One Man's Modus Ponens is Another Man's Modus Tollens: Who Coined it and Where?


I've heard it was attributed to Fred Dretske, but I don't know the context. Anyone know who came up with this?

P.S. I'm aware of GE Moore using this kind of reasoning in his "Two Hands" argument. But I'm not sure who coined the actual phrase.

Cartesian Theater

Posted 2016-12-04T16:46:26.613

Reputation: 234



See Moore's shift, locution probably due to William Rowe; see : "The Problem of Evil and Some Varieties of Atheism", American Philosophical Quarterly (1979).

The source of the argument are George Edward Moore's studies: A Defence of Common Sense (1925) and Proof of an External World (1939), both reprinted into G.E.Moore, Philosophical Papers (1959).

A reference to the locution is in Hilary Putnam, Words and Life (1994), page 280.


Posted 2016-12-04T16:46:26.613

Reputation: 33 575

I'm aware of Rowe's article and Moore's argument style, but I'm looking for the specific phrase. Is Putnam the first to use it? – Cartesian Theater – 2016-12-10T05:50:14.987