[lit-ideas] Re: Mooreian Paradoxes

  • From: "" <dmarc-noreply@xxxxxxxxxxxxx> (Redacted sender "Jlsperanza@xxxxxxx" for DMARC)
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 24 May 2015 10:40:43 -0400

PHILOSOPHER: There are no material things.
MOORE: You are certainly wrong, for here's one hand and here's another;
and so there are at least two material things.
----------------------- Norman Malcolm, "Moore and ordinary language".

In a message dated 5/24/2015 8:49:32 A.M. Eastern Daylight Time,
omarkusto@xxxxxxxxx writes:
"Indeed it seems that Moore wants to avoid the use of 'see,' but how does
he know that he has a hand then ? He must have some way of knowing it. What
kind of intuition is supposed to be at work here, if it is not one based on
empirical perception, and why is this intuition supposed to be
particularly trustworthy ? If I looked at the end of my arm and I didn't see a
there, I think that I would be rather inclined to doubt, even
commonsensically, that I have one."

Well, by the same token, he would need the PHILOSOPHER to see:

Expansion of Malcolm's rewrite:

PHILOSOPHER: There are no material things.

MOORE: You are certainly wrong.


MOORE: Well, one the one hand, here is one hand -- MY hand as it happens.

PHILOSOPHER: I said material THINGS (emphatic plural).

MOORE: I see. And, on the other hand, here is another hand -- MY OTHER hand
as it happens. Therefore, there are at least TWO material things.

PHILOSOPHER: Did I tell you I was blind?

It's different with Grice who was NOT blind, and could see 'pink'.

i. I have a pink sense datum.

"It is surely clear that if I were now to say

ii. Nothing is the case which would make it false for me to say that the
palm of this hand looks pink to me,
though I do not rnean to imply that I or anyone else is or might be
inclined to deny that, or doubt whether, it is pink.

this would be a perfectly inteliigible remark even though it might be
thought both wordy and boring. Indeed I am prepared actually to say it."

"Consequently, although you may be right in claiming that it has not been
shown that the implication of the futfrlment of the Doubt-or-Denial
condition is detachable (and indeed it may well be non-detachable), you must
wrong in thinking that this implication is not cancellable."

If MALCOLM wrongly criticised Moore for misusing 'know' (WRONGLY), so did
Witters criticised the phenomenalist who used 'seems' ("The horse seems
like a horse to me; indeed it IS a horse").

Moore and Grice are trying to refute Malcolm and Witters. In Grice's case
by noting that

iii. The palm of this hand seems pink to me.

merely CONVERSATIONALLY implicates that it ain't, seeing the thing is, as
per the quotation above, 'cancellable'.

I grant that MERLEAU-PONTY may find Moore's argument difficult, especially
if he read Grice's "Personal Identity", which appeared in "Mind", a journal
with which Moore was associated in the editorial board (back in 1941, when
"Personal Identity" appeared).


iv. Here's MY hand.

involves some 'temporary state' ("personal identity" is conceptually
analysed in terms of temporary states, alla Locke). So, Grice's hand, or
hand, is NOT a mere 'material thing'. Hey: it's a PERSON's hand we're
talking about (vide "Reasons and Persons" by Derek Parfit, quoting from

Moore does not seem to be concerned with DUALISM, but he should.

v. Here is one material thing: my hand.

He seems to be presupposing the Cartesian distinction:
res-extensa/res-cogitans distinction.

vi. Here is one material thing: a hand: res extensa. And it's _me_ (res
cogitans) who's uttering this. Plus, this hand (res extensa, a material thing)
belongs to _me_ -- res cogitans-cum-res extensa.

I'm glad Merleau-Ponty stayed in Paris (but cfr. "An American in Paris" --
now running).



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