G. E. Moore

Idealistic Studies 16 (3):229-235 (1986)
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Moore’s essay, “The Refutation of Idealism,” contains a nice illustration of his helping philosophers to see a fact, by removing the obscuring veils that philosophers themselves have spun. Long after he wrote it, Moore called the essay “very confused.” Yet I think that it is one of Moore’s most important papers, a first tentative effort in a series that includes “A Defence of Common Sense” and “Proof of an External World.” I shall not attempt to establish that large claim here. What I want to do is to throw some light on one part of “The Refutation of Idealism.” The distinctive part to be considered follows Moore’s asking the question, “What is a sensation or idea?” on page 17, and runs to near the bottom of page 26. There is much in these pages; but I shall attend only to a certain strand of thought that runs through them: Moore’s analysis of the sensation of blue.



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