A Platonist's Copernican Revolution

G. E. Moore’s early essay, “The Nature of Judgment,” makes common cause with F. H. Bradley’s Principles of Logic against British empiricism’s characteristic view of judgment. But primarily it attacks positions Bradley and the empiricists share. I develop a fuller analysis of both aspects of “The Nature of Judgment” than has appeared. Bradley’s rejection of empiricist nominalism, I argue, enables him to develop what Moore considers a superior account of judgment to empiricism’s. But positions carried over from empiricism require Bradley to seek all judgments’ truth conditions in existing circumstances, a result intolerable to Moore, who views mathematical and ethical judgments as being true independently of the world. Moore abandons Bradley’s vestigal empiricism, arguing that it leads invariably to self-contradiction. I reconstruct this argument, and draw out of it an unrecognized tension between the anti-empiricist and the anti-idealist themes of Moore’s early writings
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DOI 10.5840/jpr_1998_12
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