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Moore's Hands: Thought experiment by G.E. Moore (Moore, “Proof of an External World”, 1939). By lifting his hands and saying, "Here is a hand and here is another," he demonstrates directly that there are at least two material things in the outer world. Most authors argue that it is not possible to disprove skepticism in this way since the skeptical doubts go deeper and include, among other things, the relationship between manifestation and knowledge. Ultimately it is not excluded that the whole situation was dreamed.<
Annotation: The above characterizations of concepts are neither definitions nor exhausting presentations of problems related to them. Instead, they are intended to give a short introduction to the contributions below. – Lexicon of Arguments.

Author Concept Summary/Quotes Sources

Barry Stroud on Moore��s Hands - Dictionary of Arguments

I 83
Moore's hands/existence proof/Stroud: Moore has misunderstood Kant that he doubted the existence of our outside world. - ((s) Only our knowledge of it.)
>G.E. Moore, >Thing in itself, >Immanuel Kant, >External world,
StroudVsMoore: this is only possible in response to a specific question.
VsMoore: false evidence: It is an error that the premises are known to be true.
Norman MalcolmVsMoore: Moore's answer is no answer to skepticism. - It does not say what is wrong with his doubts. - Instead of hands, he could not take "that tree there" and prove it by a clear view on him. - (But that is what he seems to do).
>Norman Malcolm.
I 89
AmbrosVsMoore: insufficient as direct empirical position.
I 90
Malcolm: Moore argues linguistically.
I 92
AmbroseVsMoore: Moore thinks, the special case of the hands can be distinguished from other things of the outside world - but it cannot.
I 93
Wittgenstein: if you succeed in the proof of the hands, we will give you the rest.
I 94
Moore himself: considered his evidence not linguistical but empirical.
I 99
Moores hands/skepticism/Stroud: the skepticism does not state anything that Moore proves to be false. - That is the importance of Moore's proof. - There must be a general sentence that there would be no external things, which Moore refutes. - Then the skepticism would be much more complex and difficult.
I 114
Moores hands/skepticism/Stroud: "I know that here is a hand": one cannot deny that there are questions to which this is a response.
StroudVsMalcolm: Moore also knows what he is doing - he just does not answer skepticism.
Stroud: A deficiency in Moores proof is only there if there is a general question about knowledge, which makes it impossible for Moore to answer.
Outside world/Stroud: unlike skepticism: here Moore has revealed the existence of external things (as we know).
I 115
Stroud: in the questions of the existence of the external world no particular philosophical problem is answered. - E.g. direct question: were there apples in Sicily before Christ? - Then we have an idea how we (ask historians) can find out.
Scepticism: but that does not work, if you do not know anything about the world.
((s) Knowledge/(s): if knowledge questions are answered, existence is already implied.)
I 117/18
Skepticism/Stroud: The skepticism can only be refuted from the "distanced position" (external knowledge, philosophical, not scientific). - Then I cannot rely on certain things like hands.
External knowledge/Stroud: is not a more general form of knowledge. (Believing that was Moore's mistake). - The philosophical question cannot be expressed by a common form of words.
Pro Moore: especially his refusal to take the external position shows the importance of his remarks.
Skepticism/Stroud: Skepticism does not only ask what is known, but how it is known.
StroudVsMoore: his evidence is not empirical.
I 124
General/Special/Moore's hands/skepticism/Stroud: there is nothing wrong with Moore's approach (that he provides the general questions of philosophy with certain answers). - How else should you answer general questions?
I 133
Premises/proof/Moore's hands/Stroud: Moore was aware that he has not proven his premises. - But premises must not be proven anyway. - Many things can be known directly without proof.
>Premises, >Proofs, >Knowledge.

Explanation of symbols: Roman numerals indicate the source, arabic numerals indicate the page number. The corresponding books are indicated on the right hand side. ((s)…): Comment by the sender of the contribution. Translations: Dictionary of Arguments
The note [Concept/Author], [Author1]Vs[Author2] or [Author]Vs[term] resp. "problem:"/"solution:", "old:"/"new:" and "thesis:" is an addition from the Dictionary of Arguments. If a German edition is specified, the page numbers refer to this edition.

Stroud I
B. Stroud
The Significance of philosophical scepticism Oxford 1984

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Ed. Martin Schulz, access date 2023-09-28
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