The Point of Moore's Proof


The current standard interpretation of Moore’s proof assumes Moore 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 fails utterly. Similarly, a second received interpretation imputes an aim of refuting metaphysical idealism that Moore’s proof does not at all achieve. This study departs from the received interpretations to credit Moore’s stated aim for the proof Moore performed in his 1939 lecture that is to impose a counter-example to an explicitly stated presupposition of Kant’s famously posed problem of an external world. The outcome would therefore subvert Kant’s problem. There is not, however, any rival external world problem that Moore commends in place of Kant’s problem.



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Charles Raff
Swarthmore College

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