First Essay Assignment Answering Question 3, “Is Moore’s Proof Successful?”
Moore’s proof of an external reality states that “here is one hand, here is another. Therefore, at least two hands exist in the external world.” His simple proof of the reality of an external world is successful because it meets the three criteria for a satisfactory proof.
The three conditions for a satisfactory proof are as follows: (i) the premises are different from the conclusion, (ii) the premises are known to be true, and (iii) the premises are able to lead to the conclusion. Moore’s argument can be put into the standard form below:
1. Here is a hand.
2. Here is another hand.
1. Therefore, at least two hands exist in the external world.
Using the conditions for a successful proof and the standard from of Moore’s argument, it is obvious that the first condition is true for the argument because even if the premises were false, the conclusion could be true, proving that the premises and the conclusion are not the same. For example, if Moore had held up an amputated hand instead, the premise would be false, but the conclusion would still be true.
The second condition—possibly the most controversial condition—is still fulfilled by Moore’s argument because he states that he definitely can know he is holding up his hands. To justify his conclusion, Moore’s argument relies on the basic knowledge of objects in the world, like the existence of hands and feet. For example, if you are reading a mathematical proof and that premise 1 (P1) is that you claim to completely understand the said mathematical proof, in order for you to justifiably believe that the mathematical proof is tr...