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Moore And Philosophical Analysis

  • Morris Lazerowitz (a1)

Extract

Occasionally there has appeared in the history of philosophy a thinker who has become aware of the chaotic condition of philosophy and of the intellectual anarchy that exists in all of its branches, and has attempted to remedy the situation. Descartes cast about for a guiding principle, a compass which would show him the way through the treacherous terrain of philosophy. As is well known he devised the method of systematic doubt, by means of which he hoped to discover an axiom on which he could securely erect a system of basic and reassuring beliefs. Leibniz had before his mind the notion of an ideal language which would by calculation solve problems with certainty. With this he thought we “should be able to reason in metaphysics and morals in much the same way as in geometry and analysis.” Descartes' attempt was a failure; and nothing came of Leibniz's ideal, even with the development of modern symbolic logic. Russell's claim that “logic is the essence of philosophy” frightened many philosophers and gave new hope to others; but his claim was as empty as the proverbial political promise. With G. E. Moore we have a further attempt to introduce sobriety and certainty into philosophy and to make fruitful research possible in it. He has made prominent a method for obtaining results in philosophy; and he has also formulated a philosophical platform, i.e., set out a list of Common-sense propositions which he says are known to be true by everyone, philosopher as well as non-philosopher, and are not, therefore, open to debate. The method, which he used extensively and with great skill, is the method of analysing concepts.

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page 194 note 1 Broad gives the impression of thinking otherwise. See Scientific Thought, Introduction.

page 194 note 2 p. 2.

page 194 note 3 Some Main Problems of Philosophy, p. 24.

page 194 note 4 This will be justified later.

page 194 note 5 For this adjective I ask the purist's forbearance.

page 195 note 1 Principia Ethica, pp. 104–5.

page 195 note 2 Ibid., p. 117.

page 196 note 1 Philosophical Studies, pp. 209–10.

page 197 note 1 Philosophical Studies, p. 218.

page 197 note 2 Ibid., p. 228.

page 198 note 1 Some Main Problems of Philosophy, p. i.

page 199 note 1 Some Main Problems of Philosophy, pp. 17–23.

page 199 note 2 Ibid., pp. 17–23.

page 199 note 3 Ibid., p. 24.

page 199 note 4 Philosophical Studies, pp. 64–5.

page 199 note 5 Ibid., pp. 64–5.

page 199 note 6 Principia Ethica, p. 7.

page 199 note 7 Ibid., p. 8.

page 200 note 1 Principia Ethica, p. 8.

page 200 note 2 Some Main Problems of Philosophy, p. 24.

page 201 note 1 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. VII, Pt. I.

page 201 note 2 A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. Ill, Sec. II.

page 202 note 1 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. VII, Pt. II.

page 202 note 2 Principia Ethica, p. 84.

page 202 note 3 Ibid., pp. 201–2.

page 202 note 4 Ibid., p. 84. Italics my own.

page 204 note 2 An Inquiry into Meaning and Truth, p. 438.

page 204 note 2 This is argued in my The Structure of Metaphysics, III.

page 205 note 1 Philosophical Studies, p. 217.

page 207 note 1 See The Structure of Metaphysics, XII.

page 210 note 1 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. VII, Pt. II.

page 210 note 2 A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. Ill, Sec. VIII.

page 211 note 1 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. VII, Pt. II.

page 211 note 2 A History of Western Philosophy, p. 669.

page 211 note 3 A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. III, Sec. VII.

page 211 note 4 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. XII, Pt. I.

page 212 note 1 An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding, Sec. VII, Pt. I.

page 212 note 2 A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. III, Sec. VI.

page 214 note 1 A History of Western Philosophy, p. 672.

page 214 note 2 Ibid., p. 672.

page 215 note 1 Principles of Logic, I, p. 95.

page 216 note 1 H. W. B. Joseph, An Introduction to Logic, p. 13.

page 216 note 2 Ibid., p. 13.

page 216 note1 Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 5.1361.

page 216 note 2 The following news report taken together with Hume's theory provides an interesting illustration: “An experiment that suggests that smoking thickens the blood of the smoker is reported in the Canadian Medical Association Journal. According to the article, the results may explain the reason for the higher statistical death rate from coronary artery disease among smokers. Up to now the connection between heart disease and smoking has been statistical.” (New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 8, 1956, p. 13.) A Humeian would say that there never will be more than a statistical connection between heart disease and smoking, because there never will be more than a statistical connection between blood thickening and smoking. Causal correlations are never more than statistical.

page 218 note 1 I shall not in this paper attempt to deal with the contradictions in philosophical views brought to light by analysis.

page 220 note1 A Treatise of Human Nature, Bk. I, Pt. III, Sec. VIII.

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