Moore on Scepticism and Certainty


  • Anandasagar B University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.


Scepticism, Certainty, Knowledge, Doubt, Common Sense, Dream


In this paper, I would like to present G.E. Moore’s view on Scepticism and certainty with reference to his papers “Defence of common sense” “Proof of an external world” and “Certainty”. In section I following Moore’s “Proof of an External World” the distinction between empirical objects like paper, human hand, shoes and socks and private objects like images in dreams, double images, after images, and toothache have been highlighted. It has been pointed out that according to Moore, no example of private objects in place of “these are my two hands” could have successfully refuted scepticism; and that Moore does follow Kant’s definition of external objects in order to prove the existence of the external world. The second section emphasizes two points; i) the example of these are my two hands is not a frivolous activity and ii) Moore does recognize the point of Descartes’ dream argument at least to the extent that de does recognize that knowing that P is different from Proving that P. In section III Moore’s attribution of certainty to empirical propositions has been highlighted by responding to the remarks made by Wittgenstein and Malcolm against Moore. In Section IV following Moore’s certainty, a logical explanation of Moore’s thesis that contingent propositions can be certain has been carried out. In addition to that an explanation of how Moore has weakened the dream argument by finding it incoherent. Finally, it has been concluded that Moore’s refutation of scepticism is quite successful in so far as scepticism has no place in common sense.

Author Biography

Anandasagar B, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad.

Department of Philosophy, University of Hyderabad, Hyderabad, Telangana, India.


E. Murphy (1968), “ Moore’s Defence of Common Sense”, in The Philosophy of G.E. Moore, ed. By Paul Arthur Schilpp, The Library of Living Philosophers, London.1968

G.E. Moore (1965), “ Proof of An External World”, in Classics of Analytic Philosophy, Ed. R. Ammerman, Tata McGraw-Hill Publishing Company, New Delhi, 1965.

G.E.Moore (1968a), “ A Reply to my Critics”, in The Philosophy of G.E.Moore, ed. By Paul Arthur Schilpp, The Library of Living Philosophers, London, 1968.

G.E. Moore (1968b), “ Certainty”, in Descartes: A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Doney, Mc Millan, London, 1968.



How to Cite

B, A. (2022). Moore on Scepticism and Certainty. Tattva Journal of Philosophy, 14(2). Retrieved from