What We All Know: Community in Moore's "A Defence of Common Sense"

Journal of the History of Philosophy 59 (4):629-651 (2021)

Abstract

I defend an account of Moore's conception of Common Sense—as it figures in "A Defence of Common Sense"—according to which it is based in a vision of the community of human beings as bound and unified by a settled common understanding of the meaning of our words and statements. This, for Moore, is our inalienable starting point in philosophy. When Moore invokes Common Sense against idealist (and skeptical) philosophers, he is reminding them that they too are bound by this common understanding, which cannot just be left behind as they confusedly believe. On Moore's conception, Common Sense becomes nothing other than the affirmation that there is such a common understanding—that there is Common Sense—which yields a specific body of Common Sense knowledge. This yields a more principled account of Common Sense than a mere tallying of what contingently happens to be believed (or known) by all.

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Author's Profile

Wim Vanrie
Ghent University

References found in this work

Wittgenstein on rules and private language.Saul A. Kripke - 1982 - Revue Philosophique de la France Et de l'Etranger 173 (4):496-499.
What's Wrong with Moore's Argument?James Pryor - 2004 - Philosophical Issues 14 (1):349–378.
A Reply to My Critics.George Edward Moore - 1942 - In Paul Arthur Schilpp (ed.), The Philosophy of G. E. Moore. Open Court.

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