Criticism of G.E. Moore´s Proof of an External World

780 Words Jan 31st, 2018 3 Pages
I know I have hands

Therefore, the sceptic is wrong.

The argument was first put forward by G.E Moor in 'Proof Of An External World'. Although the argument seems simple at first, its strength makes itself apparent in the attempts to offer rebbutals. Although Moore has not succeeded in proving that we have knowledge of an external world, he has shown that believing such a thing over the sceptics alternate position is less questionable. First I will try to outline both the sceptical view and Moore's argument and then turn to some criticisms of Moore's argument, I will conclude with an appeal to a non-naive view of common sense.

The sceptical argument is that we cannot have knowledge of an external world, if we cannot have knowledge of any of the particular aspects of the the external world. For instance I cannot know that I have hands, because there is always a plausible alternative which negates the truth value of the the fact that I have hands, and therefore the sceptic is right in asserting that we cannot know anything about the external world. The thought experiment often used, is that we are a brain in a vat hooked up to machine, which makes us believe all sorts of false informationa including the fact that we have hands.

Moore's response is to just negate the truth value of the second premis of the sceptics argument “we don't know we have hands” and in the process denying that the thought experiment has any…
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