Wittgenstein's Critique of Moore in On Certainty


  • Erlend Winderen Finke Owesen University of Cambridge




Knowledge, Moore, Evidence, Justification, Internalism, Moore G.E., Wittgenstein Ludwig


This paper clarifies Wittgenstein’s critique of Moore in On Certainty, and argues that this critique is largely misunderstood, for two reasons. Firstly, Wittgenstein partly misrepresents Moore. Secondly, Wittgenstein is wrongly taken to be an (access-) internalist regarding justification for knowledge. Once we realize these two points, we can understand Wittgenstein’s critique properly as a grammatical argument in that Moore fails to see how the concepts of knowledge and certainty relate to those of justification and evidence. On this reading, we can also understand that Moore and Wittgenstein were in more agreement than many people have thought, even though Moore was not able to exploit and express his philosophical insights (which he shares with Wittgenstein) properly.

Author Biography

Erlend Winderen Finke Owesen, University of Cambridge

Erlend Owesen is a PhD student at Robinson College, University of Cambridge.


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