Constructing a Moorean ‘Open Question’ Argument: The Real Thought Move and the Real Objective

Grazer Philosophische Studien 98 (3):463-88 (2021)
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How Moore’s open question argument works, insofar as it does, remains a matter of controversy. My purpose here is to construct an open question argument based on a novel interpretation of how Moore’s argument might work. In order to sidestep exegetical questions, I do not claim here to be offering Moore’s own argument. Rather, I offer a reconstruction making use of important elements of Moore’s methodology and assumptions that could be reasonable within a Moorean viewpoint. The crucial role within the argument is played by what I call the real thought move. I show that the reconstructed argument is more defensible from some standard objections than the common construction. I finish by drawing attention to a neglected objective that would make sense within Moore’s viewpoint, showing that it fits with a major commitment of Bonjour’s moderate rationalism, and show how the package might be important for the non-naturalist today.

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Nicholas Shackel
Cardiff University


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