- Background of the Study
This research work was motivated by some of the intricate issues raised by Absolute idealism (Metaphysical monism) to interpret with certainty and objectivity existent reality. Some of these issues are summarized as follows:
- All realities are internally related (doctrine of internal relations) The objective truths (for example, of logic mathematics, ethics, etc) are to be accounted for in terms of the operations of the subjective cognitive or psychological faculties (psychologism).Objective knowledge is of the universal.There exist universal minds to which others are subsumed.
- Phenomenological and external realities are copies of original that exist in the world of forms.
- Mental entities exist independent of the knower Thoughts in our minds are dim reflections of the universals (objective reality) Universal are timeless The ideas, forms, universal is the truth maker not external (physical) facts.
I was basically not comfortable with the meta-monistic interpretation of reality by the absolute idealist such as Plato, in that my understanding of the universe as a growing child in a plantation, was that of pluralism (realism). According to my grand father who is now one hundred and twenty years old, and one of the greatest artists and custodian of the Idoma culture and tradition, “every thing that is, exist discreetly, distinctly and uniquely on their own as such we have individual humans, trees, animals and other things”1. I have always held this metaphysical pluralistic understanding of the universe, until I entered the university to study philosophy as an undergraduate when we were thought about Plato’s Absolute idealistic conception of reality, which actually contradicts my pluralistic (realist) understanding of reality.
Subsequently, in trying to restate my footings on my earlier held realist conception of reality, then I came across the works of George Edward Moore, an outstanding British analytic philosopher with the following titles, Refutation of idealism and A Defense of common sense (realism). These works of his especially A Defense of commonsense is an influential essay by philosopher G.E. Moore written in 1925. It is an attempt by Moore to refute skepticism and Absolute idealism (metaphysical monism) that was in vogue during his time at Cambridge University. Moore, argued that at least some of our beliefs about the world are absolutely certain and these beliefs are “common sense”2.
It is pertinent to note that George Edward Moore was born on November 4, 1873, he was one of the seven children of Daniel and Henrietta Moore. G.E. Moore was raised in the upper Norwood district of South London. His early education came through his parents who taught him how to read and write. Beyond his professional career, Moore had a successful family life. At the age of 43 he got married to Dorothy Ely, who had been his student. They had two sons: Nicholas and Timothy. He eventually died in Cambridge on October 24, 1958. He is buried in St. Giles’ Churchyard.
Moore’s earlier epistemological position as an undergraduate in Cambridge was that of an idealist because according to him, “he had indeed at Dulwich read Plato’s Protagoras, but was certainly not then very keenly excited by any of the philosophical question which that dialogue raises”3. Later on, Moore became interested in the analysis of certain philosophical statements which he had made in conversation with notables such as Henry Sidgwick, James Ward, and J.M.E. Mctaggart, who became his teachers, and Bertrand Russell then a student two years ahead of Moore at Cambridge University.
Furthermore, Moore studied moral science, a division of philosophy in the British University system. In 1896, Moore took first-class honors in both classic and moral science. After this, he attempted to win a prize-fellowship, as Mctaggart and Russell had done before him. He succeeded in 1898, on his second attempt, and remained at Cambridge as a fellow of Trinity College until 1904. Continuing through this time as a fellow, Moore began to act as a professional philosopher, by participating in the extant philosophical societies (such as the Aristotelian society and the moral science club) and publishing his works. Many of his best known works such as Principia Ethica, Proof of an External world, Refutation of idealism, defence of common sense. The Nature of Judgement to mention a few, were written during this period and it was during this period that Moore instigated the momentous break from the then dominant British philosophy of Absolute idealism that would prove to be the first step toward the rise of analytic philosophy.