbers" of students, academics and other guests, that could involve anything from dancing, to picnics on the lawn, to skating on the frozen lake in the house's four acres of grounds. Highfield also formed a focus for political activity; in 1932 the dining room was converted into a studio where artists painted anti-war posters which were paraded through the city the following weekend, and in 1933 the house was the site of the rehearsals for the play DISARM!, performed at Birmingham Town Hall, whose cast was recruited from trade unions and factory dramatic societies.Highfield became a particular focus for local writers, and formed the centre of a vibrant literary circle that included the poets W. H. Auden and Henry Reed, the Birmingham Group novelists Walter Allen and John Hampson, the art historian Nikolaus Pevsner and the radio dramatist R. D. Smith. The poet Louis MacNeice lived in the flat above the coach house at the rear of the main house throughout his entire time in Birmingham, and the literary critic William Empson lived at Highfield while seeking a post at the University of Birmingham after his expulsion from Cambridge.The influence of Highfield also extended well beyond Birmingham. Walter Allen described how "Most English left-wing intellectuals and American intellectuals visiting Britain must have passed through Highfield between 1930 and 1950". Visitors from outside the city known to have stayed at Highfield included the philosopher G. E. Moore, the anthropologist Margaret Mead, the biologist Julian Huxley, the architect Walter Gropius, the politician Ernest Bevin, the American ambassador John Gilbert Winant, the poet Stephen Spender, the artist Robert Medley, the theatre director Rupert Doone, and the writers A. L. Rowse, Maurice Dobb, John Strachey and Naomi Mitchison.During the 1930s Bauhaus founder Walter Gropius was commissioned by Sargant Florence to design a modernist block of flats for Jack Pritchard's Isokon on a plot at the rear of Highfield on Kensington Road, but the plan was thwarted by local opposition.Highfield, and the literary culture that surrounded it, were the subject of a TV documentary by David Lodge in 1982. The house was demolished in 1984, and the site is now occupied by Southbourne Close.

John Wisdom

Arthur John Terence Dibben Wisdom (12 September 1904, Leyton, Essex – 9 December 1993, Cambridge), usually cited as John Wisdom, was a leading British philosopher considered to be an ordinary language philosopher, a philosopher of mind and a metaphysician. He was influenced by G.E. Moore, Ludwig Wittgenstein and Sigmund Freud, and in turn explained and extended their work.

Wisdom was educated at Aldeburgh Lodge School, Suffolk, and Fitzwilliam House, Cambridge, where he graduated with a first-class BA degree in Moral Sciences in 1924. He is not to be confused with the philosopher John Oulton Wisdom (1908–1993), his cousin, who shared his interest in psychoanalysis.

Language game (philosophy)

A language-game (German: Sprachspiel) is a philosophical concept developed by Ludwig Wittgenstein, referring to simple examples of language use and the actions into which the language is woven.

Logical atomism

Logical atomism is a philosophy that originated in the early 20th century with the development of analytic philosophy. Its principal exponent was the British philosopher Bertrand Russell. It is also widely held that the early work (the Tractatus and pre-Tractatus writings) of his Austrian-born pupil and colleague, Ludwig Wittgenstein, defend a version of logical atomism. Some philosophers in the Vienna Circle were also influenced by logical atomism. Rudolf Carnap was also deeply sympathetic to some of the philosophical aims of logical atomism. Gustav Bergmann also developed a form of logical atomism that focused on an ideal phenomalistic language, particularly in his discussions of J.O. Urmson's work on analysis.The name for this kind of theory was coined in March 1911 by Russell, in a work published in French titled "Le Réalisme analytique" (published in translation as "Analytic Realism" in Volume 6 of The Collected Papers of Bertrand Russell). Russell was developing and responding to what he called "logical holism"—i.e., the belief that the world operates in such a way that no part can be known without the whole being known first. This belief is commonly called monism, and Russell (and G. E. Moore) criticized the absolute idealism dominant then in Britain and exemplified in works of F. H. Bradley and J. M. E. McTaggart. Logical atomism is partly understood as a developed alternative to logical holism, or the "monistic logic" of Idealists, on which logical analysis is a kind of falsification.

The theory holds that the world consists of ultimate logical "facts" (or "atoms") that cannot be broken down any further. Having originally propounded this stance in his Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, Wittgenstein rejected it in his later Philosophical Investigations (§§46–49, §81, §91).

Moore's paradox

Moore's paradox concerns the apparent absurdity involved in asserting a first-person present-tense sentence such as, "It's raining, but I don't believe that it is raining" or "It's raining but I believe that it is not raining." The first author to note this apparent absurdity was G. E. Moore. These 'Moorean' sentences, as they have become known, are paradoxical in that while they appear absurd, they nevertheless:

Can be true,

Are (logically) consistent, and moreover

Are not (obviously) contradictions.The term 'Moore's paradox' is attributed to Ludwig Wittgenstein, who considered the paradox Moore's most important contribution to philosophy. Wittgenstein wrote about the paradox extensively in his later writings, which brought Moore's paradox the attention it would not have otherwise received.Moore's paradox has also been connected to many other of the well-known logical paradoxes including, though not limited to, the liar paradox, the knower paradox, the unexpected hanging paradox, and the preface paradox.There is currently no generally accepted explanation of Moore's paradox in the philosophical literature. However, while Moore's paradox remains a philosophical curiosity, Moorean-type sentences are used by logicians, computer scientists, and those working in the artificial intelligence community as examples of cases in which a knowledge, belief, or information system is unsuccessful in updating its knowledge/belief/information store in light of new or novel information.

Moral realism

Moral realism (also ethical realism or moral Platonism) is the position that ethical sentences express propositions that refer to objective features of the world (that is, features independent of subjective opinion), some of which may be true to the extent that they report those features accurately. This makes moral realism a non-nihilist form of ethical cognitivism (which accepts that ethical sentences express propositions and can therefore be evaluated as true or false) with an ontological orientation, standing in opposition to all forms of moral anti-realism and moral skepticism, including ethical subjectivism (which denies that moral propositions refer to objective facts), error theory (which denies that any moral propositions are true); and non-cognitivism (which denies that moral sentences express propositions at all). Within moral realism, the two main subdivisions are ethical naturalism and ethical non-naturalism.

Many philosophers claim that moral realism may be dated back at least to Plato as a philosophical doctrine,

and that it is a fully defensible form of moral doctrine. A survey from 2009 involving 3,226 respondents found that 56% of philosophers accept or lean towards moral realism (28%: anti-realism; 16%: other). Some notable examples of robust moral realists include David Brink, John McDowell, Peter Railton, Geoffrey Sayre-McCord, Michael Smith, Terence Cuneo, Russ Shafer-Landau, G. E. Moore, John Finnis, Richard Boyd, Nicholas Sturgeon, Thomas Nagel and Derek Parfit. Norman Geras has argued that Karl Marx was a moral realist. Moral realism has been studied in the various philosophical and practical applications.

Naturalistic fallacy

In philosophical ethics, the term, naturalistic fallacy, was introduced by British philosopher G. E. Moore in his 1903 book Principia Ethica. Moore argues it would be fallacious to explain that which is good reductively, in terms of natural properties such as pleasant or desirable.

Moore's naturalistic fallacy is closely related to the is–ought problem, which comes from David Hume's A Treatise of Human Nature (1738–40). However, unlike Hume's view of the is–ought problem, Moore (and other proponents of ethical non-naturalism) did not consider the naturalistic fallacy to be at odds with moral realism.

The term, “naturalistic fallacy” should not be confused with the appeal to nature fallacy, some examples of which are: "Something is natural; therefore, it is morally acceptable" or "This property is unnatural; therefore, this property is undesirable." Such inferences are common in discussions of medicine, sexuality, environmentalism, gender roles, race and carnism.

Norman Malcolm

Norman Malcolm (; 11 June 1911 – 4 August 1990) was an American philosopher.

On Certainty

On Certainty (German: Über Gewissheit, original spelling Über Gewißheit) is a philosophical book composed from notes written by Ludwig Wittgenstein over four separate periods in the eighteen months before his death on 29 April 1951. He left his initial notes at the home of Elizabeth Anscombe, who linked them by theme with later passages in Wittgenstein's personal notebooks and (with G. H. von Wright), compiled them into a German/English parallel text book published in 1969. The translators were Denis Paul and Anscombe herself. (The editors also numbered and grouped the 676 passages; citations to the work are standardly given as OC1..OC676 rather than by page number.)

The book's concerns are largely epistemological, a recurrent theme being that there are some things which must be exempt from doubt in order for human practices to be possible, including the activity of raising doubts: "A doubt that doubted everything would not be a doubt" (OC450). The book takes as its starting point the 'here is one hand' argument made by G. E. Moore and examines the role of knowledge claims in human language, particularly of "certain ('gewisser') empirical propositions", what are now called Moorean propositions or Moorean certainties.

An important outcome is Wittgenstein's claim that all doubt is embedded in underlying beliefs and therefore the most radical forms of doubt must be rejected since they form a contradiction within the system that expressed them. Wittgenstein also sketched novel refutations of philosophical skepticism in various guises.

Paradox of analysis

The paradox of analysis is a paradox that concerns how an analysis can be both correct and informative. Although the problem takes its origin from the conflict in Plato's Meno, it was formulated in its complete form by philosopher G. E. Moore in his book Principia Ethica, and first named by C. H. Langford in his 1942 article "The Notion of Analysis in Moore's Philosophy".

Sense data

In the philosophy of perception, the theory of sense data was a popular view held in the early 20th century by philosophers such as Bertrand Russell, C. D. Broad, H. H. Price, A. J. Ayer, and G. E. Moore. Sense data are taken to be mind-dependent objects whose existence and properties are known directly to us in perception. These objects are unanalyzed experiences inside the mind, which appear to subsequent more advanced mental operations exactly as they are.

Sense data are often placed in a time and/or causality series, such that they occur after the potential unreliability of our perceptual systems yet before the possibility of error during higher-level conceptual analysis and are thus incorrigible. They are thus distinct from the 'real' objects in the world outside the mind, about whose existence and properties we often can be mistaken.

Talk of sense-data has since been largely replaced by talk of the closely related qualia. The formulation the given is also closely related. None of these terms has a single coherent and widely agreed-upon definition, so their exact relationships are unclear. One of the greatest troubling aspects to 20th century theories of sense data is its unclear rubric nature.

Thomas Baldwin (philosopher)

Thomas R. Baldwin (born 1947) is a British philosopher and has been a professor of philosophy at the University of York since 1995. He has written generally on 20th century Analytic and Continental philosophy, as well as bioethics, the philosophy of language and of mind, particularly with regard to G. E. Moore, Maurice Merleau-Ponty, and Bertrand Russell.

Baldwin studied at Cambridge University, gaining an MA and a PhD before lecturing at Makerere University and Cambridge. He was editor of Mind from 2005 to 2015 and has served as the president of the Aristotelian Society (2006–07) and as Deputy Chair of the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority. He was Chair of the Nuffield Council on Bioethics Working Party on Novel Neurotechnologies (2013).

Tom Regan

Tom Regan (; November 28, 1938 – February 17, 2017) was an American philosopher who specialized in animal rights theory. He was professor emeritus of philosophy at North Carolina State University, where he had taught from 1967 until his retirement in 2001.Regan was the author of numerous books on the philosophy of animal rights, including The Case for Animal Rights (1983), one of a handful of studies that have significantly influenced the modern animal rights movement. In these, he argued that non-human animals are what he called the "subjects-of-a-life", just as humans are, and that, if we want to ascribe value to all human beings regardless of their ability to be rational agents, then to be consistent, we must similarly ascribe it to non-humans.From 1985, he served with his wife Nancy as co-founder and co-president of the Culture and Animals Foundation, a nonprofit organization "committed to fostering the growth of intellectual and artistic endeavors united by a positive concern for animals."The Vegan Society remembers him as "a stalwart vegan and activist."

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