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G. E. Moore (George Edward Moore) Biography

(1873–1958), (George Edward Moore), Mind, Principia Ethica, Principia Mathematica, Jumpers, Ethics, Philosophical Studies, Philosophical Papers

British moral philosopher and epistemologist, born in London to a Quaker family, educated at Dulwich College and Trinity College, Cambridge. He lectured at Cambridge where he became professor of philosophy and logic (192539). From 1921 to 1947 he was editor of the academic journal Mind. Moore's Principia Ethica (1903), alongside his associate Bertrand Russell's Principia Mathematica (1903), established a style and set an agenda for British analytic philosophy which remained intact for nearly seventy years. Although now unfashionable, Moore exerted great contemporary influence on the Bloomsbury Group, particularly on Clive Bell, Lytton Strachey, and Virginia Woolf. In direct reaction to the prevailing current of utilitarianism, and the emergent beliefs of Marxism, he argued that ‘good’ could not be broken down into another meaning (such as ‘pleasurable’ or ‘beneficial’). Like J. L. Austin and Gilbert Ryle, he sought to lodge his conclusions in the linguistic usage of upper middle-class speakers of standard English, and to legitimize a certain perception of the world. Although Moore's influence can still be found in the writings of Iris Murdoch he is perhaps now best known as the vehicle for a number of mistaken-identity jokes in Tom Stoppard's play Jumpers (1972). His other important works are Ethics (1912), Philosophical Studies (1922), and the posthumous collection Philosophical Papers (1959).

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