Epistemic Realism in Bradley and Early Moore


  • Francesco Pesci University of Illinois at Chicago




In this paper I attempt to show how Moore’s early emancipation from Bradley’s absolute idealism presupposes a fundamental adherence to certain theses of absolute idealism itself. In particular, I argue that the idea of an immediate epistemic access to concepts and propositions that Moore endorses in his platonic atomism (Hylton) is a reworking of a form of epistemic realism already present in Bradley. Epistemic realism is the conjunction of two theses: i) reality is independent of any constructive work of the human mind; ii) reality is immediately (non-discursively) accessible to knowledge. In this paper I first focus on Moore’s early idealist phase (1897), suggesting that it should be understood as an attempt at isolating this thesis in Bradley against Kant’s transcendental idealism. I then suggest that it is on the background of an invariant adherence to it that we should understand Moore’s later rejection of monism and idealism (1898–9) through his anti-psychologism. I hence explore how epistemic realism is at work in Moore’s platonic atomism and conclude with some remarks about the further significance of Moore’s rejection of Kant.


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