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Proof of an External World

George Edward Moore


MOORE, George Edward. “Proof of an External World. Annual Philosophical Lecture. Henriette Hertz Trust. British Academy. 1939.” FROM: From the Proceedings of the British Academy. Volume XXV. London: Humphrey Milford, 1939. Octavo, stitched as issued, original tan paper wrappers; pp. 30. $1700.

First offprint edition of this common-sense argument against scepticism, Moore’s most famous work, in which he uses everyday logic to prove the existence of an external world.

Written just as Cambridge philosopher George Edward Moore was preparing to retire from his professorship, “Proof of an External World” aims to provide proof of the existence of “external objects.” Here, Moore famously uses the example of his right and left hands and his ability to move and observe them as an argument for the existence of external objects. He, in fact, refers to this hand demonstration as a “perfectly rigorous” proof of the existence of external objects. Moore further argues that the existence of external objects proves, in turn, the existence of an “External World.” “Proof of an External World” is viewed as one of the most compelling works arguing against idealism and scepticism and offering instead plausible reasons for accepting a common-sense view of the external world. Published the same year as the first publication in From the Proceedings of the British Academy, Volume XXV.

Interior fine, a bit of toning and light rubbing to edges of oversized wrappers. A near-fine copy.

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