Moore and Wittgenstein: Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense (History of Analytic Philosophy)

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ISBN-13: 978-0230580633
ISBN-10: 0230580637
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About the Author

ANNALISA COLIVA is lecturer in philosophy at the University of Modena and Reggio Emlia, Italy and Associate Director of the Research Centre in Philosophy COGITO. Fulbright and Alexander von Humboldt Fellow, her publications include several monographs and papers in Italian and English. Forthcoming are Mind, Meaning and Knowledge: Themes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright and The Self and Self-Knowledge.   

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Product Details

  • Series: History of Analytic Philosophy
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Palgrave Macmillan (October 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0230580637
  • ISBN-13: 978-0230580633
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.5 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,296,762 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Annalisa Coliva (PhD, M. Litt., M.A.) is an Italian philosopher. Her books include "Moore and Wittgenstein. Scepticism, Certainty and Common Sense" (Palgrave 2010) and, as editor, "Mind, Meaning and Knowledge. Themes from the Philosophy of Crispin Wright" (OUP 2012) and "The Self and Self-Knowledge" (OUP 2012). Annalisa's most recent publications in Italian are "Scetticismo. Dubbio, paradosso, conoscenza" (Laterza 2012) and "I modi del relativismo" (Laterza 2012).

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Doctor Moss on February 5, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a dense and detailed analysis of Moore's "Defense of Common Sense" and "Proof of an External World", Wittgenstein's On Certainty, and the relationship between them. Given its density (and price), it almost goes without saying that this is not really for casual reading.

Moore's "Proof" has always been particularly vexing. He employs ordinary everyday judgements, e.g., "This is my hand," to establish the existence of an external world and our knowledge of that world. His argument is directed against philosophical skepticism (and also idealism). The skeptical argument is usually associated with Descartes' Meditations, in which the skeptic calls such ordinary judgements into question via "radical doubts" (e.g., "How can you tell that you aren't only dreaming right now and that in fact, you are seeing no hand in front of you?").

Moore either seems obviously right or obviously wrong. He seems "right" in so far as we want to say, "Well, OF COURSE, yes, that is your hand. We can't REALLY doubt that." And he seems "wrong" in so far as we want to say, "But of course that misses the point." The philosophical question of the existence of the external world seems obviously unsolved by a simple, everyday example -- otherwise we would have no question at all. And Moore's proof in fact seems vulnerable to Cartesian doubt.

The bulk of Coliva's book is an attempt to understand Wittgenstein's reaction and response to Moore. Wittgenstein himself provides many, sometimes apparently conflicting, directions of thought in On Certainty, and Coliva attempts to find the most consistent and most promising of those directions.

Ultimately she adopts a reading whereby Wittgenstein's disagreement with Moore links back to Wittgenstein's treatment of language.
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