Volume 37, Issue 1, January 2021
G.E. Moore and the Problem of the Criterion
In this paper, I offer an understanding of G.E. Moore’s epistemology as presented in, “A Defence of Common Sense” and “Proof of an External World.” To frame the discussion, I look to Roderick Chisholm’s essay, The Problem of the Criterion. I begin by looking at two ways that Chisholm believes one can respond to the problem of the criterion, and, referring back to Moore’s essays, explain why it is not unreasonable for Chisholm to believe that he is following a line of reasoning that Moore might take. I then show why I believe Chisholm is actually trying to do something quite different from what Moore was, and thus misses Moore’s actual point. I conclude that Moore is best understood as rejecting traditional epistemological concerns. By forcing Moore to deal with a traditional epistemological problem, it will become clear how bold Moore’s “epistemology” is.