Philosophy Index

G. E. Moore

G. E. Moore (1873–1958) was an English philosopher, often regarded as one of the founders of analytic philosophy.

Moore’s Paradox

Among the elements of Moore’s legacy is the so-called “Moore’s Paradox”, which deals with cases in which one asserts some claim, P, and then goes on to deny belief in P. For instance, the claim “It is raining but I do not believe it is raining”, when uttered, seems contradictory, since the speaker is both stating that it is raining but claiming that they don't believe that this is so.

The problem with such utterances is that although they seem to be contradictions, there is nothing logically contradictory or inconsistent in these claims, and they can even be true (it can be raining but the speaker may not believe it). It seems as though nobody could honestly assert or assent to this sentence.

Moore’s Paradox is said to have been influential for Ludwig Wittgenstein in his philosophy of language.

Selected Works

  • Principia Ethica (1903)
  • The Refutation of Idealism (1903)
  • Some Judgments of Perception (1918)
  • A Defence of Common Sense (1925)
  • Proof of an External World (1939)

Vitals

Name: George Edward Moore
Born: November 4, 1873
Died: October 24, 1958
Awards: Order of Merit