Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Lots of Misprints

I've seen quite a few misprints recently, e.g. in TV text; also top of page 159, and again on page 169, in Maddy 2017 (" 'Proof on ..." instead of " 'Proof of ..."), just before she got to Moore's reason why pointing to each of his hands was a proof that there are two hands (and hence that there are external objects, and hence an external world), which was that he could similarly prove that there were three misprints on a certain page by:
taking the book, turning to the page, and pointing to three separate places on it, saying 'There's one misprint here, another here, and another here'
Maddy 2017: 164 (Moore 1939: 147) Although of course, while that proves that there are three misprints, it does not prove that there are three misprints. And while you might agree with Moore that those were misprints, that would not amount to a proof that they were. Moore, you will recall, does not have to show that there are two hands, nor even that there are two hands, he has to show the externality (so to speak) of such things as hands, given skeptical doubts, which is more like having to prove not just assume, that it is indeed a bad thing to have lots of misprints. And of course, why would we have to prove such a thing! Ask yourself what is meant by "external world" to see for yourself how it exists by definition (and note how one gestures as one does so). And yet, it is precisely that "proof" that is challenged by skeptical doubts (as the above-linked-to review of Maddy 2017 observes).

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