The Point of Moore’s Proof

In: International Journal for the Study of Skepticism
Author: Charles Raff1
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  • 1 Swarthmore College, Swarthmore, USA
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The current standard interpretation of Moore’s proof assumes he offers a solution to Kant’s famously posed problem of an external world, which Moore quotes at the start of his 1939 lecture “Proof of an External World.” As a solution to Kant’s problem, Moore’s proof would fail utterly. A second received interpretation imputes an aim of refuting metaphysical idealism that Moore’s proof does not at all achieve. This study departs from received interpretations to credit the aim Moore announced for the proof Moore performed in his 1939 lecture. Moore’s aim was to impose a counter-example to a stated presupposition of Kant’s problem of an external world. Moore’s lecture nevertheless neither endorses a replacement for Kant’s problem nor acknowledges that an immediate implication of achieving his announced aim would subvert Kant’s famously posed problem of an external world.

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