16 April 2013
Weekly Assignment 1
In Moore’s proof if an external world, he is attempting to show that we can know things outside of our own us (Moore; 144). He proves this by using the example of showing his hands, pointing at one hand and saying “here is my right hand” then pointing to the other and saying the same thing (Moore; 144). He states that by just being able lift hand is proof that it exists. He provided three conditions that support his claim which are that; if his two conclusions differ from one another, which they do not. If he knew proof but did not believe it and vice versa; and finally if his conclusion did not follow the premises which it did (Moore ; 145). Moore addresses the issues that readers have about the fact that he is not answering the question. He claims that they are seeking a statement saying, “Here’s one hand and here’s the other”, to prove external existence by coming up and examining both hands (Moore; 146). This statement is meant to accommodate all the examples of proof of external objects (Moore, 147). It is very unlikely that on exists because for that statement to be true there would have to be an initial proof that a person is not dreaming which is quite difficult to do. Moore also provides an additional proof for objects that have previously existed by saying:” I held up two hands above the desk not very long ago, therefore two hands existed not very long ago and therefore at least two external objects have existed at some time in the past” (Moore; 146).He uses this as a solution to Immanuel Kant’s (1724–1804) problem of the existence of external objects; because it shows that the objects have existed at some point in time (Moore;146).
G.E. Moore’s paper “Proof of an External World” Taken from Sosa, E. and J.Kim.2000.Epistemology: An Anthology. Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.