chapter  7
23 Pages

A department joined, moral and political utterances

G. E. Moore has the credit of not having been a wilfully imaginative philosopher, and of not having aspired to the oracular. So he does not have the fame of his contemporary in Cambridge, beatified Wittgenstein. There is justice, however, in his not having the standing of his other contemporary, Russell, who did so much so victoriously. If Moore has neither the nimbus of Wittgenstein nor the garlands of Russell, he is nevertheless remembered. He resisted the doctrine that what we are aware of in seeing is sense-data. He resisted scepticism about the existence of ordinary things, and the philosophical Idealism that makes out that everything that exists is mental or spiritual. He is remembered in particular for his Proof of an External World. This he took himself to achieve by holding up his two hands and saying to the lecture audience ‘Here is one hand, and here is another’. Some thought he had done well at proving the existence of hands, but not so well at proving them to be external, which is to say not in the mind or dependent on it.