G.E. Moore, more than either Bertrand Russell or Ludwig Wittgenstein, was chiefly responsible for the rise of the analytic method in twentieth-century philosophy. This selection of his writings shows Moore at his very best. The classic essays are crucial to major philosophical debates that still resonate today. Amongst those included are: * A Defense of Common Sense * Certainty * Sense-Data * External and Internal Relations * Hume's Theory Explained * Is Existence a Predicate? * Proof of an (...) External World In addition, this collection also contains the key early papers in which Moore signals his break with idealism, and three important previously unpublished papers from his later work which illustrate his relationship with Wittgenstein. (shrink)
It is widely taken for granted that physical lines are real lines, i.e., that the arithmetical structure of the real numbers uniquely matches the geometrical structure of lines in space; and that other number systems, like Robinson's hyperreals, accordingly fail to fit the structure of space. Intuitive justifications for the consensus view are considered and rejected. Insofar as it is justified at all, the conviction that physical lines are real lines is a scientific hypothesis which we may one day reject. (...) /// En general se asume que las líneas físicas son líneas reales, esto es, que la estructura aritmética de los números reales corresponde de manera única a la estructura geométrica de líneas en el espacio, y que otros sistemas de números, como los hiperreales de Robinson, no logran corresponder a la estructura del espacio. En este artículo se examinan y rechazan las justificaciones intuitivas de la posición de consenso. En la medida en que pueda estar justificada, la convicción de que las líneas físicas son líneas reales es una hipótesis científica que algún día podríamos rechazar. (shrink)
: In the Cambridge Conferences Lectures of 1898 Peirce defines a continuum as a "collection of so vast a multitude" that its elements "become welded into one another." He links the transinfinity (the "vast multitude") of a continuum to the confusion of its elements by a line of mathematical reasoning closely related to Cantor's Theorem. I trace the mathematical and philosophical roots of this conception of continuity, and examine its unresolved tensions, which arise mainly from difficulties in Peirce's theory of (...) collections. (shrink)
In 1887 Georg Cantor gave an influential but cryptic proof of theimpossibility of infinitesimals. I first give a reconstruction ofCantor's argument which relies mainly on traditional assumptions fromEuclidean geometry, together with elementary results of Cantor's ownset theory. I then apply the reconstructed argument to theinfinitesimals of Abraham Robinson's nonstandard analysis. Thisbrings out the importance for the argument of an assumption I call theChain Thesis. Doubts about the Chain Thesis are seen to render thereconstructed argument inconclusive as an attack on the (...) infinitelysmall. (shrink)
In the last decade of his life C.S. Peirce began to formulate a purely geometrical theory of continuity to supersede the collection-theoretic theory he began to elaborate around the middle of the 1890s. I argue that Peirce never succeeded in fully formulating the later theory, and that while that there are powerful motivations to adopt that theory within Peirce’s system, it has little to recommend it from an external perspective.
Can a scientific naturalist be a mathematical realist? I review some arguments, derived largely from the writings of Penelope Maddy, for a negative answer. The rejoinder from the realist side is that the irrealist cannot explain, as well as the realist can, why a naturalist should grant the mathematician the degree of methodological autonomy that the irrealist's own arguments require. Thus a naturalist, as such, has at least as much reason to embrace mathematical realism as to embrace irrealism.
Mathematical naturalism forbids philosophical interventions in mathematical practice. This principle, strictly construed, places severe constraints on legitimate philosophizing about mathematics; it is also arguably incompatible with mathematical realism. One argument for the latter conclusion charges the realist with inability to take a truly naturalistic view of the Gödel Program in set theory. This argument founders on the disagreement among mathematicians about that program's prospects for success. It also turns out that when disagreements run this deep it is counterproductive to take (...) too narrow a view of how philosophers of mathematics may legitimately proceed. (shrink)
The philosophy of mathematics plays a vital role in the mature philosophy of Charles S. Peirce. Peirce received rigorous mathematical training from his father and his philosophy carries on in decidedly mathematical and symbolic veins. For Peirce, math was a philosophical tool and many of his most productive ideas rest firmly on the foundation of mathematical principles. This volume collects Peirce’s most important writings on the subject, many appearing in print for the first time. Peirce’s determination to understand matter, the (...) cosmos, and "the grand design" of the universe remain relevant for contemporary students of science, technology, and symbolic logic. (shrink)
In April 1939, G. E. Moore read a paper to the Cambridge University Moral Science Club entitled ‘Certainty’. In it, amongst other things, Moore made the claims that: the phrase ‘it is certain’ could be used with sense-experience-statements, such as ‘I have a pain’, to make statements such as ‘It is certain that I have a pain’; and that sense-experience-statements can be said to be certain in the same sense as some material-thing-statements can be — namely in the (...) sense that they can be safely counted on. When Moore later read his paper to Wittgenstein, Wittgenstein took violent exception to it, and the two entered into a heated exchange. The only known notes of this exchange are a previously unpublished verbatim record of part of it, taken by Norman Malcolm. This paper is an edition of Malcolm’s notes. These notes are valuable for both philosophical and scholarly reasons. They give us a glimpse of a sustained exchange between Wittgenstein and a real-life interlocutor; they contain a defence by Wittgenstein of the idea that a word’s use can illuminate its meaning; and they provide evidence of Wittgenstein’s philosophical engagement with the topic of certainty, and with Moore’s thought on it, long before he began to write the notes which make up On Certainty, in 1949. (shrink)
First published in 1903, this volume revolutionized philosophy and forever altered the direction of ethical studies. A philosopher’s philosopher, G. E. Moore was the idol of the Bloomsbury group, and Lytton Strachey declared that Principia Ethica marked the rebirth of the Age of Reason. This work clarifies some of moral philosophy’s most common confusions and redefines the science’s terminology. Six chapters explore: the subject matter of ethics, naturalistic ethics, hedonism, metaphysical ethics, ethics in relation to conduct, and the ideal. (...)Moore's simplicity of style and precise use of everyday language exercised an enormous influence on the development of analytic philosophy, and they contribute to the continuing resonance of his compelling arguments. (shrink)
G. E. Moore was one of the most interesting and influential philosophers of the first half of the twentieth century. This selection of his writings makes the best of his work once again available, and also includes previously unpublished writings. Moore's first published writings, represented in this collection by his papers "The Nature of Judgment" and "The Refutation of Idealism," contributed decisively to the break with idealism which led to the development of analytic philosophy. Moore went on (...) to develop his own style, which combined a defense of the common sense view of the world with a controversial analysis of the content of this view. Also included is Moore's famous "Proof of an External World," which marked a return late in his career to the critique of idealism. Other papers address perception and important issues in logical theory. The collection ends with three new pieces which illustrate Moore's relationship with Wittgenstein. In these pieces Moore discusses his "paradox" whichso fascinated Wittgenstein; the nature of our knowledge of our own sensations; and Malcolm's views about doubt and knowledge which were themselves inspired by Wittgenstein. (shrink)
G. E. Moore 's 1912 work Ethics has tended to be overshadowed by his famous earlier work Principia Ethica. However, its detailed discussions of utilitarianism, free will, and the objectivity of moral judgements find no real counterpart in Principia, while its account of right and wrong and of the nature of intrinsic value deepen our understanding of Moore 's moral philosophy. Moore himself regarded the book highly, writing late in his career, "I myself like [it] better than (...) Principia Ethica, because it seems to me to be much clearer and far less full of confusions and invalid arguments." Short but philosophically rich, and written with impressive precision and intellectual candor, Ethics is a minor classic which repays careful study. This new edition includes Moore 's essay "The Nature of Moral Philosophy" as well as editorial notes, an introduction, and a guide to further reading. (shrink)
Despite the recent upsurge of interest in comparative political theory, there has been virtually no serious examination of Buddhism by political philosophers in the past five decades. In part, this is because Buddhism is not typically seen as a school of political thought. However, as MatthewMoore argues, Buddhism simultaneously parallels and challenges many core assumptions and arguments in contemporary Western political theory. In brief, Western thinkers not only have a great deal to learn about Buddhism, they have (...) a great deal to learn from it. To both incite and facilitate the process of Western theorists engaging with this neglected tradition, this book provides a detailed, critical reading of the key primary Buddhist texts, from the earliest recorded teachings of the Buddha through the present day. It also discusses the relevant secondary literature on Buddhism and political theory, as well as the literatures on particular issues addressed in the argument. Moore argues that Buddhist political thought rests on three core premises--that there is no self, that politics is of very limited importance in human life, and that normative beliefs and judgments represent practical advice about how to live a certain way, rather than being obligatory commands about how all persons must act. He compares Buddhist political theory to what he sees as Western analogues--Nietzsche's similar but crucially different theory of the self, Western theories of limited citizenship from Epicurus to John Howard Yoder, and to the Western tradition of immanence theories in ethics. This will be the first comprehensive treatment of Buddhism as political theory. (shrink)
ABSTRACTThis article addresses ethical and legal issues arising from the increasing use of e‐mail and other forms of instant written communication in the conduct of business. E‐mail communications are often casual and informal. Yet e‐mail is a written record that can be more permanent and widely accessible than a paper communication. This article focuses on the implications of this fact, including how individuals compromise their own privacy by the voluntary use of e‐mail; how e‐mail has complicated the duty of confidentiality (...) of employees to employers, and professionals to clients; whether the use of e‐mail affects ethical deliberation and choice; and the use of e‐mail as evidence of corporate conduct and intent in civil and criminal litigation. The article suggests that e‐mail users think “forensically” about their e‐mail—i.e., consider its potential as evidence in the context of other emails and underlying events—before pressing the “send” button. (shrink)
We take welfarism in moral theory to be the claim that the well-being of individuals matters and is the only consideration that fundamentally matters, from a moral point of view. We argue that criticisms of welfarism due to G.E. Moore, Donald Regan, Charles Taylor and Amartya Sen all fail. The final section of our paper is a critical survey of the problems which remain for welfarists in moral theory.
This chapter and the one that follows analyze and elucidate the normative structure of utilitarianism. Although Moore did not consider himself a utilitarian, it becomes evident as the book proceeds that he accepts utilitarianism’s consequentialist account of right and wrong despite rejecting its hedonistic value theory. These opening chapters are a model of analytic exposition as Moore lays out utilitarianism’s theoretical commitments and contrasts various distinct but closely related normative theses. Moore expounds the utilitarian theory with far (...) greater precision than the classical utilitarian thinkers ever achieved. (shrink)
Moore maintains that, in principle, there is an objective answer to questions of right and wrong. More specifically, that a particular action cannot be both right and wrong, either at the same time or at different times. In this chapter and the next, Moore argues against theories that deny this latter proposition and thus reject the objectivity of moral judgments. Beginning with a critique of the thesis that when one asserts that an action is right or wrong, one (...) is merely asserting that one has a certain feeling towards it, this chapter focuses its critical fire on various attitudinal theories of ethics. (shrink)