Embarking on the challenging journey of the UPSC (Union Public Service Commission) Mains examination is no small feat. Aspiring civil servants dive deep into a vast ocean of knowledge, with philosophy being one of the optional subjects that many choose to explore. Within the realm of philosophy, the sub-topic of “Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein” has gained prominence over the past decade as a notable optional subject. This optional subject examines the profound contributions of philosophers like G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, whose ideas have left an indelible mark on the world of philosophy. In this blog series, we will delve into the insightful wisdom of these thinkers by exploring previous year questions in UPSC Mains from 2013 to 2023. By doing so, we aim to provide aspirants with a comprehensive understanding of the key concepts, philosophies, and questions that can be pivotal in their UPSC preparation.
Philosophy is often described as the mother of all disciplines, for it raises fundamental questions about life, existence, knowledge, and ethics. When we zoom into the specific domain of “Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein,” we encounter a fascinating journey through the thoughts of some of the most influential philosophers of the 20th century. Their ideas, though diverse, share a common thread in their profound impact on the field of analytical philosophy. The UPSC Mains examination, renowned for its rigorous evaluation of a candidate’s knowledge and analytical skills, presents an opportunity to not only explore these philosophical gems but also to gain a competitive edge through a profound understanding of their ideas. In the upcoming sections of this blog series, we will dissect previous year questions from 2013 to 2023, unraveling the essence of the thoughts of Moore, Russell, and Early Wittgenstein and equipping UPSC aspirants with the tools they need to excel in their philosophy optional papers.
Moore, Russell and Early Wittgenstein Philosophy – Previous Year Questions (UPSC CSE Mains History Optional)
1. How is the statement ‘ I met a man ’ , semantically problematic for Russell ? How does he account for the meaningfulness of this statement ? (2017/10)
2. What is Wittgenstein’s theory of picture theory of meaning ? What are his reasons for giving up his theory and suggesting the use theory of meaning ? (2017/15)
3. Explain Russell’s view that “the physical object is a logical construction from sense-data”. Why does he call his meta physical view ‘neutral monism’? (2016/15)
4. Why does Wittgenstein reject the possibility of private language?(2016/10)
5. G.E.Moore’s refutation of idealism.(2015/10)
6. What do you understand by incomplete symbols? What role do they play in Russell’s theory of meaning?(2015/15)
7. Are G.E.Moore’s arguments in defence of common sense satisfactory. Give reasons.(2014/15)
8. Why does Wittgenstein disagree Bertrand Russell’s interpretation of atomism in the philosophy of Tractatus ? Discuss (2014/15)
9. Distinguish between atomic and general proposition. Show how they are justified true . (2013 / 12 ½)
10. Comment : ‘ Moore’s defence of common sense essentially is defence of common language ’ (2013/12 ½)
11. Explain the theory of definite descriptions according to Russell.(2012/15)
12. Are the arguments given by G.E. Moore against Idealism adequate? Give reasons for your answer. (2011/30)
13. What is Russell’s idea of ‘Incomplete symbols’ in his theory of description? Discuss. (2011/15)
14. What does Moore want to establish when he asserts that propositions like “Earth exists or we have consciousness” are truism? Discuss. (2010/20)
15. Explain the theory of logical construction. Does it provide a satisfactory account of knowledge?(2008/60)
16. State and discuss Russell’s analysis of Definite Descriptions.(2007/60)
17. Critically discuss Moore’s Refutation of Idealism. (2004/60)
18. Distinction between ‘saying’ and ‘showing’. Short Notes. (2004/20)
19. What is Russel’s Logical atomism? Bring out in this connection the conception or meta physics involved in it. (2003/60)
20. Moore’s Defense of Common-Sense. Short Notes. (2002/20)
FAQs on Moore, Russell and Early Wittgenstein
Q1: Who were G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein, and why are they important in the realm of philosophy?
A1: G.E. Moore, Bertrand Russell, and Ludwig Wittgenstein were influential philosophers of the early 20th century. Moore is known for his work on ethics and epistemology, Russell for his contributions to logic and analytic philosophy, and Wittgenstein for his philosophy of language and mind. Their ideas profoundly shaped the analytical philosophy movement and continue to influence modern philosophical thought.
Q2: What were some key concepts associated with these philosophers?
A2: Moore is known for the “open question argument” in ethics, which challenges ethical naturalism. Russell’s work in logic and the theory of descriptions greatly impacted the philosophy of language and epistemology. Wittgenstein’s early work in the “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” introduced ideas on language and meaning, while his later work focused on language games and the limits of language.
Q3: How did the philosophies of Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein differ or intersect?
A3: While they shared a commitment to the rigorous analysis of language, they had divergent views. Moore focused on the nature of goodness and knowledge, Russell on logic and the philosophy of language, and Wittgenstein on the limits and structure of language. Wittgenstein was also a student of Russell and his early work was influenced by Russell’s ideas.
Q4: How can I apply the ideas of these philosophers to contemporary issues or my daily life?
A4: The ideas of these philosophers can be applied to a wide range of topics, from ethical decision-making (Moore) to understanding language and meaning (Russell and Wittgenstein). Their emphasis on clarity, logical analysis, and the structure of language can help in critical thinking, problem-solving, and communication.
Q5: Are there any recommended texts or resources to study Moore, Russell, and Wittgenstein’s philosophies in depth?
A5: Yes, for Moore, “Principia Ethica” is a seminal text. Russell’s “Principia Mathematica” is a foundational work in logic. Wittgenstein’s “Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus” and “Philosophical Investigations” are essential for understanding his ideas. Various scholarly books and articles provide comprehensive insights into their philosophies for those seeking an in-depth study.
In case you still have your doubts, contact us on 9811333901.
For UPSC Prelims Resources, Click here
For Daily Updates and Study Material:
Join our Telegram Channel – Edukemy for IAS
- 1. Learn through Videos – here
- 2. Be Exam Ready by Practicing Daily MCQs – here
- 3. Daily Newsletter – Get all your Current Affairs Covered – here
- 4. Mains Answer Writing Practice – here