Who is George Edward Moore?June 25, 2021
He is a contemporary English thinker who studied at Cambridge University and later taught there.
Famous for his fierce opposition to idealism, Moore was one of the founders of the analytical philosophy movement, along with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and (before them) Gottlob Frege. Known for his views on morality and knowledge, Moore argued that the basic concept of morality, the good, is an unnatural quality of certain things or situations that cannot be defined or analyzed through anything more simply, but can be known by a moral intuition.
Other moral concepts such as righteousness and duty can be defined through activities or actions that can create and maintain the quality of goodness in question. Moore, who adopted an empiricist point of view in the field of knowledge, often avoided the skeptical conclusions drawn from empiricism and directed fierce criticisms of idealism.
Although he sometimes had difficulty in explaining the relationship between sense data and material objects, he defended common sense and argued that the average person’s view of the outside world was correct. In other words, defending common sense’s views on the nature of the world against skeptical or metaphysical views, Moore argued that the correct approach to take when it comes to philosophical problems or difficulties should consist of asking the question of what is causing the difficulty before attempting to solve the problem.
Russell and Moore, who are considered to be the founders of analytical philosophy, developed their philosophical views on the axis of the rejection of idealism. At the time when Russell and Moore were studying philosophy, an understanding of idealism influenced by the metaphysical views of Leibniz and Hegel was dominant in the British academy. Both Russell and Moore saw this approach as problematic. The problem was that knowing an object requires knowing all the relations it has. According to Russell, in this case, space, time, number and the objects that constitute the subject of science in general become completely unknown. In this case, it would not be possible for the sciences to gain independence from a metaphysical ground. Moore and Russell advocated an ultra-realistic position against this idealistic approach in their youth. In later years, Moore began advocating a common sense realism. Russell, on the other hand, abandoned this ultra-realistic approach, which he advocated in the early periods, over time. He dealt with his views on the constituent elements of objects that we encounter in everyday life, within a theory called logical atomism. He furthered the work of Peano and Frege in the project of reducing mathematics to logic. He thought that the necessity to ascribe some kind of existence to non-existent objects stemmed from a failure to understand the logic of language correctly, and he developed the theory of definite descriptors that was highly influential on the analytic tradition that followed. This shift in Moore’s and Russell’s lines of thought became the main subject of discussion in the later evolving tradition of analytic philosophy.
Developing his understanding of philosophy based on common sense, the philosopher Moore primarily distinguishes a group of propositions that he calls “common sense” propositions. According to Moore, I not only believe these propositions but also know that they are true with a certain degree of certainty. Rejecting the propositions in question does not contain a contradiction. In this respect, these propositions do not contain an obligation. But according to Moore, such common-sense propositions are the default propositions to begin philosophy. This does not mean that no philosopher has denied them. As a matter of fact, there have been philosophers who rejected these propositions in the history of philosophy. But, according to Moore, their rejection of these propositions renders those philosophers’ own views unacceptable. For example, a philosopher who exhibits a skeptical approach to these propositions and writes books or articles on the subject, says what he says for other people to read and criticize. They state that there are some propositions that others accept as true and that they only doubt them. In this case, they cannot do what they do without first accepting some ideas that their skepticism rejects.
In his work Principa Ethica, Moore opposes naturalist approaches in moral philosophy and becomes a determinant in the meta-ethics discussions that followed. Moore states that philosophical arguments suffer from a problem that he calls the naturalistic illusion. At the root of this problem lies the confusion of the use of a term in a particular argument with the definition of the term in question. This problem is encountered in moral philosophy discussions, especially in the definition of the term good. Moore’s proof that “good” is indefinable is often referred to as the open question proof. Moore presents this argument in chapter thirteen of the Principia Ethica. Moore said, “Something pleasurable is the same time.