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date: 30 November 2021

Abstract and Keywords

Ludwig Wittgenstein first encountered G. E. Moore when he came to Cambridge in autumn 1911. Despite the fact that Moore was considerably older than Wittgenstein, they became friends and their relationship soon became one in which Wittgenstein was the teacher and Moore the pupil. But while they met regularly for philosophical discussion and Wittgenstein greatly valued Moore's presence at his lectures, he did not engage much with Moore's philosophical position, presumably because he still judged Moore's general approach to philosophy to be unprofitable. He did, however, think that Moore had had some important insights whose value he (Moore) had not been able to exploit properly, and On Certainty shows Wittgenstein separating out Moore's mistakes from his insights concerning knowledge and certainty and then developing the latter. It is Moore's proof and Moore's defence which provide the initial dialectical context for Wittgenstein's accounts of knowledge and certainty. It is worth mentioning some of the main themes of Moore's position, and then bringing in his debates with Norman Malcolm, before concentrating on Wittgenstein's discussion.

Keywords: Ludwig Wittgenstein, philosophy, G. E. Moore, On Certainty, knowledge, certainty, Norman Malcolm

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