About | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline Law Journal Library | HeinOnline

14 Am. J. Juris. 37 (1969)
A Proof of the Objectivity of Morals

handle is hein.journals/ajj14 and id is 43 raw text is: A PROOF OF THE OBJECTIVITY
Renford Bambrough
It is well known that recent British philosophy, under the leadership of
G. E. Moore and Ludwig Wittgenstein, has defended common sense and
common language against what seems to many contemporary philosophers to
be the paradoxes, the obscurities and the mystifications of earlier metaphysical
philosophers. The spirit in which this work is carried on is well indicated by
the titles of two of the most famous of Moore's own papers: A Defence of
Common Sense and Proof of an External World. It can be more fully
but still briefly described by saying something about Moore's defense of the
commonsense belief that there are external material objects. His proof of an
external world consists essentially in holding up his hands and saying, Here
are two hands; therefore there are at least two material objects. He argues
that no proposition that could plausibly be alleged as a reason in favor of
doubting the truth of the proposition that I have two hands can possibly be
more certainly true than that proposition itself. If a philosopher produces
an argument against my claim to know that I have two hands, I can therefore
be sure in advance that either at least one of the premises of his argument is
false, or there is a mistake in the reasoning by which he purports to derive
from his premises the conclusion that I do not know that I have two hands.
Moore himself speaks largely in terms of knowledge and belief and truth
and falsehood rather than of the language in which we make our common-
sense claims and the language in which the skeptic or metaphysician attacks
them, but his procedures, and still more the effects of his work, are similar to
those of other and later philosophers who have treated the same topic in
terms of adherence to or departure from common language. A so-called
linguistic philosopher would say of the skeptic that he was using words in
unusual senses, and that when he said that we do not know anything about
the external world he was using the word know so differently from the way
in which we ordinarily use it that his claim was not in conflict with the claim
that we make when we say that we do know something about the external
It is easy to see the kinship between Moore's method and the linguistic
method, so easy that many more recent writers have failed to see that Moore's
method is distinct from the linguistic method. Moore takes the words of the

What Is HeinOnline?

HeinOnline is a subscription-based resource containing nearly 3,000 academic and legal journals from inception; complete coverage of government documents such as U.S. Statutes at Large, U.S. Code, Federal Register, Code of Federal Regulations, U.S. Reports, and much more. Documents are image-based, fully searchable PDFs with the authority of print combined with the accessibility of a user-friendly and powerful database. For more information, request a quote or trial for your organization below.

Short-term subscription options include 24 hours, 48 hours, or 1 week to HeinOnline with pricing starting as low as $29.95

Contact us for annual subscription options:

Already a HeinOnline Subscriber?

profiles profiles most