G. E. Moore

G. E. Moore
George Edward Moore.jpg
BornGeorge Edward Moore
(1873-11-04)4 November 1873
Hastings Lodge, Victoria Road, Dulwich Wood Park, Upper Norwood, London
Died24 October 1958(1958-10-24) (aged 84)
Evelyn Nursing Home, Cambridge, England
Other names
  • "Moore" (colleagues)
  • "Bill" (family)
EducationTrinity College, Cambridge
(BA, 1896)
Spouse(s)Dorothy Ely
Era
RegionWestern philosophy
SchoolAnalytic philosophy
Main interests
Philosophy of language
Notable ideas

George Edward Moore OM FBA (4 November 1873 – 24 October 1958) was an English philosopher. He was, with Bertrand Russell, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and (before them) Gottlob Frege, one of the founders of the analytic tradition in philosophy. Along with Russell, he led the turn away from idealism in British philosophy, and became well known for his advocacy of common sense concepts, his contributions to ethics, epistemology, and metaphysics, and "his exceptional personality and moral character".[6] He was Professor of Philosophy at the University of Cambridge, highly influential among (though not a member of) the Bloomsbury Group, and the editor of the influential journal Mind. He was elected a fellow of the British Academy in 1918. He was a member of the Cambridge Apostles, the intellectual secret society, from 1894 to 1901, and the Cambridge University Moral Sciences Club.

Life

Moore was born in Upper Norwood, Croydon, Greater London, on 4 November 1873, the middle child of seven of Dr Daniel Moore and Henrietta Sturge. His grandfather was the author Dr George Moore. His eldest brother was Thomas Sturge Moore, a poet, writer and engraver.[7][8][9]

He was educated at Dulwich College[10] and in 1892 went up to Trinity College, Cambridge to study classics and moral sciences.[11] He became a Fellow of Trinity in 1898, and went on to hold the University of Cambridge chair of Mental Philosophy and Logic, from 1925 to 1939.

Moore is best known today for his defence of ethical non-naturalism, his emphasis on common sense in philosophical method, and the paradox that bears his name. He was admired by and influential among other philosophers, and also by the Bloomsbury Group, but is (unlike his colleague Russell) mostly unknown today outside of academic philosophy. Moore's essays are known for their clear, circumspect writing style, and for his methodical and patient approach to philosophical problems. He was critical of modern philosophy for its lack of progress, which he believed was in stark contrast to the dramatic advances in the natural sciences since the Renaissance. Among Moore's most famous works are his book Principia Ethica,[12] and his essays, "The Refutation of Idealism", "A Defence of Common Sense", and "A Proof of the External World".

He was president of the Aristotelian Society from 1918-19.[13]

Paul Levy wrote in Moore: G. E. Moore and the Cambridge Apostles (1979) that Moore was an important member of the secretive Cambridge Apostles.

G. E. Moore died on 24 October 1958; he was cremated at Cambridge Crematorium on 28 October 1958 and his ashes interred at the Parish of the Ascension Burial Ground in Cambridge; his wife, Dorothy Ely (1892-1977) was buried there. Together they had two sons, the poet Nicholas Moore and the composer Timothy Moore.[14][15]

Other Languages