489. Harrod to G. E. Moore , 22 October 1935 [a]

[Continues at 518 ]

Christ Church

22 October 1935

Dear Professor Moore

I dont know if you ever take for Mind a paper by an amateur! May I first introduce myself. We have met on one or two occasions, e.g. at a Trinity Feast, and one in particular which I remember well, but you have probably forgotten, when I was staying in Cambridge, 13 years ago and Frank Ramsey (then an undergraduate) asked me to tea to meet you. Perhaps my best claim to have this paper considered is that he and I used to interchange visits between Oxford and Cambridge and that he deigned to argue philosophical questions with me. [1]

Actually I am tutor in Economics here. Your colleague, D. H. Robertson, will, I am sure, tho' I am afraid he is a little vexed with me at the moment, give me a testimonial for my respectability as an economist.

The enclosed was read to our Philosophical Society about a year ago; [2] some of the younger members liked it, I think; the elders did not turn up to hear it.

I am afraid I have taken your name in vain in rather a crude way. [3] It was the best method I could think of for stating my meaning. The argumentation in that part does not amount to much. But I thought I could best make plain what I meant there about good by saying it was the contradictory of the view which you had stated so very clearly.

I would not send you this, did I not feel in my bones that it has some merit. But perhaps you will not think so! I spend a good deal of my off hours thinking about this, and this part of my life means a lot to me. For that reason I would rather like to secure publication!

Yours very sincerely

R. F. Harrod

Of Cambridge philosophers, Braithwaite knows me quite well. [4]

  1. 1. On Harrod's friendship with Ramsey see note 1 to letter 85 R, and letters 158 and 159 .

    2. Harrod, "Utilitarianism Revised" ( 1936:4 ). For some comments on the paper as read before the Philosophical society see letters 411 R and 412 R.

    3. On pp. 138-40 of his paper, Harrod criticized Moore's view that "good" is an indefinable term.

    4. Harrod met Braithwaite while spending a term in Cambridge under Keynes's guidance in 1922: see Life of John Maynard Keynes (1951), p. 321.

    1. a. ALS, one leaf, two pages, in Moore Add 8330 8H/7/1, by kind permission of Syndics of Cambridge University Library.


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