Moore's Proof of the External World

Topics: Empiricism, Sense, Mind Pages: 3 (1034 words) Published: October 1, 2006
Q: Critically evaluate Moore's proof of the external world.

A: This being a critical evaluation, we will follow the traditional Indian format for such an undertaking in that we state Moore's position (purva-paksha) followed by a refutation of his position (khandan) and conclude with stating our position (siddhant). There are a two points to be bought to attention in this regard: a.the purva-paksha includes Ms. Alice Ambrose's views in support of Moore's position b.since Moore is a realist, a siddhant would possibly be an idealist position and for this we merely state Berkeley's viewpoint in brief in this regard


Moore's position

Moore attempts at giving a proof of an external world for which he starts with stating that Kant was the first person who thought that it was scandalous that such a proof had not been given up to his time. Moore then states that, though Kant had said he had the only possible proof for this, he would try to attempt another one. His first task then is to make clear certain terms which seem to him ambiguous. Among these, the major ones are: a."things to be met with in space" (henceforth called TMWS) b."things to be presented in space" (henceforth called TPIS) c."things external to our minds" (henceforth called TETM)

TMWS can be defined as those things which can be perceived by us by use of one or more of the five senses and that possess extension. It includes things like tables, chairs, etc. but excludes things like the sky or reflections in mirrors of which extension might be a debatable property.

TPIS can be defined as those things which in addition to being perceived by the senses also include those that are "available only to the mind". These, therefore, include things like seeing double images, ghost images, feelings of pleasure and pain, etc.

TETM can be defined so that it includes TMWS + such things that are "available only in the minds of being's other than ourselves" e.g. pain felt by other...
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