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Extra info for Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense (History of Analytic Philosophy)

Sample text

41 Yet he had at least the merit of devising an interesting move, which, if successful, would greatly weaken the force of the sceptical challenge. On Malcolm’s reading of him, in contrast, he would simply be begging the question and do so in an utterly obvious way. 2 ‘Defending common sense’ The criticisms that Malcolm raises against Moore in his 1949 paper are totally different. As anticipated, he focuses on the use that Moore makes of the verb ‘to know’ in relation to his truisms. 42 34 Moore and Wittgenstein According to Malcolm, none of these features is respected by Moore’s use of that expression.

But since (2), in its turn, is a common sense truism that Moore claims to know, then not only Moore, but also everyone else knows that (2) is true. Hence, each of us knows that any other person knows that the propositions in (1) are true when they are about himself or herself – (3). 1 Ordinary meaning and the analysis of meaning According to Moore, his truisms are not only known with certainty by (almost) everyone, but they are also perfectly well understandable to any competent speaker of English.

22 But, once more, it seems that a sceptic may simply hold that insofar as one – perhaps only himself at an earlier stage in his life – believes propositions in (1), one can’t really have knowledge of them, despite the fact that those beliefs may seem as true and certain as ever. Be that as it may, what is more interesting in Moore’s position is his unfailing defence of the common sense view of the world, rather than whether it is ultimately cogent or entirely successful. Such a defence contains various threads which are sometimes in tension with one another.

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