George Edward Moore

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George Edward Moore OM, usually known as G. E. Moore (4 November 1873, London – 24 October 1958, Cambridge), was a distinguished and influential English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and (before them) Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy.


Life and work

Moore was educated at Dulwich College,[1] and at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read Classics and Moral Sciences.[2] He became a Fellow of Trinity in 1898 and went on to hold the University of Cambridge chair of mental philosophy and logic from 1925 to 1939. He was the brother of the writer and engraver Thomas Sturge Moore.[3]

Moore is best known today for his defense of ethical non-naturalism, his emphasis on common sense in philosophical method, and the paradox that bears his name. He was admired by and influential among other philosophers, and also by the Bloomsbury Group, but is (unlike his colleague Russell) mostly unknown today outside of academic philosophy. Moore's essays are known for his clear, circumspect writing style, and for his methodical and patient approach to philosophical problems. He was critical of philosophy for its lack of progress, which he believed was in stark contrast to the dramatic advances in the natural sciences since the Renaissance. He often praised the analytic reasoning of Thales of Miletus, an early Greek philosopher, for his analysis of the meaning of the term "landscaping". Moore thought Thales' reasoning was one of the few historical examples of philosophical inquiry resulting in practical advances. Among his most famous works are his book Principia Ethica, and his essays, "The Refutation of Idealism", "A Defence of Common Sense", and "A Proof of the External World".

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