This is the first comprehensive study of the ethics of G. E. Moore, the most important English-speaking ethicist of the twentieth century. Moore's ethical project, set out in his seminal text Principia Ethica, is to preserve common moral insight from skepticism and, in effect, persuade his readers to accept the objective character of goodness. Brian Hutchinson explores Moore's arguments in detail and in the process relates the ethical thought to Moore's anti-skeptical epistemology. Moore was, without perhaps fully realizing it, skeptical about the very enterprise of philosophy itself, and in this regard, as Brian Hutchinson reveals, was much closer in his thinking to Wittgenstein than has been previously realized. This book shows Moore's ethical work to be much richer and more sophisticated than his critics have acknowledged.
"Hutchinson writes with grace and flair. His judgments of Moore are penetrating and thoughtful, neither adulatory nor inimical. The book is an important contribution to the current literature in ethics. It would be an excellent "companion" for readers of Moore. One hopes that the publisher plans a paperbound edition." International Studies in Philosophy "This book is one of the best on the history of ethics -- and arguably, on ethical theory more generally--to appear in many years. Readers should consider whether either of these two statements is even an understatement." Review of Metaphysics